Airballs relaunches ride concepts
Visitors to last winter’s trade shows may remember seeing a product called Airballs – a human pinball game. Since then developer Skytrack has teamed up with a couple of well-known industry names to perfect the concept, and hopes to turn the ride into reality this coming season.
Based in the Netherlands, Skytrack is a young company determined to make a name for itself in the amusement industry with some fresh ideas. The Airballs concept, shown at IAAPA 2006 as a small protoype, now has a fresh look, revised layout and a new name: Pinball – The Ride.
Acting in a sales and marketing capacity for Skytrack, Roger Houben from 3DBA brought in Falcon’s Treehouse to overhaul Airballs concept, and the results can be seen here, as well as in video form at www.3DBA.be
On Pinball – The Ride (pictured), a patent-pending transport system propels riders through the attraction on a cushion of air, as they sit inside a “ball” surrounded by an inflatable bumper. Riders await their turn in one of two launch lanes, either side of the pinball table, and a new ball is launched into the attraction every 10 seconds.
Four flippers, controlled remotely from the rider’s seats, are used to change direction and score points – just like a real game of pinball. Once the ball floats to the bottom of the table, it is picked up by a conveyor belt and transported to the loading-unloading area ready for the next rider.
An hourly capacity of 280 is possible using a 25 x 15-metre layout and a 10-ball set-up, with six balls at a time in play. Speeds and ride intensity can be adjusted be tilting the table or, a less expensive option, altering the air pressure inside the balls and flippers.
Skytrack’s Jeroen van der Burgt anticipates Pinball becoming a popular spectator attraction and says an option is available to allow those watching to control the flippers just as though they were playing a real game of pinball: “It all depends on how well you know the other people riding. If they are your friends, then it will be fun to have control over their movements.”
Skytrack is also working with Falcon’s Treehouse on the design of several other attractions using the Airballs technology and ride system: Airballs Race, a dragster game, and Airballs Shoot out and Pachinko.
Several FEC and amusement park operators have taken an interest and 3DBA is confident of signing up the first cu