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Submitted by Gwynne Dixon on September 6 2011 - 11:20

TVG's office team-building exercise translates our FPS skills to Hampshire's New Forest....

www.totalvideogames.com_70613_video.png TVG's motley crew.

When it comes to office team-building exercises, the options are as varied as they are expensive: go-karting, indoor skydiving, trips in a balloon, bull's-eyeing womp rats... okay, not the last one, but you get the idea – you can do loads of stuff. Should you choose to go down the realistic combat experience route, the options are similarly plentiful: piantballing, airsoft, laser-tag. It's a veritable menagerie of ever-more creative ways for humans to shoot at each other without actually dying, long may that pass-time continue (perhaps all wars should be fought that way, in fact). But we've become a little tired with these options over the years – laser-tag and quasar are filled with rambunctious 10 year-olds, while paintball and airsoft are populated by overly keen 30 year-olds with custom weapons that cost a packet. For TVG's office team-building exercise, we wanted something a little more refined; more elite. We wanted Battlefield Live.

Set in Hampshire's New Forest, our Battlefield Live location (of which there are dozens in the UK) was a dense forest about 200 metres in length and around half that in width with plenty of shrubbery and obstacles to take cover behind, trenches to stealthily crawl through, and high-ground to dominate. It was, in effect, a little slice of wargaming heaven. But where Battlefield Live's particular brand of outdoor combat experience really sets itself apart from the competition is the guns. Using patented SATR technology, Battlefield Live's guns utilise an infra-red detection system that accurately registers and traces shots fired over a range of up to 300 metres. The guns tell you when you've successfully hit another opponent, if you've been shot yourself, and how much ammo and health you've got left; they've got toggle buttons for semi- or fully-automatic fire, realistic gunfire sound-effects, and even simulated muzzle flashes whenever you pull the trigger.

The detail doesn't stop there either. Guns come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, each one representing a specific type of firearm that can be programmed to precisely emulate models of real-world weapons. Take the Spitfire Machine Pistol (shown left): it's a sub-machine gun that can emulate an MP5, Uzi, and Sten MKII amongst a variety of others. Our group played with a range of guns that included the Spitfire, another sub-machine gun called the Scorpion, the Commando Carbine assault rifle, and Morita sniper rifle (all of which are shown in order from left to right in the image below). They range in weight from 2.2kg to 4.3kg and all come with tailored accessories. The Morita, for example, comes fitted with a powerful scope (we're talking count-the-freckles-on-somebody-50-metres-away powerful) that features an electronic zoom and flashing crosshairs whenever you successfully land a shot on the enemy. All three of the other weapons then come with a helpful laser dot sight, which is so well engineered that it'll pull ever so slightly away from the centre of the crosshair as you scour the battlefield, effectively taking angular momentum into account (just like in the pros).

It's enough to make the guy from FPS Russia blush. And yet there's more, video game fans! Battlefield Live's format has been built around the likes of Activision's Call of Duty and EA's Battlefield series. It's all about the balancing of different gun classes and how useful these various classes are in different game types. For example, while it can take up to five direct hits to record a kill with the sub-machine gun and assault rifle gun models, the Morita sniper rifle is a one-shot, one-kill weapon. 'Surely that will unbalance the classes though!' we hear you cry – not so. Because the Morita is around twice as heavy as the sub-machine guns, your movement is considerably slowed as a result (in fact, the officials don't like you running with the sniper rifle lest you break their expensive toy). As a result, as a sniper you'll have to find a spot from where you can camp and pick enemies off from a distance. If any adversaries get in close, then they'll easily outflank you and make a mockery of your powerful scope and the gun's 300m range.

The sub-machine gun is all about manoeuvrability, then; it's about skipping through the undergrowth like a panther and outflanking other players with heavier weaponry. Because they have a faster rate of fire, these sub-machine guns also have a slight advantage over the assault rifles at close range, although this is then balanced by the fact that the assault rifles have a longer range of 160m (the Spitfire and Scorpion can only manage 120m). The actual games in Battlefield Live are mostly team-based (although we did play one free-for-all deathmatch), so a healthy mix of all the various gun types will effectively turn your team into a well oiled killing machine. When playing a game of capture the bag, you'll need sniper and assault rifles to cover the base, and then sub-machine guns to move-in on the enemy's bag. We also participated in games of Demolition, where one team has to hide a claymore mine and the other must seek out and destroy it to win the game (blowing up all enemy's in the claymore's vicinity while there at it). Fast-moving 'spotters' are particularly useful for breaching the other team's perimeter and locating the claymore, but a sniper can be equally useful to destroy the mine from a long way off before the enemy even knows what's hit it.

What really struck us about Battlefield Live is just how close it is to first-person shooters in the video game world, which is a particularly strange comparison to make given that we'd usually be measuring games against real-world authenticity. Paintball and airsoft can have their mock-bullets

www.totalvideogames.com_70613_video.png For some reason, I was none-too-popular in the post-game photos.
and eat them as far as we're concerned – in practice, the limited range and accuracy of pellet guns means that matches tend to gravitate towards a hailstorm of fire with no room for tactics or strategy (not to mention the expensive consumption of ammo). Battlefield Live is something different. It's the Enemy At The Gates to paintball's Commando; the Black Hawk Down to airsoft's Rambo III. It requires a little thought, you see, and the ability to execute clear and proper orders. It's something altogether more sophisticated.

To find out more about Battlefield Live, click here to check out the website of the location we visited in the New Forest (you can also find them on Facebook), or alternatively take a gander at the main Battlefield Live site.

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By: Anonymous

Added:Tue 18th Sep 2012 10:39, Post No: 25

Arcade gaming has been dead a long time in my view.  You used to go because the games there were vastly better than anywhere else.  When that stopped being true, I stopped going.  The thing that's really missing from games today is the feeling of importance.  Like they don't seem to have any pride in themselves or even care that you're playing

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By: Anonymous

Added:Wed 18th Jan 2012 14:54, Post No: 24

I just read this site is being killed off !! OMG - I always read here quite a bit... 

...for anyone wanting to keep up to date with Xbox news, thisisxbox is still going strong

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By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 13th Jan 2012 23:53, Post No: 23

we didnt kill off arcade game's its you the video game reviewer's critisism's of these arcade game's short commings vs full on adventure/simulation games.


even in this article you describe RR on the 3DS as basicly piss poor, who the F is going to buy it now after reading what you said about it, well go figure pal its people like you who killed the arcade not us gamers.



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By: Anonymous

Added:Fri 13th Jan 2012 23:49, Post No: 22

thanks to people like gwynne dixon many great game's have been shuned becasue they dont like them, a prime example is the saboteur, an awsome 3rd person adventure set in WWII in paris with an irish guy called sean where you seak revenge against a nazi war lord, if you can forgive the games minour missgivings such as scanty clad women who just for the record are not naked (even with the code/dlc there only topless) the rest of the game is suprisingly enjoyable and very satisfying.


but alas the developer just like many folded and wend into liquidation cause the majority of gamers this gen go by reviews/reviewers opinions rather than actually trying the game them selfs.


just for your information gwynne, activision pretty much shut bizzare creations down almost imedietly after blur was released, if activision hadnt taken over im fairly sure bizzare would still be going and developing PGR5 as that franchise of racing had served them very well in the past ever since its incarnation on the dreamcast back in 1999 (MSR Metropolis Street Racer) also as sega were re-releasing their back catalouge of DC game's as BC are no longer with us MSR will never get a HD remake which i can assure you many people wanted but will never see.

By: editor

Added:Fri 06th Jan 2012 01:53, Post No: 21

The answer your question - it may be best you go to my LINKED page (Kevin Williams - KWP)

As you can see I work in the heart of the interation Digital Out-of-Home entertainment (DOE) sector that includes amusement business. Along with this I write for a number of trade publications and publish the leading e-newsletter in the sector (The Stinger Report).

If you are interested in the trade show in the UK that will include the launch of some of the new SEHA and Bandai Namco releases for the sector - drop me an email and we can talk on how best TVG can retain our services.


By: freeradical

Added:Tue 03rd Jan 2012 14:56, Post No: 20

It was a tricky point to make to be honest, purely because arcade gaming has become so mixed in with different genres and platforms across the years.

My main point was to say that boxed-product arcade games on consoles - the likes of Blur or Bodycount, for example - are a dying breed. Publishers will be reluctant to invest in these kinds of games in future given how poorly they've been performing of late.

I was using the reference to arcade cabinets to point out that these kinds of console games emerged from them in the first place. Also, while I'm not denying that arcade emporiums can still turn a profit in places and do still exist, it's true that their business has been marginalised and they're not the forefrunt of new gaming that they were in years past. Quite to the contrary, usually they're old games that have been upkept or refurbished (not that I don't love playing those games still - I do).

So, amusement arcade gaming has undoubtedly receeded and now boxed-product arcade console games are doomed to a similar fate. No doubt hobbyists and fringe businesses will keep the style of gaming alive, but the mass-market mainstream appeal is as good as dead.

As I point out at the end of the article though, there are still opportunities and creative possibilities to keep arcade gaming alive on consoles. Dedicated amusement arcade enthusiasts such as yourself are evidently doing a great job keeping the culture alive too (long may it continue).

Which I suppose leads me to the obvious questions: what part of the amusement arcade industry do you work for, when is this trade show, and what's it about?

Also, respect to you for picking me up on the Trocadero closure. Shame on me for not double-checking.

By: editor

Added:Tue 03rd Jan 2012 01:32, Post No: 19

... Sorry but this 'comment' tool sucks.

One last point - your title was Game Over - Arcades Are Dead - which would be the point of your feature - and I have just proved that arcade gaming is far from deaf - and that point stands much better than yours :)

By: editor

Added:Tue 03rd Jan 2012 01:29, Post No: 18

@Freeradical, thanks for your comments - I had created a reasonable reply to the article but for some reason the 'comment' software dose not like it.

Anyway - correction, the Troc has closed and is now only hot four crane games - all the videos are about to be moved - in London there is however County Hall, and outside of London there are a number of bowling venues and cinemas with strong FEC tendancies.

I think you may not be aware of what the moder amusement industry represents - the traditional whole machine arcade us not viable, all amusement is FEC (additional) now - arcades are secondary spend to the main venue operation - and this is not small this sees over 10,000 machines in operation. 

I was in a modern Service Station recently as well as one arcade at Heathrow  and they all had videos and most were sub 2001. That said - you are right that this is not as strong as it use to be (96) - but not dead and still turning a profit!

Look we have a big amusement trade show in Feburary - would you guys like us to cover it for TVG? Email me if this is of interest.

By: freeradical

Added:Mon 02nd Jan 2012 17:13, Post No: 17

Thanks for the feedback, 'editor'. I'm aware there are still arcade venues turning a profit these days. London's Trocadero is still going strong, and you'll find plenty of arcade cabinets at any given Butlins resort - I take your point on the redesigned Weston pier as well.

These are specialised entertainment locations, however - they are some of the few remaining commercial areas where arcade cabinets continue to draw worthwhile interest in this country. It's no coincidence that they're also areas with very high levels of footfall (The Trocadero is in a tourism hot-spot, for example).

I spent a sizeable chunk of the 90s playing arcade cabinets and you'd find them everywhere from town-centre shopping malls to fast food restaurants and cinema foyers - this is no longer the case, or at least it's a lot rarer. You'd also find the newest games on these arcade cabinets with the best graphics before they were released on consoles further down the line. Where arcade cabinets do remain in this country, the offerings of new titles imported from Japan are much slimmer. Only in the very best UK amusement arcades will you find even vaguely recent titles such as Virtua Tennis 3, for example - most motorway service stations and airports harbour cabinets that were first released around a decade ago.

That was the point I was trying to make, and that point stands.

By: editor

Added:Mon 02nd Jan 2012 14:35, Post No: 16

This editorial seems to miss some of the big developments in the amusement scene and the number of new openings of venues - also the brand new Weston pier that saw bumper attendance last year. Best not to write without a little research no matter what time of year!

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