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Philips Unveils Entertaible

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the ds-writ-large dept.

Games 32

Gamasutra reports on Philips' newest gaming gadget, the Entertaible. A touch-sensitive surface allows for unique gaming ideas to be implemented. From the article: "Currently a working concept, Entertaible comprises a 30-inch horizontal LCD, sophisticated touch screen-based multi-object position detection, and all supporting control electronics, and, according to the firm, '...allows the players to engage in a new class of electronic game which combines the features of computer gaming, such as dynamic playing fields and gaming levels, with the social interaction and tangible playing pieces, such as pawns and dies, of traditional board games.'"

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Come again? (1)

voice_of_all_reason (926702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14401632)

Was this article stuck in a submittime queue time-warp since the 70s? We've already tried this -- see crappy dogfighting game in the bar scene from Star Trek 3

Gamers want immersion in their multiplayer worlds. Anything that makes the interaction more physical is a step backward.

? I don't get it (0)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14401669)

I must say I don't understand at all what this is about. The article shows a strange picture surrounded by some fuzzy marketeer speach. Can anybody explain why this is the next best thing?

Bring out the Purell (2, Funny)

Anonymous Cowdog (154277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14401710)

The thought of multiple people touching my monitor just grates. Even if it is horizontal, and even if that is the idea. Purell, anyone?

in other words... (1)

frankie (91710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14401714)

...why play Monopoly on a square of cardboard for $30, when you can play it on a touch-sensitive flatscreen with surround sound for the low low price of $3000?

Re:in other words... (3, Insightful)

fatmonkeyboy (257833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14401840)

Well, for $3000 this will never fly.

But suppose you could get one of these for $300? You could sit around and play Monopoly without having someone be the banker.

Admittedly, I don't think Monopoly is where this would shine. More complicated games (e.g., Risk) would be good.

I could see lite D&D-type games implemented for this being a lot of fun. Anyone remember Hero Quest? You could play it on this without a DM.

Any traditional board game *can* be implemented on this and maintain the "tabletop" feel, which is important. Additionally, there might be some really cool things you could do with this that wouldn't be possible with traditional board games. wife and I thought about something like this over a year ago and were really excited about the idea, but didn't know where to start and didn't follow through with it. I'm glad someone else did :)

Re:in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402109)

Leaving out the game computer, the touch screen, the audio system, etc, you think you can buy a 30 inch LCD for $300?

Please tell the rest of us what you're smoking, it must be really strong.

Re:in other words... (1)

DavidLeblond (267211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14403449) wife and I thought about something like this over a year ago and were really excited about the idea, but didn't know where to start and didn't follow through with it. I'm glad someone else did :)

You're GLAD someone else did? I would have kicked myself for not getting a patent!

Re:in other words... (1)

fatmonkeyboy (257833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14403546)

Well, we did pretty much abandon the idea after a few days of thinking about it. I'm not sure a patent would have been appropriate or defendable anyway.

Besides...I still want to have one to play cool board games on, so if I'm not going to make it, someone else needs to right?

Re:in other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14410428)

Since this is being announced now, and since the progression from idea to development to release can take several years, my guess is that Philips came up with the idea several years ago (long before the GP and his wife), and has already applied for any appropriate patents.

Also, there is not much that is innovative about this product anyway.
It's just an ordinary touchscreen LCD that lays flat instead of upright.
I remember seeing something similar at a COMDEX over ten years ago (although the screen was smaller, monochrome, and required a stylus).
Judging from this picture [] , their major innovation, if you can call it that, is the ability of the device to detect multiple points on the screen simultaneously (without the problems associated with passive crossbar detectors), and transmit them to the computer in real-time.

Re:in other words... (1)

abdulla (523920) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404156)

How about one board for each player, and using it for RTS games and such? Wanna move your troops? Easy.

Re:in other words... (1)

heavy snowfall (847023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14401869)

If they ever release this I predict it will flop because it's tiresome to sit at the angle neccesary to look into the table.

I'll save my cash for my lust object of the month: a 24 inch eizo lcd []

Re:in other words... (1)

lotsotech (848683) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402006)

Would you rather have 1 of these or 20+ individual boardgames in your closet?

Re:in other words... (1)

moonbender (547943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410503)

I'd rather have the 20+ board games and the 2000 bucks.

ds (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 8 years ago | (#14401726)

Sounds oddly like a DS to me..

Now I can't wait.... (1)

LordPhantom (763327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14401735)

....for the next Lesuire Suit Larry!

Solution in Search of Problem? (1)

Alterscape (904055) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402061)

For the time being, this looks like a solution in search of a problem, as far as the home market goes. The traditional 'cardboard and plastic' approach does the job well enough and cheaply enough that this sort of gizmo would have to offer significant gameplay advances (and I can't think of any "killer apps" for a game like this) in order to appeal to home audiences.

In addition, it seems to sit at or above the price point of a desktop PC, versus the (relative) inexpense of a console system. If we consider board games and tabletop RPGs as the "console systems" of the tabletop gaming world, this thing is going to have to provide a lot of value above and beyond those sorts of inexpensive games in order to attract buyers. As opposed to consoles, PCs have the ability to run all sorts of useful software that addresses needs other than gaming. What can this thing do?

That said, I could see this working as a casino gimick. Most bars probably couldn't support the cost of the thing, but if they can provide a way to gamble on it, casinos will probably snatch up at least a few.

RTS/Chess (1)

Admiral Frosty (919523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402204)

Real Time Stratagy games have cried to me for a touch screen like setting. Starcraft would rock on this IMO. Small ports of old RTS games would really make this worth my $$.

Also, online abilities would make an online game of chess more like sitting at a table and playing, only not seeing your opponet. Maybe a headset or a built-in mic would serve well here. Reminds me of the Ed's Chess set in a perticular Cowboy Bebop Episode.

If marketed and supported right, I see a future for this!

Still Birth (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402284)

When will people realize if your not one of the big three, your not going to succeed in the gaming industry. Especially if you design highly gimmicky devices that don't support on the of the big three companies games.

A 30inch LCD? I haven't found one yet that costs under $1200 CDN, so I can't imaging how a gaming device that adds touch sensitivity to an expensive LCD TV is going to be a success.

It would be different if this was an accessory to an Microsoft, Nintendo, or Sony game console, but even then, who would buy a $1200 TV to replace their current TV for a few novelty interactive games?

Lastely, don't most parents still tell their children no to sit too closely to the TV? So is coming out with a 30 inch display where you have to sit right beside it going to be good for children?

Maybe.. (1)

blueday4 (569939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402357)

I'd rather it told me which beer on the table was mine. THAT is worth the money right there.

Up, up and away! (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402398)

This product looks destined to go straight to Brookstone or The Sharper Image... next to the $6,000 toy hoverboat or $15,000 authnetic scaled-down Lamborghini.

In order to do that justice, the screen needs to be bigger. Unless neat zooming features are included on every 'game' they have for this device, being able to command a game from the top down looks small with 8 people and a 30" by 30" screen.

Better Built For Bars (1)

wilbz (842093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402637)

I don't see this being a very functional home entertainment device. There's no easy way to keep track of individual players (anyone can touch the table) so cheating, especially amongst younger players, would be a frustratingly frequent behavior.

That being said, I could see a significant potential for usage as a bar surface. An entire bar surface created with these things (assuming waterproof models exist) could create some interesting dynamics. It could easily fill the role of almost any of the exisiting touch screens you find so often at bars, would work as several independent televisions, and could even be used to make the service of drinks more interactive. Patrons could place orders using the bar surface, rather than having to flag down the bartender. The bar itself could serve for an almost unlimited number of interactive drinking games. Sure it would be a huge initial investment, but the sheer novelty of it could be a great customer draw.

Re:Better Built For Bars (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402804)

What makes you think young people are more likely to cheat than drunk people?

Re:Better Built For Bars (1)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14403981)

No, Nolan Bushnell already has a better plan for bars - he's trying to bring back the oldschool cocktail cabinets in a new, modern form. Iirc, his models just use trackballs instead of touchscreens.

It's about time... (1)

LoverOfJoy (820058) | more than 8 years ago | (#14402730)

It's about time Ouiji Boards caught up with the 21st century.

It can survive a blow of how many psi? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14402894)


I only see these things working in bars and Pizza Huts, replacing the old Mrs. Pac-man/Galaga gaming tables.

While the idea is quite cool and there are lots of things that could be done with it; I don't see many places keeping spares in the back for every time a loudmouth gets his face smashed into one.

No way I'd want to be touching--much less sliding my fingers through--the greasy filth and drink spills left by the patrons before me.

This would kick ass for table top AD&D (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14403004)

No more having to draw maps on the fly and using beer caps for the the orcs.

Hrm... But then again... Having cheetos/dorritos encrusted fingers on this table may be problematic.

How much is this thing going to cost?

PANTS! (1)

grnbrg (140964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14403329)

"I suggest a new strategy, R2. Let the wookie win." :)


Ahh, I remember the CD-I (1)

Gulthek (12570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14403968)

This gadget looks just as useful as the CD-I, and will probably be as popular.

I still have nightmares of playing "games" on the CD-I. "Shoot the guardian's lights out!" Aaahhh! You shouldn't be asked to play a light gun game with a remote control.

But I did have some fun with the Art of the Czar's disc. Pretty stuff. The Smithsonian Museum collection was neat too. Mostly because they were my first encounters with CD-ROM content.

don't use it for games (1)

divbyzero (23176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14404797)

It's short-sighted to think of this solely as a gaming device. If it's hooked up to a computer, then it can be a user interface device for use with any piece of software. To me, a large touchscreen which can distinguish amongst multiple simultaneous touches is begging to be used for controlling software synthesizers. That's the market on which the very similar Lemur [] product focusses.

A similar device from Applied Minds (1)

Prophet of Nixon (842081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14410014)

The TouchTable [] is being built for Northrop Grumman, who is attempting to market it to the Army for mapping applications. Its neat, but only as neat as its software, which has to be more or less custom developed.
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