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Issue Date: Vol. 49, No.5, May 2009, Posted On: 5/27/2009

Players Use Real Putter And Balls In Virtual Minigolf Game

Nick Montano
Chicago Gaming Co., Putt! Championship Edition, Athyrio Games, videogame, arcade game, pinball, golf simulator, miniature golf, mini golf, coin-op, coin-operated, amusements, family entertainment, bar game, Drew Maniscalco

Chicago Gaming Co.'s latest coin-op novelty challenges players to use a real putter and golf balls to test their dexterity on virtual miniature golf courses. According to the manufacturer, Putt! Championship Edition is the first golf videogame to use genuine equipment.

The game offers a choice of two minigolf courses, Paradise Sands and Vegas Strip, each consisting of nine realistic-looking putting greens rendered in high-resolution 3D graphics. Up to four players can compete at one time.

A player stands on a felt-surfaced platform to putt and watches the action on a monitor, a 32" LCD positioned on an angle, in front of him or her; the video perspective can be adjusted by using four button controls. Like the actual game, the player aims for the hole and uses a gentle tapping stroke along the ground to make the shot. Players are encouraged to look for shortcuts to improve their scores.

A camera in the videogame tracks the movement and speed of the ball, which travels under the monitor; the game is equipped with a mechanism that stores up to five balls (but requires only one to work) and automatically returns them to the player. The game ships with a putter and set of golf balls.

"What's great about this game is that anyone can walk up to it and play," said Chicago Gaming's Drew Maniscalco. "It's intuitive. We've noticed a lot of women playing it during tests, and since minigolf is so widely played, Putt! has very broad appeal."

Maniscalco reports that the virtual putting game is suitable for both arcade and street locations. At 67" deep, its compact size is only slightly longer than a pinball machine. The manufacturer suggests play prices of $1 for three holes and $2.50 for nine.

Software for Putt! Championship Edition was developed by Athyrio Games, a three-year-old studio specializing in the design of coin-op games, which also created the recent redemption remake of Sea Wolf in partnership with Coastal Amusements. Chicago Gaming plans to update its putting game with a third course and ticket-redemption functionality soon.

Cicero, IL-based Chicago Gaming manufactures amusement games for the coin-op trade and home recreation market. Other coin-op products include SpongeBob's Bikini Bottom Bowling, SpongeBob's Jellyfishing and Nicktoons Nitro, all high-profile Nickelodeon properties. The company's coin-op products are marketed by Betson Enterprises. Maniscalco can be reached at (813) 818-1090 or by emailing dmanis123@aol.com.

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