DALLAS -- Want to learn the secret to success for a high-earning merchandiser? Step right up and take a look at LAI Games' Balloon Buster. It's a novel twist on the familiar, time-honored carnival midway game. And that appeal has not gone unnoticed, as players are flocking to the arcade adaptation in a big way, according to LAI.
"We have seen fantastic results with Balloon Buster across the board, from family entertainment centers to street locations," said LAI's Allison Timberlake. "We saw the same kind of response with the Stacker. The footprint is small enough for street locations, and this is driving success in this operating segment."
The game measures 37" W. x 34" D. x 86" H., and its controls are intuitive and easy enough for young children to master -- players use a button and joystick. It vends prizes suspended from balloons, five of which reside inside the display case. A prize is dispensed when a player is skillful enough to maneuver a dart through a hole to pop the balloon. The simple, quick-play action encourages repeat attempts.
Timberlake said much of Balloon Buster's success can be attributed to its nostalgic theme. It attracts attention with its vintage-style cabinet graphics and carnival-barker voice track. Operators can select either global or individual prize adjustment settings."
When playing the classic carnival skill game, customers throw darts at cork-boarded balloons to win plush prizes. The prizes inside Balloon Buster are high-value, from Beats headphones to iPads. An operator selectable win-every-time mode rewards play with either tickets or a high-bounce ball, and this play option is recommended for locations that cater to children.
"It doesn't look like a lot of other merchandisers out there," Timberlake said. "And the carnival theme appeals to a wide demographic."
She advises keeping prize offerings fresh. "People get bored playing for the same thing over and over again. There are only five prizes you have to refill it with, so you can set each prize arm for a different style of prize," she explained. "We found that some operators like to offer less expensive prizes on some of the arms and more expensive on others."
Balloon Buster is one of those quick-play games that pack a repeat player punch across a wide demographic. All that's missing is the midway sawdust and smell of cotton candy. LAI Games can be reached at (888) 211-6370.
PHOTO: From left, The Stinger Report's Kevin Williams and BMI Worldwide's David Young present their Amusement Expo Best of Show Award for Balloon Buster to LAI chief executive Marshall Ashdown. The game won in the BOSA redemption category.