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www.parkworld-online.com
Horse talk
Madame Tussauds
with Mr Zhed!
Bangkok
The world’s most famous waxwork museum is heading for Thailand. Madame
Tussauds Bangkok will open as part of the revamped Siam Discovery shopping
Meet Zhed, the taking mall in September 2010.
Hilda the Goat
horse. This computer- The new outlet will be the 61st global attraction for Merlin Entertainments, and
generated character the 10th Madame Tussauds. The US$15 million attraction (€10.5m) will be the
interacts with guests and is third in Asia, alongside successful facilities in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
one of several animated
animals available from
Living Pictures of
Catch A Fish …and
California.
“Every child dreams of
entering the world of their
capture your profits
favourite animated stories,”
“A lot of parks have stopped running games
says Living Pictures’ Chiari
now because of staff fraud,” reports the
Perin. “With our attractions,
Amusement Corp’s David Miller.
guests engage in a live conversation with the characters they love
The Australian company has released a new
the most. This lasting one-of-a-kind experience builds a lasting
midway game that it says will increase takings
relationship between you and your guests.”
...then stop them drifting away into employee’s
Already employed by one of the industry’s biggest names, Living
pockets.
Pictures’ technology employs real-time lip synching and a simple
Using a tried and tested theme, Catch A Fish
controller to bring an actor’s voice to life through the animated on-
looks simple enough, but behind it all is soft-
screen character, complete with customised facial expressions.
ware that ensures operators keep a firm grasp
Thanks to a discreet in-theatre camera, the actor is also able to
on the game’s profitability and stock control.
watch the audience and deliver personalised messages to viewers,
Players use a net to catch a fish from the
much to their joy and amazement. This spontaneous animation is
pool and then “weigh” it in the scales held by a
delivered by video or the internet, meaning the actor does not even
friendly fisherman. This tells them the weight/score of the fish, and a prize is dis-
need to be on site.
pensed of corresponding size.
Zhed was developed as an attraction for for an equestrian park in
A computer chip inside each fish helps the operator record exactly how many
Dubai, while another character, Hilda the goat, was used for
prizes were dispensed, and at what level. It’s therefore very easy to prove what
marketing a children’s book. Several other custom characters have
the takings should be at the end of the day. Even is a fish is scanned twice by
also been produced for various clients.
mistake, the system cancels out the second instance.
Living Pictures is a division of the high-end animation studio
Once the fish is put back into the water, it is reprogrammed ready for a new
3Dsite, whose film credits include The Matrix, The Core and Looney
game. Operators can program their own prize values, and choose how often
Tunes: Back in Action. The company anticipates the interactive
they want them to “win,” helping them keep control of the prizes.
system being used in standalone attractions and live shows, and for
Music and jingles create attention from passers-by. As well as the fisherman
broadcast, internet and mobile use. During a demonstration at the
character, a set of hanging scales is available for use around the outside of the
recent IAAPA Attractions Expo in Las Vegas, many visitors did not
game. Amusement Corp supplies its own fish plush toys and popular fish hats,
even notice the video camera in front of them.
although a mix of prizes is recommended.
“It’s quite easy for us to hide the camera, but people are so
The company has first hand operational experience, enabling it to offer
desensitised to cameras now anyway,” observes Perin. “And you
advice to other operators, and also ridding the system of all bugs. During the
know what? I think they actually want to believe the character they
Perth Royal Show in Australia, Catch A Fish “beat all other games.”
are seeing is real.”
Zhed captivates young
guests in Dubai
24 DECEMBER 2009/JANUARY 2010
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