For most of us born in the last third of the 1900's, gaming has been a huge part of our lives. As children we hit the arcades and played Pac Man, Centipede, and (my personal favorites) 1942 and Galaga. I remember being totally blown away by the technology that brought us Dirk the Daring's adventures in Dragon's Lair - though I never seemed to have enough quarters to make it very far in that game. We had an Apple 2C in our house, and my brother would endlessly program mazes or Pong-like games for us to play when we weren't busy tossing cartridges into our Magnavox Odyssey console. (Yeah, yeah. Laugh all you want. I wasn't 'fortunate' enough to have Coleco, Intellivision, or Atari during those years.)
As teenagers, the arcade games became much more advanced, as did the home games. People were purchasing Sega and Sony Playstation, and home computers were becoming much more common. Tetris, Solitaire, and Hearts were being played on a daily basis. We went through various versions of Zelda, Quake, and Castle Wolfenstein, as well as Might and Magic, PGA Golf and Civilization before ever logging in to play backgammon, poker and chess online.
Now, there is such a demand for games that there seems to be something new on the market every day. You can play games on handhelds, through your cell phone, on your Xbox 360
; the list goes on and on. Now, the latest buzz is interactive TV (iTV). In an interview on Tracy Swedlow's ITVT Newsblog
, Jonathan Boltax, VP of Programming and Service Management at PixelPlay
, discusses what the casual poker player has to look forward to without ever leaving the couch.
In the interview, Boltax revealed that his company will soon be launching an interactive TV game based on the World Poker Tour
brand in both North America and Europe. Customers will have the ability to play the game directly through their television sets in multi-player mode, or against an AI bot in single player mode. Boltax describes the single player mode as being a very similar experience to what you see in the WPT on television. Your character would play Episodes 1 through 12, with each level becoming progressively more challenging. On a personal note, I still maintain that it is pretty hard to develop AI that will really challenge a seasoned poker player, but I am fairly confident that for the majority of casual players out there, it will be quite a satisfying experience.
In addition to poker, the company offers many other games including a classic arcade game lineup that you can purchase on a play-per-day basis. Some of the available games include Asteroids, Centipede, Pile Up, Chains and Sudoku. Many of these services are already available in various locations around the world - though as far as I can tell there has been no word yet on which cable or satellite providers will be offering the World Poker Tour iTV experience. If it is something you are interested in though, it never hurts to help create the demand - contact your cable or dish service providers and request it.
For more information, you can read the full interview with Jonathan Boltax through the 'read' link below.
(Special thanks to Davis
for the tip)