SEGA is adding more balance to that first floor arcade fixture: the UFO Catcher. The company’s new UFO Balance Catcher unit, shown at the weekend’s AOU arcade expo, adds a gaming element that has somewhat of a popular feel nowadays thanks to the Wii: the balance board.
UFO Balance Catcher’s balance board is different from Nintendo’s Wii Fit peripheral. Based off Impress Watch’s report from AOU, the board is capable of reading 8 directions, like a d-pad. You manipulate the board to the control the UFO catcher’s arm unit. Sounds pretty interesting.
Outside of the control method, there are some major differences here from other UFO catcher machines. UFO catchers usually give you just one chance to position the arm unit. Here, you’re given a time limit over which you’re free to move the arm around as much as you like.
As with most UFO catcher machines, you press a button to make the arm go down and grab your target item. But your responsibilities don’t end there. Once you’ve grabbed the item, you have to manually move the arm to the item dispenser. There are bars blocking your way, making this not as easy as it sounds. If time runs out while you’re making your way to the exit, you can put more coins to continue from your current position.
SEGA has even found away to make players run like fools during their UFO catcher sessions. While the arm is dropping down to grab an item, you can rapidly press left and right on the balance board (that is to say, you can run) to build up an on-screen gauge. When this gauge reaches MAX, you’ll enter Stop Mode, where the timer stops.
You can see real life versions here