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Location Based Entertainment (LBE)

What is it?

Location based entertainment, "out of home entertainment", "interactive multiplayer entertainment centers" or whatever the heck you want to call it is simply some form of entertainment that is tied to a particular location other than your home.  LBE is often used interchangeably to describe amusement parks, themed entertainment attractions, ridefilms, large scale arcades and places where you go to play high-end multiplayer interactive computer games like dogfight or racecar simulations.  Bowling alleys, pool parlors, water parks, casinos, movie theatres and arcades are also technically LBE too.  Though they seem to fit the description, spectator sports like baseball or football are usually NOT considered LBE.

Obviously, LBE covers a lot of ground and includes some really cool stuff.  I'm most interested in the kind of LBE that features interactive multiplayer games you can play head-to-head against other people, the kind of games you might even call "computer sports".  A great example of this sort of thing is the driving games where 8 players get in 8 separate car cockpits (each with their own screen and controls) and all race against each other on the same computer simulated racecourse.  Since it's all in the computer, you can simulate almost anything from stock-car racing, to extreme sports (without the broken bones!) or fantasy/Sci-Fi games like combat between 30 foot tall robots.

Of course, you can get a lot of these kinds of games on home computers or game consoles, but LBE always takes it a step further, giving the kind of experience you can't duplicate at home.   For example, the system I developed at Virtual World Entertainment had 7 screens, over 80 working controls.  Not to mention briefing/game planning stations, instant replay of your games, score sheet printouts and regular nation-wide tournaments for prizes.  On top of all this you got to meet your opponents in person, talk trash, socialize and maybe have fun together after the game was over.

Virtual World Entertainment
I worked here 7 years as chief software engineer and helped design/develop these games and hardware.  You'll also find a lot of information about them and pictures here on my site.  Probably the first and longest lasting Interactive Multiplayer Entertainment Center in existence opened it's first site in 1990 and still has sites open today, many in Dave & Busters or Jillian's locations.  The games were Battletech (giant robots) and Red Planet (high-speed racing) games.  
Silicon Motor Speedway
Official NASCAR car racing simulators.
Metreon
Sony's LBE and shopping site in San Francisco.  Features many tech stores, restaurants, several attractions for children, movie and 3D IMAX theatres and a variety of computer games including several multiplayer competitive ones.

 

I will be adding more LBE sites and information as time goes on.  If you know of a site that isn't listed, please send me pointers to their web sites and I'll add them here.