Studios are always looking for new ways to get people into movie theaters — 3D, 4D, upgraded sound, bigger screens and now the next iteration: multi-player online gaming. Yes, select theaters showing Terminator Genisys in IMAX will allow theater patrons to compete against each other in a video game.
Starting July 1, a handful of AMC IMAX theaters playing Terminator Genisys will present the first-ever in-movie-theater video game experience, created by Audience Entertainment.
Moments before the movie, moviegoers will be prompted on screen join a WiFi. Next they’re assigned a team. Then, along with everyone else on your team, you’ll destroy Terminators hoping to beat the score of the other teams in the theater.
The participating theaters are the AMC Lincoln Square IMAX 13 in New York, AMC Universal CityWalk 19 in Los Angeles, AMC Metreon IMAX 16 in San Francisco, AMC Boston Commons IMAX 19 in Boston and AMC Northpark IMAX 15 in Dallas.
So is it any good? Yes and no. Connecting to the limited, local WiFi is simple and quick. You are promptly assigned a random team color (in my case, purple) and then the game begins. Four soldiers stand opposite a gleaming T-800 (seen above) each with a target matching your team color. Because there are so many people on the same team, there is no aiming. You just wait for the target, which randomly floats around the screen, to land on your Terminator. Then it’s taptaptaptaptap as fast as you can to score as many hits as you can. Once you kill a Terminator with your teammates, a new one comes on for you to destroy. There are three different levels with slightly different environments and enemies, but the same play mechanism. Tap super fast to kill Terminators.
At the end of the game, which lasts maybe five minutes at most, the team with the most destruction wins. It’s pretty simple and takes literally no skill. But, at the above theaters, the winning team will get free posters.
During the game, your screen looks like the image above on the right. Just a big target for you to tap. And after the game, here’s the ending:
Yup, Team Purple terminated the competition.
Is in-theater online gaming going to change the world? No, not in the slightest. But is it a cool, fun way to kill time before a movie instead of watching commercials or a slide show? Yes it is.