Two new trends are driving the rise of micro-amusement parks, says TBC co-founder Brent Bushnell.
Two Bit Circus plans to open the first of a chain of small-scale micro-amusement parks in downtown LA in early 2018. The experiential entertainment company’s aim is to get people to put down their phones and play together as cutting edge technology slams up against old school carnival.
TBC co-founder Eric Gradman describes the amusement park as “completely disrupting the entertainment industry”. “The world has nothing like this,” he says.
The games and scenarios will constantly change, so visitors won’t get bored. This, Gradman claims, is the major problem with most of the entertainment industry.
TBC has spent the last year creating new games for the micro-amusement park. There’s a robot that paints the images people draw, using paintballs thrown at the wall. A magic mirror interacts with visitors, changing faces into many different characters. There’s even a robot bartender in the shape of a retro jukebox.
The micro-amusement park concept is taking advantage of two new trends says Bushnell, in a radio interview for KPCC. One is purely about location. As so much retail moves online, he says there is a glut of real estate falling vacant. The second is more about life style. “People want new life experience,” he says. “You could think of their Instagram as a new kind of currency rate. It’s not wearing the shirt that has the Porsche logo that says you’re cool; it’s what kind of cool new experiences you’re getting into. So this is a place for new life experience.”
TBC hopes the downtown LA park will be the first permanent location in a chain of micro-amusement parks. Although it won’t open until 2018, would-be visitors can sign up now as beta players.