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Current: Basketball Arcade Game

September 13, 2013

This recent summer I was in Taiwan visiting my parents and my grandma. Over the course of the summer, lots of great food were had and the cups of pearl milk teas drunk uncountable. We traveled a great many places around Taiwan but there was one thing that was everywhere we went. Since you're reading this and have most likely read the title, that "thing" was bunches and bunches of basketball arcade machines.

Picture of a basketball arcade game

Photo taken by Jonathan Lee

If you've never seen a basketball arcade machine before, this is what it looks like. The objective of the game is to score as many points as possible in the given amount of time. Each ball is worth 2 points until the last 10 seconds, where they are worth 3 points each. Each round lasts 60 seconds, and if your score is high enough at the end, you get to play another round, otherwise it's game over. Starting on the second round, the basketball hoops also moves left and right. If you have multiple people, you can also link up with other people's games. If any game passes the round, everyone gets to keep playing.

I've been playing this game since I was large enough to throw mini-size basketballs (the balls aren't very big so that's a verrrrry long time). It usually costs 10NT$ (~$0.34) per game. That's the one bad thing, the accumulated cost of me playing this, probably ranks higher than any other game purchase I've ever made. Not only is it super addicting, but I'd like to think they also work out my coding fingers, which is probably not true (programming itself is probably overkill on finger exercises...). Unforunately, I can only play when I'm in Taiwan. I almost never see these machines in the States.

I looked up the cost of buying one of these in the US, and some places quoted up to $5000-$6000! THAT much money for such a simple game! I'm a CS major, I could probably build it myself and program it for 1/10 of the price! After some online-research and in-depth on-site testing (playing the game some more), I've come up with a build/task list:

  • Analyze & Blueprint & Plan
  • Order Parts
  • Basketball Hoop & Scoring Sensor
  • Seven Segment Displays Of Various Sizes
  • Physical Buttons
  • Game Logic
  • Arcade Machine Case
  • Putting It All Together

I haven't made any progress yet besides typing up what I need to do, but I'll come back here periodically to post any updates.

Jonathan Lee
University of Texas at Austin
Phone: 214.609.0803