Why Game Diversification Pays Off

Offering variety of gaming can be costly, but worth it, according the waterpark managers. That means investing in popular games.
“For the adults, we see significant play on Big Buck Hunter (a shooting game), Deal or No Deal and Wheel of Fortune with our older audience,” said Tor Anderson, director of aquatics for Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark in Duluth, Minn. “But equally popular are our redemption games where you can do something as simple as drop a token in and push a button and win some tickets. Then there’s games like air hockey, where you see fathers playing against their kids or brothers and sisters competing against each other.”
For Edgewater, it’s most popular game is the Monster Drop, the latest craze in redemption games that features a spinning wheel and a rubber ball that bounces around inside the machine until it lands in a hole with a number that corresponds to how many tickets the players win.
“But then there’s bonus balls and sometimes I see 25 bonus balls,” Anderson said. “It’s like a casino for kids. We have another, older game that is similar in principle that is also popular where you drop a ball and a wheel spins around. But it’s not as exciting as the new Monster Drop.”
At the Bavarian Inn Lodge and Waterpark, General Manager Michael Zehnder said redemption games are the most popular, and some of the best-played games include Wheel of Fortune, the MadWave Moton Theater and even skee ball.
“It’s about creating an enjoyable experience in order to retain our guests longer,” Zehnder said. “We have multi-generational games everywhere, and games that people can play together. So whether you’re with your grandfather or your best friend, there’s something for everyone. And that’s one of our strengths.”
Popular games at Z Fun Factory in Yuma, Ariz., include skee ball, a basketball game that features a moving rim, air hockey, shooting games and a Big Fish game where players pull a hammer down to spin a wheel that can win 10 to 1,000 tickets.
“People love all types of games,” said Executive Chef and Manager Jay Walker. “When we brought in Deal or No Deal, that was super popular. And it remains popular. But people love the classics like air hockey. We used to have two of them. Kids love air hockey, and so do their parents. And one of our most popular things is our photo booth. All ages want that. And kids love making funny faces in there.”
Travis Nelson, co-owner of Kalahari Resorts & Conventions in Wisconsin and Ohio, said the most popular gaming trend is themed games.
“I see kids playing anything that has a theme,” he said. “Whether it’s Angry Birds redemption games or Fruit Ninja or really anything tied to a phone app, kids love it. Guitar Hero was a huge hit and continues to be. Anything they can relate to from their phone or tablet are hot, hot items.”
Nelson said it’s also important to look for updated takes on classics.
“Air hockey is a really fun game and a great example how games have evolved,” he said. “There is one game that has four goals, another that is Pac-Man themed where the machine drops 15 pucks and you go crazy and another that has four players and two goals, so you see stuff being revamped. Plus we still offer Skee Ball, which never wanes in popularity. And our Ohio location has a mini bowling game with a scoreboard and 10 frames with smaller pins and a softball-size ball. They are fun for everyone.” –

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