Anyone can LOOK at Christmas lights, but can you PLAY your Christmas Lights?
Ric Turner of Santa Clarita ups the ante from last year’s Christmas Light Hero by creating an interactive video game — Snowball Blaster — using the Christmas lights on his house. Players sit in a moving rocket seat and try to blast the snowballs to help Santa make his rounds. The garage door is the play field and the entire house interacts with the game. Old school arcade fun on an entirely new scale!
“The Christmas Light video game – Snowball Blaster! Hop in Santa’s electric training sled and grab the game controller for an adventure in snowball dodging. Press the left button to move left and the right to move right. Make it past all the snowballs for a big light show! (nobody has made it yet!) Game is easy enough for kids and challenging for adults… and quite addictive. High score so far is 910.”
Snowball Blaster has 128 channels of Light-o-rama controlled by a PC. The game logic is running on a Basic Stamp which accepts inputs from the player switches and controls the Red Arrows with sold state relays. The BS also sends logic level triggers to the LOR system for Game start and Crash. The snowballs, scoreboard (and the rest of the light show live in the LOR program.) There are separate LOR programs for Attract, Crash and Game play. The BS knows when the snowballs reach the bottom, and compares that to where it knows the Arrow is to detect crashes.
The game is designed around the limitation of having very few positions to light up. The timing of when they light up is more versatile, so that’s where the game lives. It’s easy to learn, starts easy and gets harder pretty quick. The audio is broadcast on FM so people watching in cars get a good show too.
You can stop by and play Snowball Blaster – The Game on Philbrook Avenue in Santa Clarita most nights after dark.