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Sega has a Ball

Makes a Monkey out of arcade owners

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

It used to be a hotbed for trying out the next generation of console games, but nowadays we're not in the business of following the arcade terribly closely. For the next generation of gamers, arcade releases aren't as important as they used to be, partly because everything's a quid a go, but most of the time because the version running on your PlayStation 2 at home looks better and features ten times as many levels. Since they made the decision to become platform agnostic though, Sega Amusements' arcade offerings have been spicy affairs. With no console to promote, a Sega-driven arcade acts as a sort of shopping centre for Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft when they need a new killer app for their console. A perfect example is this week's arcade offering, Monkey Ball. Developed using the standard Naomi 1 system, which shares a lot in common with Dreamcast technology, Monkey Ball is a simple concept that will likely go a long way and inspire a Samba De Amigo-like cult following. In Monkey Ball, you control a monkey. In a ball. Using the banana provided, you have to tilt the platform your little monkey is sat on so that he rolls around various stages. These stages have sides, off which your monkey can roll if you're not too careful, so there's an element of risk involved. The game can be played by 1-4 players (with linked up units), and if you're good, you can collect extra on-screen bananas to add to your score. The stupid thing is, Monkey Ball is ridiculously entertaining, but it's such a stupid concept. I mean, lets unravel it a bit. It's basically one of those maze puzzles with a tiny marble that you complete by tilting the whole thing all over the place. The only difference is that there is a monkey in your marble. Why? Because you're using a banana to tilt him. It's nonsensical in the extreme. Still, we love it. Monkey Ball is out in arcades this week, and Super Monkey Ball, an advanced derivative, will be release on Nintendo's GameCube some time in 2002 with four player split screen and more.

Source - press release

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