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Ceci n'est pas une idée.
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A standard game board sized, three inch thick square, covered with vertically sliding rods. Each pressure sensitive rod has a computer controlled actuator at it's base and when you insert your newly purchased game cartridge into the side of the board, that game surface springs to life.
chess, checkers, snakes and ladders and other widely played games as standard features.
Touch the top of the chess man you wish to move and then the spot on the board where you want it to go and watch as the men seem to magically slide across the board, the knights seeming to slither through the other pieces.
I think that the main market for this would be role playing game enthusiasts.
The price of the little pewter figures that go along with games like Dungeons and Dragons is very steep for what you get, yet they sell like hotcakes. The main reason for this in my opinion is that without the visual reference its not only harder to get into the game but almost impossible for the game master to keep track of players positions. With this system, the mazes or caverns of each game could be rendered three dimensionally and to scale with the height of the figures.
Its been many years since I've played but I know that if a device like this had existed back then, the groups I played with would have pooled their money to get one.
Pin Matrix Terminal
This similar idea has some great links. [Amos Kito, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
A pinhead that is probably unrelated to this idea. [Amos Kito, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]
||Appears it would take up as much time as actually moving the piece yourself.
||I missed Pin Matrix Terminal, very similar.
||This is an extension of "Pin Matrix Terminal" [link], which I also hadn't seen.
If this isn't so different to be a separate idea, it's at least good enough to be an annotation to the original.