Infinity Game Table has the same disruptive potential as the Kindle
Digitize an entire library of board games on a touch-screen table from Arcade1Up.
I’d never been more upset during a game of Battleship.
My ship wasn’t just sunk. It was blown to smithereens in a 3D animation as haptic rumbling shook the table-sized tablet. It was so loud against the hardwood floor that I jumped a little bit. (I’m pretty sure I swore loud enough that the makers heard over the Zoom call.)
During an E3 press preview, Arcade1Up debuted its Infinity Game Table — an enormous, waterproof tablet designed specifically to play board games with tactile feedback. Its legs make it look like a sleek but conspicuously high-tech coffee table, but pop them off and you can place it right on top of an existing table and get to playing.
Arcade1Up specializes in retro arcade-style game cabinets, all designed to make you feel like a kid again without having to pester your mom for more quarters. But the deceptively simple concept behind the Infinity Game Table feels far more disruptive — like when Amazon unleashed the Kindle upon the world in 2007.
The rise of eBooks felt like the death knell for physical books once upon a time, but these days, owning “real” books is trendy. The Infinity Game Table might draw some people away from board games, but it probably won’t eliminate the demand for them. Still, it’s bound to shake up the industry in a big way considering the more than $1 million it raised in Kickstarter funding, but it does have room to grow at launch.
What are the Infinity Game Table’s biggest strengths?
- The wide, growing game library has something for everyone
- It’s surprisingly mobile for a table
- The ability to save mid-game
The current game library is small yet robust. These aren’t just ports of Battleship or Monopoly from other platforms; they’re custom-made experiences for the Infinity’s interface, crafted with a loving attention to detail that really shines. Battleship is a real highlight, with the rumbling of every hit and the animations for the explosions or when your missile splashes into the ocean. In many ways, every game is streamlined to be more accessible, even to kids. You don’t have to spend the time walking through the rules when prompts pop up on screen for each step.
The Infinity Game Table is hands-down the best way to play Trivial Pursuit. You don’t have to fumble with cards. Instead, boxes will pop up on-screen for whoever’s supposed to read the question, and you can flip it over with a button press to confirm if the answer is correct. It’s an improved version of the familiar game we all love, with endless potential for future updates and adjustments.
The flexibility and ease of use are a huge selling point. Not only can you save several games wherever you leave off, picking them up the next day or later, but it’s easy to unplug and move the table elsewhere if you don’t want to leave it out. Stick it in a closet or behind the couch, and pull it out as needed.
What are the Infinity Game Table’s flaws?
- Online social play is a strength — but only after enough people have one
- Some games just feel better with the real thing
- The game library has a lot of room to grow (and some will cost extra)
Up to six players can join together worldwide, but you’d still have to rely on other apps to communicate, be it Zoom or an old-fashioned phone call.
Had the Infinity launched in early 2020 instead of mid-2021, its capacity for online social play would have felt as mind-blowingly essential as our first social Zoom calls in April 2020. As the world opens back up, it becomes abundantly clear that this is a product born out of isolation in the pandemic. Would we want to spend several hundred dollars to play board games with a stranger over the internet when we could spend less to play Fortnite with a stranger over the internet instead?
Hugely popular games like Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly are debatably better in the Infinity’s digital forms, but in my experience, playing Candyland with two people feels a bit dull. There are fun animations and cheery music running in the background, but when all you have to do is poke the spinning wheel and then poke the tile you want to move to, it gets old pretty fast. If you’ve got the full six players, including some kids, then it could be fun.
32 games are currently available, with the promise of more than 50 free at some point in the future. Premium titles like Ticket to Ride and Pandemic will be available to purchase for an additional fee. Inverse can confirm that Settlers of Catan and even more ambitious considerations like Gloomhaven and Dungeons & Dragons are “on the wishlist” for Arcade1Up.
If the company can build out the library and score some of the aforementioned tabletop games, then the Infinity Game Table would quickly become a luxury commodity.
The bottom line
The Infinity Game Table should begin to ship by early fall for around $600 for the 24-inch screen and $800 for the 32-inch. It’s a luxurious investment that may be worth it for a home full of board game aficionados, and the potential here is unironically infinite.
Infinity Game Table will be available to pre-order starting July 17, 2021 only at Best Buy.