When gamesters young and old walk into the Sega GameWorks in Tempe, AZ, it's more like entering a disco than an arcade. "One of the lighting events is 'Jailbreak,' in which the whole room changes colors, and there are High End Systems Intellabeam(R) 'searchlights' tracing all around, looking in the windowsof the Loft area, searching for contestants," says Dawn Hollingsworth, principal of Moody/Ravitz/Hollingsworth Lighting Design Inc. (MRH) in Hollywood. The PJs, or "play jockeys," who also run videos and music, initiate the many lighting sequences through simple go buttons on an LCD touch screen.
The dark ambiance adds to the club feel. The games themselves put out a tremendous amount of light, and take center stage by acting as light sources. The stylistic warehouse theme required that theatrical lighting fixtures, PARs, and pattern projectors provide the primary lighting, Hollingsworth says. "Actually, it's also theatrical integration of architectural fixtures. We dropped in a base layer of industrial-style fixtures to carry the theming of the warehouse environment and create the illusion of what's lighting the space." In the Grapevine, TX, GameWorks, the workhorses are black theatrical fixtures against a black ceiling, to conceal the theatrical component as much as possible.
Sega GameWorks--a cooperative venture of Sega Enterprises, DreamWorks SKG, and Universal Studios--plans to open more than 100 around the world by 2002. MRH joined the fun after the first three sites opened in Seattle, Las Vegas, and Ontario, CA. "Our job was to add a level of animation and interactivity to the sites. We tried to create a new experience every time somebody goes," Hollingsworth says.
Lighting-wise, the primary area is the Loading Dock (pictured), a vibrant zone housing the latest arcade games. Color scrollers, Irideon(TM) AR5s(TM), and Intellabeams are all programmed together to change scenes continuously throughout the day. The centerpiece is the Video Chandelier, a circular horizontal screen suspended 24' (8m) in the air ringed by twelve 35W AR5s. The ballet of the AR5s plays throughout the space as well as on the screen and its trussing. "It's just a beautiful, fun thing to watch," she says.
To handle all that color and animation, "we doubled the size of the control system that they had previously used and went from 48 dimmers to a full rack of 96. And we changed the front end to a Flying Pig Systems Wholehog playback unit." MRH lighting designer Jeremy Windle says that an AMX operator interface cues the Wholehog, which in turn masters the theatrical lighting and an ETC Unison system that controls the architectural lighting.
MRH worked with Soundelux of Orlando to tie in the complete audio/video/lighting system. Electrical Engineer Ken Lucci, of Lucci and Associates, in Camarillo, CA, handled the complete electrical package. Bash Lighting Services of Orlando supplied and installed the lighting. Besides participating in the design of the architectural lighting, MRH lighting designer Eileen Thomas coordinated the many professionals involved on-site. The MRH team has two more GameWorks to play with.