pax 2014

Upsilon Circuit Is 'The Running Man' Of Gaming With A Max Headroom Host

by Mike Futter on Sep 01, 2014 at 06:46 AM

I may be dating myself a bit here, but children of the 80s will remember Arnold Schwarzenegger starring in an adaptation of Stephen King's The Running Man. The movie depicts Schwarzenegger participating in the entertainment of the future: a game show played to the death.

The idea has been aped before, most notably in Smash TV, but Upsilon Circuit from Robot Loves Kitty is the real deal. This is a game show fight to the death, and you can only play once. Ever. In your whole life.

In Upsilon Circuit, eight people can play at once. Not eight people in your game. Eight people in the whole world. The show will run for a set period of time during the day or week, and during that time, contestants will be able to continue their adventure.

The game is an action-RPG, with buttons for sword slashes, blocking, and dashing. It's pretty simplistic, but knowing that the permadeath has an extra dose of "perma" makes it thrilling. The enemies range in size from tiny to hulking and brutal. Building up a combo is the key to huge scores, so you'll need to balance self-preservation with success.

Upsilon Circuit is run like a game show, which means there is an audience. Everyone else in the world can tune in (Robot Loves Kitty is still ironing out the details), and when someone dies another person is chosen. You'll need to be in the audience to get tapped to play, The Price is Right style.

1980s icon Max Headroom

The host is a lovely gentleman named Ronnie Raygun, who is a Max Headroom-style display that looks like President Ronald Reagan with sunglasses. At the PAX booth, he was manned by someone hidden away at a computer, with a camera and microphone mounted on his television home.

Upsilon Circuit is slated to go into beta in early 2015. Whether or not it catches on as the game show of the future (or the neon-soaked 1980s) is up to the live streaming audience.