IAAPA: New Florida-themed game set for Wheel at Icon Park

Dewayne Bevil/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Icon Park will introduce a retro-styled game inspired by early tourist attractions and featuring a search for oversized postcards early next year. “The Great Florida Road Trip” was announced during Thursday afternoon at IAAPA Expo, held at Orange County Convention Center.

The new activity will arrive months after Bullseye Blast, a laser-blaster game, was suspended this summer at the International Drive complex, which has a 400-foot observation wheel at its center, after public complaints.

The incoming game will use infrared devices modeled to look like mid-20th century cameras for less-controversial shooting. The overarching theme will be Florida’s roadside attractions, which were a building block for the tourism industry in the Sunshine State. Its full blown name will be “The Great Florida Road Trip, A Classic Vacation and Photo Travelogue With the Flamingo Family.”

Participants in the wheel’s capsules will look for Florida-based billboards during their rotation, said Chris Jaskiewicz, president and CEO of Icon Park.

“They’re going to have a camera-like device in their hands, and they’re going to take photos. There’s a specific spot on each billboard … and then when you successfully take a picture of that spot, you’ll get a point,” Jaskiewicz said Thursday. “It keeps track of how many points you have.”

The faux cameras have a range of about 200 feet, he said.

“Throughout the queue there are going to be images of the cities and attractions and some actual text about them. It’s going to be part of a history lesson,” he said.

Pricing for “Road Trip” is still being considered, Jaskiewicz said. The Bullseye Blast option was a $5.95 add-on to the admission ticket.

During the announcement, Jaskiewicz mentioned Florida’s longtime allure and the era of the 1940s and ‘50s, as well as attractions, including Silver Springs, Cypress Gardens, Marineland and Gatorland.

“These essentially were proofs of concept for these big corporate conglomerates that would come in and open massive parks in Orlando,” he said.

“At Icon Park, we figured out a way to tie this nostalgia with education — but it’s also a game,” Jaskiewicz said.

Orlando-based Ideas, a brand and experience-design company, created the artwork, audio, queue video and storyline for “The Great Florida Road Trip.”

“They came to us with sort of an existing technology, with the notion that they wanted to really give it a fresh new story that nobody had ever really told before,” said Jared Wells, a senior writer with Ideas.

Two sample billboards for the new game were shown at IAAPA Expo. They spotlighted Ocala and Tampa.

“The artistic style that we’ve chosen to sort of depict some of these classic locations, and we think it’s fresh. We think it’s new; we think it’s really bright and colorful, and that people are going to really be drawn to it,” Wells said. “But we also think that it’s very representative of what you would find in that era. … We’ve kind of described it as if vintage postcards met a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.”

The game is set to debut in the first quarter of 2023, Jaskiewicz said.

“We’re going to start off with 16 billboards … with the technology already in place for that to grow, said Charles Moore, senior experience designer with Ideas. “It will keep growing and evolving.”

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