Police 24/7

One of my favourite arcade games (besides DDR) is Police 24/7. It’s your standard gun-shooter game, a bit like Virtua Cop with decent graphics, except for the fact that it uses sonar to detect your posture. So, when you’re playing the game, if you duck then your viewpoint in the game will duck, and you can dodge any bullets coming towards you – you can also duck to the left and right to fire around walls and so on.

It’s a remarkably fresh concept and is enormous fun. I was quite surprised to see one in the arcade of a service station on the motorway towards Cambridge, and of course put some money in. But for some reason I was playing really badly – the game wasn’t picking up my movements at all. After a fruitless couple of minutes, I stepped back from the machine to see if I could figure out the problem.

The machine had a metal frame extending above it with sonar emitters and detectors. Along that frame was a warning saying, “Do not place any signs or obstructions along this frame.” Right next to the warning was a large sign saying, “Play this game!” – clearly this was the source of the movement detection problem. I sighed, and resolved to a) have a word with the manager next time I’m there and b) if that fails, bring a screwdriver.