Golden Tee Golf, the world’s #1 coin-operated video game, is celebrating its 20th birthday, a unique achievement in the fickle, fast-moving coin-op industry. Incredible Technologies, Golden Tee’s creator, kicks off a year-long celebration at its upcoming World Championship, to be held at the Las Vegas Hilton on September 12-13.
“It’s a trifecta, celebration-wise,” says Elaine Hodgson, president of Incredible Technologies. “It’s a $100,000 tournament starring 500 of the best players in the world … it’s a 72-hour birthday bash … and it’s the unveiling of our 2009 Anniversary Edition, with five new courses and some brand new twists.”
The Golden Tee World Championship is video golf’s version of the Ryder Cup. In addition to dramatic, exciting team competition, players will compete individually for the world title and its $20,000 first prize.
Yes, $20,000. IT has awarded more than $15 million in prizes to date, one reason why Hodgson expects 5 million players to plunk down $200 million on the game in the next year.
Another reason: IT keeps introducing innovations, so Golden Tee never gets old.
Back in 1989, inventor Larry Hodgson created Golden Tee to indulge his love of golf during long Chicago winters. His first prototype featured an actual golf club.
Eventually, he traded the club for a trackball and asked co-worker Jim Zielinski to design a virtual golf course. Since then, the IT team has launched one technological breakthrough after another, like using wireless connectivity to link game consoles worldwide and designing machines that accept credit cards — thus redefining “coin op.”
The 20th anniversary edition contains even bigger innovations this year. For starters, IT redesigned the game cabinet from the top down. The clunky, old-fashioned, arcade-style cabinet has been replaced with a sleek, slim, sexy 3′ pedestal, coupled with a cutting-edge, LCD flat screen.
With the new YouTube Great Shot Videos feature, players will be able to upload outstanding shots to YouTube to share with the entire world. And to listen to the Hit List, a soundtrack of ever-changing music by Dave Matthews Band, OAR, and selected new artists.
“We can’t think of a better place to launch our newest, greatest edition of Golden Tee than at its 20th birthday party at the World Championship in Vegas,” says Hodgson.
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