Attacks from Mars

We love Burning Man “mutant vehicles” as an art form, creating compelling experiences for riders so that the journey of traversing around the playa is as much fun as getting anywhere. This year, we are converting our bus into a giant, roaming pinball machine.  The goal is for our riders to experience being the ball, activating sound and lighting as they bounce around the playspace!  This is very consistent with this years’ Burning Man theme, carnival of mirrors, creating the illusion of immersion in the game, where the wall dividing the observer from observed disappears, and the player becomes the played.

The theme of the pinball game, Attacks from Mars, is a play on the well-loved Attack from Mars pinball game, except instead of attacking earth, the martians are attacking Cloud City.  With a deliberate mix of futurist conceptions of intergalactic relations, hostile space ships will be attacking our utopian cloud city, and damsels in distress will be saved by robots as heros.

Here is the design sketch:

Attacks from Mars design sketch

Attacks from Mars design sketch

We’ll be converting the top of the bus into the playfield, with underlit staging, creating lightboxes out of controllable RGB light strips and plexiglass.  We will be building the box of the pinball machine around the bus, which will be painted with our Attacks from Mars themed murals.  The game play space will be on top of the deck, with under stage lighting.  The backglass will be made out of an aluminum frame attached to a scaffolding tower, and enshrouded with black scrim.  A DJ station will be in the backglass.   For night-time roaming, the pinball machine will be lit up using 40 RGB 20 Watt outdoor spot lights.


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