Operate & Optimise
SisyFox: strength and coordination in one game
What is Sisyfox?
A computer game that gives young and old a complete workout, that challenges and surprises you, and perfectly fits in any indoor playground. Does that exist? Yes! It is called SisyFox and works with a huge 'tracking ball'. Positive reactions from the market prove it: this is a perfect addition to any playground. Time an introduction!
The creator of SisyFox is the young German designer Sandro Engel. Sandro is a designer and digital artist with a fascination for creative interactive design. Together with his partner Amelie, who specialises in product design, he has been working since 2012 from Hildesheim (near Hanover) on gamification projects at the cutting edge of digital and analogue.
In the spring of 2015, the two came up with the idea of SisyFox. They built a prototype of a huge ball over a meter high, mounted in a holder with sensors that work like the rollers of a tracking ball from a computer mouse. The idea is as simple as it is inviting: by pushing the ball with your hands, you can roll the ball into the sensors and play a game on a large screen behind it.
The next step was the creation of the main character of the game, which became SisyFox: a large and flexible animated fox drawn from simple planes. As a player, you're the fox: by pushing the ball with your hands in 3D, you let SisyFox push a big heavy ball over a challenging course - simple, but challenging.
Supported by enthusiastic reactions to the idea, Sandro and Amelie worked out their first prototype in detail. Less than six months later, in August 2015, their first prototype was ready for a live test at a festival. Sandro: "That was a big hit. Because of the big ball, it was very intriguing - people wanted to know what it was and how it worked. It also turned out to be very intuitive to understand and operate: everyone immediately understood the intention and wanted to try it out…again, and again..."
"We developed various digital worlds and courses through which you can help SisyFox. At SisyFox Classic you can roll the ball up in different worlds. Force feedback makes it harder when the road is steeper. A matter of strength and coordination: you have to continuously give the ball exactly the right force in all directions, otherwise SisyFox rolls with its ball next to the path on the screen.
The game turns out to be an excellent work-out
Sandro Engel, SisyFox
A game of SisyFox can be quite challenging. Not only in terms of difficulty, but also physically. Especially if you choose a tough course and try to score a fast time. Sandro: "The game turns out to be an excellent workout for your arms, upper body, abdomen and back. We soon found out that you can get a lot of muscle pain if you play this fanatically for a while. That was not the intention at all, but it is a nice side effect. "Slightly addictive too, he laughs. "Even for adults: we've heard many times at demos that not only children but also moms and dads shouted 'I'm coming - one more game!’”
Meanwhile, development continues. Sandro: "In addition to the SisyFox Classic, a new version has recently been released, with new worlds and new challenges. Game 2 continues where game 1 ends: the road does not go up but down. This requires a completely different way of operating and controlling. And you can just play it with the same hardware.”
Sandro Engel, CEO and founder SisyFox
The crazy super tracking ball game is an ideal addition to the range of indoor playgrounds, Sandro believes. "Many playground entrepreneurs are a bit afraid of digital games, because they wouldn't fit in with environments with mainly physical challenges. But SisyFox is the perfect mix of physical and digital: a computer game with an analogue controller. We blend the magic of gaming with the impact and satisfaction of physical challenges. Children love that. Our game is a huge eye-catcher, the biggest tracking ball, the biggest gaming controller in the world!
We mix the magic of gaming with the impact and satisfaction of physical challenges.
Sandro Engel, SisyFox
You can easily and conveniently update and upgrade digital games. "Feedback, improvements and upgrades can be implemented immediately, at least monthly. You can even load completely new games and new worlds, so your visitors can regularly play new games on the SisyFox - all covered with a moderate service fee per year.”
Because of its special appearance and playful character SisyFox seems pre-eminently made for gaming. But the possibilities go much further, Sandro discovered. "The character has been sold in Germany, France, Great Britain, Thailand and China. Oddly enough, China also uses it in health care for rehabilitation. The creators even won a nice award: a digital prize for health visionaries. We are going to write more specific software for such medical applications in the near future," says Sandro enthusiastically.
Sandro's success makes him shy and proud at the same time: with SisyFox, his team is sitting on a gold mine and he feels that too. "We now have thirty installations, and expect to have around fifty by the beginning of 2019. It can go fast in the coming years. We recently concluded a distribution agreement with ELI Play to organise another thirty next year, in addition to our own sales. "How successful they can really become remains a question for them too. The inventor responds cheerfully: "How successful? That’s hard to tell. Of course, we do our calculations - assuming about a thousand pieces per year. This should be feasible in two years time. We’re doing well; it’s all going a bit faster than expected.