I've always known about the existence of Gundam 0079 Card Builder but never knew what it actually was until I went to an arcade recently.
Located on the 7th floor in a Shibuya arcade, two sets of Gundam Card Builder machines took up half of the room - a set of machines consist of a huge screen so that by-standers could watch the battle and 8 machines where people sit at - pictures at the official site.
Seeing Gundam Card Builder for the first time is kind of like watching people turning knobs n dials in a command room prior to a space shuttle launch (on TV^^;)
What you do next is to sit at the command machine which looks like a cockpit. A detailed diagram at the official site shows you what each part of the machine does.
There is a flat area in the middle of the machine and thats where you decide where you want your units on the battle field to be. For example, if you place five cards representing different mobile suits, the mobile suits will appear positioned in that order in the game.
What I found interesting was that depending on where you slide the card and how you do it, the characters/mobile suits will perform different actions. You can see some of the moves available here. The panel also detects if you tilt the cards so that you can attack enemies diagonally. The cards must have some sort of magnetic information embedded or something.
It was intriguing watching all the people shift these cards all over the place and pressing other buttons at the same time. Some of these folks had huge packs of cards on the side - presumably representing other mobile suits and weapons.
Looked like a ton of fun but also looked expensive to collect cards - and also looked very difficult too!
I'm thinking of organizing an otaku get together this year where we can get together, share ideas and talk otaku. If we do get together then maybe we can all go and play some Gundam Card Builder!
If you are planning on comming over - let me know when and if there is enough of us around the same period of time then we'll get together.
On you way out of the building, you can also pick up some Gundam Card Builder goodies with UFO catcher.
Notice the pic of Reiko Holinger who is one of the secretaries that appears in the game - and such a cutie she is ^^