The Ultimate Sports Simulator

The Ultimate Sports Simulator

10 million pixels say this was an experience like no other. The Last Shot was an amazing installation that was created by creative agency AKQA, video production team Stardust and Nike's Jordan brand to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan. Free entry to the public meant that queues stretched a long way from its location opposite Madison Square Garden.

Walk into the white painted room and suddenly, the installation kicks in, placing you right in the middle of an NMB basketball half-court. Players can choose the arena and scenario they want to play in on wall-mounted iPads before they enter and the walls transform into baying crowds. You can either try to replicate Michael Jordan's game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship games versus Georgetown, or replicate his final shot as a members of the Chicago Bulls in 1998. The scene played out on 54 by 54 LED tiles in their thousands on the walls and flooring, displaying 10 million pixels in all. 

This is much more than an immersive video game experience. A path lights up to show you where to run and jump and from which point to release the ball into the net (the room is fitted with a real basketball and a real goal). The crowd either cheers or boos, depending on whether or not you get the shot. A real commentator describes your every move and a few real players interact with you to blur the lines between the real and the virtual. 

The whole experience in the 1,200 square foot room relies on many editors and video producers working in the background. They have to make sure that the correct crowd response is played and each clip is edited so that you get a highlight video of your play. It was said that the key to pulling off the project was a tight feedback loop. When the narrative was in place, the technology was then specced out in order to pull the whole thing off. TThe experience was only live for a single weekend, but its popularity suggests the virtual court might be rolled out again in another location. 

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