Incredible Technologies Interview: Target Toss Pro Bags

Target Toss Pro Bags is coming out on WiiWare this coming Monday (17th November) in North America for the mid-range price of 700 Wii Points.

With this in mind what better time to catch up with Gary Colabuono, the marketing director at Incredible Technologies to find out more about this sports game aimed squarely at the causal market?

WiiWare World: Can you tell us a bit more about Incredible Technologies. You are not known for making console games are you?

Gary Colabuono: Incredible Technologies is best known as the largest manufacturer of pay-to-play video games in the U.S., and perhaps specifically for Golden Tee Golf . While throughout our 23 years we have worked on consumer and console video games this is where our focus is primarily now. With this in mind, we worked with n-Space to develop the title for WiiWare and we are very happy with it. n-Space works on a wide variety of cross platform titles for many publishers, and they were great partners.

WW: What inspired the decision to bring Target Toss Bags Pro to WiiWare?

GC: We brought Target Toss Pro: Bags to WiiWare primarily because we thought the control and game play were a natural fit. The game is a party and tailgating game in real life and on the console. Much like Wii Sports Bowling it is pure simple fun that has a low barrier to entry, yet can become really competitive. 1 to 16 players can play, and we think for 700 points players will get real value.

WW: For those readers who don’t know can you tell us a bit more about the sport of toss bags, or cornhole as some might know it.

GC: Bags or cornhole is a deceptively simple, yet extremely competitive game where players try to toss beanbags into a hole in a slightly raised platform or "box" for points. The Bags game is played all over the country: at backyard BBQs, at tailgating parties before a game, or in the college quad. Our goal was to take this popular game and bring it to the level of a professional sport with dramatic replays, over the top scoring and great announcing.

WW: Your arcade game of Target Toss Bags pro can cost up to $4195 to purchase. What differences might one notice in the $7 download?

GC: The WiiWare version of the game is not that different than the coin-op version. The biggest difference is in the control - the coin-op game uses a trackball so the experience is a little different. That being said, we were able to play to the strengths of the home console experience and the Wii platform by doing things like adding in an additional mode of scoring that was not possible in the coin-operated version.

WW: Why is the Wii Remote so suited to this game? Did you have any trouble getting to grips with developing with this controller to get the controls feel correct?

GC: The Wii Remote captures the natural motion or feel of the game amazingly well, so there was never a feeling like we were shoehorning the game into an awkward control scheme. The Wii Remote is like developing for any controller in that there are always challenges, but you try to minimize the negatives and accentuate the positives. I think the end product feels pretty good but I may be biased.

WW: What different rules does your game support? Are factors such as wind resistance taken into account?

GC: The core game is very simple: You stand at one end of a court with four beanbags, and at the other end there is a slanted, wedge shaped box with a hole in it. Your goal is to toss the beanbag into the hole, or at least to land the bags on the box. In “Bags” mode you get 1 point for landing your bag on the box, 3 points if it hits the box and goes into the hole, and 5 points for a swish straight into the hole. You get four throws in an inning and there are six innings in a game. In traditional “cornhole” scoring you get 1 point for landing your bag on the box, or 3 points if it goes into the hole. Players play using subtractive scoring until a predetermined point total is reached (the score default is 21). This means that if at the end of an inning you have 9 points and I have 5 points, you will end the inning with a score of 4 points and we would continue to play until the first person reaches 21. To throw you press the A and B buttons to grip the bag and move your arm in an underhand backwards and forwards motion; when you are ready to release the bag, you release A and B. By turning your wrist during the backwards and forwards motion you can aim your throw to the left or right of the hole to play against the wind, and if the wind is behind you or blowing at you, you will have to decrease or increase the force of the throw to score some points. You can also dial in your shot type and throw angle depending on your strategy of play by pressing up/down or left/right on the D-pad. The three shot types are: Flop, Bounce, and Slide and each of them has a strategic use during the game. For example, if you are playing an opponent who has a lot of bags stacked up in front of the hole you can use a Bounce shot to bounce over the blocking bags, or you may want to throw a high velocity Slide shot to knock your opponent's bags off the box, or you can even try to use a low volatility Flop shot to get the swish - but you risk overshooting the hole entirely.

1 to 16 players can play the game, in single, team, or tournament format and they can play in traditional or Vegas mode. In Vegas mode, for every bag that goes in the hole the player is dealt a card out of a 52 card deck, at the end of the game the player’s cards are evaluated against poker rules, and the player with the best hand wins. Its way for players to play on multiple levels simultaneously.

WW: What audience is this game specifically aimed at?

GC: It is a game with real universal appeal. Players 5 to 95 can have fun with it. In fact, we have a couple of strength settings in the game so if you want to play with your kids or someone who doesn’t have a lot of physical strength you can without screwing up the game balance. I associate the outdoor game with tailgating parties, BBQs, or having fun on the campus quad so, outside of our coin-op players, I think the game will translate well with those people who enjoy casual social games.

WW: Many of our readers have drawn parallels with your game to Pong Toss which was universally despised by reviewers. What would you say to those who make that association?

GC: I would say that you can never control people’s associations, only the type of game you put out. The coin-op version of this game is in a lot of bars and restaurants around the country and the real outdoor game has a devoted following too. I can only hope that someone plays the game before they formulate their review, and we did a decent job of creating a casual game people can enjoy.

WW: Do you have any plans to release Toss Bags outside North America?

GC: Yes, Target Toss Pro: Bags is being considered for other markets right now.

WW: Do you have any plans to bring your golfing or bowling arcade games to WiiWare in the future?

GC: I don’t think you’ll see Golden Tee on WiiWare, but hopefully we will be launching other games soon.