Friday, 10 June 2016

Nerdversity Reviews: Zoltar Speaks (Arcade)

Zoltar is an arcade machine inspired by the machine from the movie Big, with Tom Hanks. The UK and European trademark is owned by a company called Harem Leisure, who sell the machine to various places, as well as rent them out for corporate events and weddings. The idea of a Gypsy Fortune Teller dates back to the Victorian era, where real Fortune Tellers would read fortunes for a small fee. Then, at the turn of the century, they were slowly replaced by machines, where there are many similar machines in operation around the world. 

While not exactly the same as the one from Big, it's clear that this version of Zoltar Speaks is inspired by it. The machine stands about 6 foot tall from base to top, It's in classic antique wood paneling with Eastern style influences. Zoltar the Gypsy sits in the middle and is fully animatronic. His eyes, mouth and arms move as he reads off one of 16 fortunes. In the foreground, around Zoltar, is a cloth, with a crystal ball, a lamp and coins scattered around. The speaker on the front is loud enough to be heard in busy theme parks and arcades.

At the front of the machine is a small slot. After dispensing his words of wisdom, a baseball card sized ticket will be dispensed containing one of 24 fortunes. The back of the card features Zoltar surrounded by the zodiac. On the front of the card is a full fortune, complete with a picture on the top and 6 lotto numbers on the bottom. Just remember, these are for entertainment only and are not meant to be taken seriously.

Harem Leisure have a video promotion on Zoltar Speaks here and their official page can be found here. I found this machine to be quite enjoyable and fun. Zoltar's wisdom appeals to all ages and I can see why he'd be popular wherever he shows up. If you happen to find a Zoltar in your area, I would say to put a coin in and get a slice of Zoltar's wisdom.