sparkballIf you’ve ever spent a night at a local pub, you’ve probably heard of Golden Tee Golf, the arcade cabinet first released in 1989 and one of the first golf arcade games in existence. Following up on their 2000 launch of Golden Tee Fore, where players could participate in tournaments from around the United States, developer Incredible Technologies released Golden Tee Live, which took the tournaments to a whole new level, with coordinated leaderboards and available prizes. Recently, the games have introduced two social elements, Facebook Connect and Youtube Uploads.

Looking at “GT Connect”, we can see that users can now sign in to their Facebook account and have every game and score updated live on their Facebook. I have not seen an integration like this before, where an arcade cabinet is connecting back to Facebook to provide status updates on the player’s latest game play. It’s a very interesting concept, and combined with mobile devices creates an interesting Arcade atmosphere.

Arcades, which are on a steep decline, foster a good sense of competition, and leveraging Facebook Connect can take this to another level. Imagine a public Facebook application where a Golden Tee gamers scores are always uploaded. This would allow the Facebook application to become the grounds for tournaments and more, and all the players will be connected by their Facebook accounts and real personalities (rather than arcade’s tradition 3 letter representation of your name). This is an interesting example of Facebook promoting social behavior outside of its network.

The other feature introduced by the new Golden Tee is Youtube video uploads, aptly named”Golden Tee Live Great Shot Replays”. The feature works a little differently than expected, with the player being given a cue to enter their email address after a shot, at which point an email is sent out that allows the player to login from their phone or browser and then upload the shot. This keeps the login process away from the game, which would be extremely annoying to those waiting in line. It seems well implemented, but searching Youtube for the title only returns 5,560 results, so it isn’t a huge success at this point. However, the players that do engage with this are sure to continue playing, and can be considered more engaged with the game due to the feature.

If you’re a huge fan of Golden Tee, I recommend you check out Ira Dean’s passionate musical tribute to Golden Tee’s 21st birthday: Check out “It’s Golden Tee” here.