I have finally resolved the problem with Youtube not accepting the videos for Dead storm Pirates and the UNIS booth – convert them to AVI files. Unfortunately they become blocky and lose detail so I will be trying to find another way to get the better quality versions online soon. In the meantime…
Dead Storm Pirates (Namco) – I was surprised to see this game at IAAPA – we hadn’t heard anything about it possibly coming over to the US although it seemed like the style of gameplay would be a nice fit over here. The software was 60% complete so there were only a couple of levels to play but it was a lot of fun. There’s also more to it than being Let’s Go Jungle with a pirate theme, Namco is taking the time to help the game stand out on it’s own. The emphasis on shooting the targets at the same time is greater and if you both can keep your sights together long enough, the shots become more powerful. Another exciting part of the game I saw is when you man the cannons to blast another ship out of the water – hopefully there will be a few more scenes like that in the final release. Also the rudder wheel feature is pretty cool, with the game presenting you with so many seconds to turn the thing for a pass or fail event. In several wheel events the game goes into “bullet time”, slowing down just enough so you can attempt to turn. DSP is running on Namco’s System 357 hardware, which is PS3 based and is the same hardware used on Tekken 6 and Razing Storm. As such the game looks spectacular but unfortunately due to the uploading issues I have had with getting this on Youtube you won’t notice those details as nicely.
Universal Space booth – We broke the news about UNIS bringing Cooking Mama to arcades and I have noticed that a number of blogs have picked up on that news but unfortunately only one source gave us any credit for that (so we tip our hat to them, GameSetWatch). Such is the nature of the blogging biz I suppose. Either way, one detail that needs to be emphasized about the game is that it is available in the US right now – and I already saw it’s appeal to younger kids. When I was posting the IAAPA pics at my arcade, a girl who was about 8 or 9 years old saw the picture of Cooking Mama and asked if we would get it saying she would play it all the time (right after my brother was saying that no one would play it).
Overall I was happy with the UNIS booth because there was a number of different and new ideas there that other companies don’t have.
One of those was Butterfly Garden – which is an interesting return to the tabletop game with four players. You control a net and you attempt to capture as many butterflies as possible. It’s another cutesy game that is something different. They had a couple of virtual bowling games which were fun and I was also impressed with Panda Family, a party game by IGS that uses a face avatar feature. There are a number of mini-games to pick from and movement is controlled by large buttons. The cabinet is really nice and this is one I wouldn’t mind getting for my arcade.
Of interest to Panic Park fans they also had a game called Ultimate. The control scheme works exactly like Panic Park does where you play tug-of-war on the controls in each mini-game. I was very impressed by the price on this one – only $4600 for a game with a 46″ screen. I couldn’t get a good feel for how the mini-games played in it however as you really need two people to get the full effect.
H2Overdrive fans will be pleased/surprised that UNIS had a new version of H2Overdrive at their booth. This version uses a motion base and it was a collaborative effort by UNIS, Tsunami Visual and Bandai Namco games. The motion version should be available in the US in 2010, with the game also going to Asian markets.
Apologies for the bad video and sound quality in this one, it’s another one I had to convert from MOV to AVI.
Big Buck Hunter Pro: Open Season – I got a chance to check this out but where I am more familiar with Big Buck Safari than I am Hunter, I couldn’t notice the differences in the update off the top of my head. I do know that there is more focus with online play via the Coin-Up network, like they do with Safari. I also found the mini bonus games to be a little more entertaining than what is in Safari (they even have an Asteroids bonus round, not sure if that is new or not)
Textminator – Strangely enough this game is attracting all sort of attention on various tech blogs all of the sudden, even though it has been out for a while. This was the first time I had a chance to play it myself and while I am not a texting person by any means, it was a decent game. Words fall from the top and you have to text out what it says before the word hits the bottom. One thing that could hurt the appeal to this is how many cell phones are converting over to full keyboards, making the old way of texting out-of-date but still, this is something unique and the cabinet catches your eye as well. The pads are interesting – it’s like using a payphone pad but it seems like they should hold up to the normal pounding found in your average arcade.
Yes, I still have a few more videos to go!