I am not a big fan of Top 10 lists – sure I could pass off my opinion of the “Top 10 Arcade Games to Feature a Winners Don’t Use Drugs Logo Screen During The Attract Mode” sort of thing but that is completely subjective and kind of a waste of time. Then again what’s a waste of time is a matter of opinion as well so never mind. I figure that if I’m going to do a top 10 list, I may as well base it on some cold, hard facts I have in my possession so it can be useful. It also gives us a review of the year and shows you what people were interested in, as far this site goes. I wrote hundreds of posts throughout 2011 but I was not alone – Heavy Electricity cooked up a couple about EAG which he will be doing again next month.. Quite a few posts managed to get close to the top 10 and I will divert a little in the Honorable Mention category as I will cover some of my favorites. So without further ado, the top 10 posts this year from Arcade Heroes, starting with 10th place:
Street Fighter IV 3D Arcade version? Plus many more games from China – March – More Street Fighter love thanks to some Chinese knock-offs that tried to give a 3D angle to the game. But on top of that there were quite a few other games we had pictures of worth looking at.
The Mountain Dew Pinball Skate Park in New Zealand – June – With the powers of Mountain Dew, Pinball and Skating combined into one, this made for a formidable post that you were quite interested in.
Tournament fevah: The Kong Off and Pinburgh 2011 – March – The competitive side of arcade gaming generated some interest, especially when some famous players came together to show off who was the greatest Donkey Kong player.
The Funland @ the Trocadero closes its doors, here’s why – July – The shocking closure of a major arcade facility in London generated some buzz and while the games eventually found some homes, the sad fact that the location itself was now gone. This post got into why it happened, showing it was a dispute with the landlord and not poor sales.
Also seen in China: Plants Vs Zombies Completely Unofficial Arcade Edition – March- When a popular home play game is illegally converted into an arcade title, this was something people wanted to see. It took a little bit of legwork to confirm this one and I would still like to see how they turned this into a joystick game but it’s likely you’ll only ever come across this in China. I do find it peculiar that while this gets a lot of attention that another product by PopCap wasn’t given anywhere near the same amount of attention when an amusement version of it was announced – Bejeweled.
Namco’s Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4 coming in December to Japan – July – Namco has been doing a bit of work teasing their newest technical racer – in Japan. But when the news drifted over here through us, that caught a bit of attention. The game is available in Japan now but it’s unknown whether it will receive an “official” Western release or if operators will have to rely on imports.
The GTI Asia China Expo 2011 Mega Post – August – There are several expos that happen throughout the year that involve arcades on some level but none generated the amount of traffic as the GTI Asia China expo this past August. We had a look at quite a few games which are mostly destined for sale in regions of Asia although a few managed to slip out to the West, such as Power Truck and Storm Racer.
Billy Mitchell opens the King of Kong Arcade – February – This post was responsible for one of our busiest days ever (although it still failed to top the record set by the Sega Rally 3 Hands-On Impressions post). News that Billy Mitchell opening an arcade at the Orlando international airport traveled quickly and I saw him checking out some Pac-Man Battle Royale as a possible addition to that arcade at IAAPA last month.
TRON Pinball machine + playfield – April – Even bigger news than Billy Mitchell’s arcade or Super Street Fighter OV Arcade Edition, at least here on Arcade Heroes was the first look at the playfield for Stern’s TRON Legacy pinball machine. At the moment, the Limited Edition version of that game is leading in the pinball category of our GOTY 2011 post.
Pinball Wizard Arcade Opening in Pelham, NH – January – The most read post of this year was about a huge new arcade opening it’s doors about a year ago now, the Pinball Wizard Arcade in New Hampshire. Overall the posts we ran about new venues opening up did pretty well but nothing caught your attention more than PWA.
Honorable Mentions -Posts that didn’t crack the top 10 but were close, or weren’t created this year and still generated a large number of hits or I just liked researching/writing them. Click to continue reading
*Getting to know Dirty Drivin’ and Specular Interactive – This definitely falls under the category of “I really enjoyed this” – making a visit to Southern California to meet up with the team behind H2Overdrive and the new Dirty Drivin’. It was the first time I had a chance to visit a game developer of any kind and get a feel for the process they go through to get a product to market as well as meet the people behind the product which too often we don’t get to do. Steve and his team were very courteous to me and patient with my many questions, I’m quite grateful for the opportunity I had on this one.
* Unboxing and Location Testing New Arcade Games – As some of you know, I operate an arcade in Utah and it’s been a really interesting year as far as that goes. I added quite few games to the line-up that were new – Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Pac-Man Battle Royale, Friction, and I’ve been hosting a location test of Dariusburst Another Chronicle since September. Out of all those games, SSFIVAE caused the greatest movement – for the brief time it was arcade exclusive and working it earned like nothing else I had seen in my time with arcades. It was about 88 days after I got the thing that it suddenly died and I had to send it back to Japan where I was without it for 4 months. It was an aggravating experience but one that had a bright ending when I got some help from AndyGeezer services. The post I took some pictures of the kit when I finally received it was actually the 11th top post of the year. I certainly hope to have more unboxing posts in the near future, but that will be a wait-and-see sort of thing – at the moment we’re in limbo as we are trying to secure a new location for the arcade after being served a lease termination notice after news came down that a ritzy new movie theater is moving into the mall and it will directly affect our area. Hopefully I get that settled this week and then begin the ever fun process of moving my business, although at least this time we will be getting a larger space to fit more stuff into.
*Expos Galore – I always enjoy visiting Expos such as Amusement Expo or IAAPA every year. IAAPA was quite something this year as BMI Gaming paid for my expenses and I was there for a little over a week (thanks again BMI 🙂 ). I got to see much more of Florida than I thought I would due to that but likewise the show was good and I like meeting up with representatives of various companies that I have come to know over the past few years. The next expo we will be getting coverage of is EAG next month in London, followed by AOU in February and Amusement Expo in March. I’ll only be able to make it to Amusement Expo this year but in the mean time, links to the expos from this year:
* Missing In Action: Space Games – I didn’t write this article this year – in fact it was written in 2008 but when compared to the top 10 posts this year, and how it has done throughout 2011, it would actually land in 4th place of the top 10 this year. So far for today’s top 10 posts, it’s 7th place. I did write some other MIA articles of game types I would like to see in arcades again aside from this one but for whatever reason this has attracted much more attention than any of the others. Speaking of articles written in previous years that would have landed a top spot among these top 10 posts had they come out this year include: The post about Round 1 in SoCal(which also happens to be one of the most viewed this year);Galaxy World, Sydney; Starting an Arcade of Your Own, the Haunted Ms. Pac-Man Machine, the Joust Halloween costume and Flynn’s Arcade As it Is Now.
*Wizard of Oz Pinball – While no singular post landed in the Top 10, we’ve seen widespread interest in Jersey Jack Pinball’s upcoming Wizard of Oz pinball machine. I expect we’ll be having an official release announcement for it sometime within the next two months and when that happens, that’s when the shaking and moving in the pinball industry is really going to happen.
So what’s in store for 2012?
I’m not saying I have oracular vision on what’s going to happen next year but we’re headed in a good direction and I imagine it will stay that way. Whether one game will come along and blow everyone’s socks off, that always remains to be seen but as we have seen so often in the past, all it takes is one new idea to change the direction things are headed in.
There is still a push for stereoscopic 3D games but I think most games will stick to the standard screen style. That being said, we already know of one game that will have 3D as a major component coming in 2012, Namco’s Dark Escape 3D. Sega could always use their autostereoscopic 3D monitor on something else like Operation GHOST or another game. I wouldn’t mind seeing a push for ultra-high resolution monitors that go beyond 1080p (that is going to be an advantage arcades can hold over consoles for sometime) but that’s also probably a few years away.
We do know a little bit about what is coming in 2012 already – ReRave launches next month adding a new player to the rhythm game scene. The aforementioned Wizard of Oz pinball is coming and I think that will change the direction for pinball for a long time to come. True, there are hardcore players that will shun the new technology but there are many more new players out there to capture that prefer the improved tech. Square Enix is beefing up their arcade operations and while that will primarily affect Japan, we could see some spill over on that end. Beyond that, there isn’t much else to say until new announcements are made.
Of course I will not be surprised if we see several driving games come along and a few light-gun titles with one in particular standing out. What that will be, who knows but one thing I find enticing about this industry is the allure of innovative ideas coming to fruition. There is still so much that can be done to attract player’s attention and business in a video arcade, something I can attest to from watching my day-to-day operations at my own place. How things will change for me on that end is an unknown for me due to the move but we are aiming for a high foot traffic area with a larger space so that will be a plus. And of course, Arcade Heroes is going to be changing next year but it’s for the better and I’m quite excited to unveil everything that will entail but all in good time.
So let me sign off this long-winded post with a thank you to you the reader and here’s to a great 2012!