With today being the first day of the IAAPA 2012 trade show for for me, I had plenty of products to decide to look at and of course, not enough time to try it all. Fortunately I will have tomorrow to hopefully get my hands on everything that I will need to. Here are my own pictures of the event and as internet access allows, I will get some videos up as well but I might not get to that as quickly as I would like.
Wizard of Oz Pinball (Jersey Jack Pinball) – One of my top items to see at IAAPA was this new game which we have been talking about for quite a while now. Seeing it in person was a real treat as pictures or video don’t do it complete justice. Everything about it looks nice really and the display makes it look like a modern, cutting edge game, despite using an older license. I know that some are put off by the lack of the backbox being nothing but art but look at it this way – old, classic pins had all sorts of information built into the backbox, from the mechanical scores to the different backlit items, back when we had that sort of dynamic lighting in pins. This seems to be the natural evolution os such an idea and again as I have said before, put this next to a machine that is using the 20~ years old DMD tech and its a no brainer as to which is more attractive. The game itself is fun, even with incomplete software at this show, it has headphone jacks and I heard them mentioning the possibilities of online connectivity. The internals looked great and less complex than your typical “half-miles worth of wire!” build that is a nightmare to sort through when you are an operator trying to fix a game.
Next is a company called Toccata Gaming International. They have copyright dates of 2009 on their fliers but this is the first time I have seen them. They had a couple of unique games to find – Pong 180 and Balance Ball. The first one is a professional, high quality coin-operated beer pong game that will rotate the tray with the attached cups around to reload the balls. It’s an interesting and unique idea that is perfect for barcades. The second game is a balancing video game where it is a little like Super Monkey Ball without all of the cute graphics and characters and you have a platform you actually balance around on. The graphics aren’t anything to get super excited about but at least it’s something interesting.
Here is Blackout by Adrenaline Amusements. I mentioned previously that this technology is sci-fi in nature and just that alone is appealing. The game is a simple swipe game where you try and paint a dark sun with these alien characters by throwing them at it and covering the sphere. Some tweaking could be used on the swipe reading but I managed to get some nice coverage without too much trouble.
Friction has a new dedicated cabinet for the US market. The previous dedicated cabinets were done by a Chinese company but this brings it back to the States (like the original kits). The LCD tracking is spot-on, the marquee is new and very bright (could perhaps go behind some sort of translucent cover to spread out the light) and the game has new pistols too.
Right next to that was the new Rerave “Rosey” cabinet that was getting a lot of play.
Sega had a large booth with plenty of games to find, so much so that I was unable to get to all of them yesterday in the runaround. The new cabinet for KO Drive was there but I missed that so I will get to it today. Sega also has a 42″ version of GRID there which is an impressive cabinet as one expects to find with the game. I did get a little hands on time with the new Dream Raiders which is fun, although more casual than I am used to with most shooting games. The game does look better in person than pictures show although it is a shame that it does not use more powerful graphics hardware to reach its full potential. One other surprise to find was that Sega has developed a line of high-tech devices meant as prizes in their vending machines like KeyMaster but not under the Sega (or Orbi) brands, but a line called Tokio. It includes cellphones, tablets and netbooks, all powered by Android and they don’t cost a ton either.
Pirates of Monster Island is a videmption game that uses a neat cannon gun controller but also reuses some assets from Dream Raiders. The concept is different – shoot these nets of crates to cause water levels to rise.
“Kid vending” type machines were to be found, Sega had their Hero of Robots and Namco had Animal Kaiser. I will get a picture of AK today but here is Hero of Robots, again these games are smaller cabinets designed for kids to play as they collect and use the cards these cabinets vend.
Here is the new motion cabinets by InJoy Motion. The video games running on them aren’t new but the hardware has been completely redesigned to use durable air bags. I might have mentioned this already but I have lost track a little between the site and social media. It brings the price of these motion games down to the same price as a standard racer, which is not an insignificant thing.
Pac-Man Smash was there with two tables, this game is a lot of fun and as I have mentioned before, hectic. It draws a crowd easily and I think it would do so even if it didn’t have te Pac-Man license thanks to the unique multi-puck feature. It also has “8-bit” sound effects which is a good touch.
Temple Run was there and prior to the show I downloaded the game to my Kindle Fire just to compare and there are some difference, aside from the obvious in the larger screen and the trackball control. You can pick from different characters to run (perhaps that exists on the mobile version I just didn’t notice it) but there are also red coins to collect. They also added in special prizes/power-ups to collect, some for tickets but a few others that I did not see in the mobile game. I actually prefer the trackball controller to the swipe touchscreen controls.
Sea Wolf 55 is the third installment of the rebooted Sea Wolf series by Coastal Amusements and this one has a huge cabinet with plenty of lighting to grab your attention. The controls are slightly different – the left button will fire your machine gun and the right your torpedoes. Use the machine gun to take out diving attack planes. Aside from that I didn’t notice any other major differences but I only saw two levels to judge that on.
XPutt Nano had been announced prior to the show but Barron Games had a slight variation there called XPutt Payout. THey did mention that it would be rebranded and work more for videmption type play as opposed to cash payout to avoid sticky problems in that regard. I gave it a whirl and realized that I suck at golf, whether it is full-blown real golf or putting. Still, it was fun as the holes light up and you have to try and get the ball into that particular hole for the bonus.
SnoCross by Raw Thrills was there of course with 4 linked units to play. I did not get a chance to play it yesterday but it looks like fun and the wind effects are an “icing on the cake” kind of touch that was unexpected to find. I do like the trend of wind effects from games like this and Dream Raiders, since it is something easy to add and so far I have liked the effects.
Speed Driver 4 is the latest in the Speed Driver series, brought over by Wahlap but designed by IGS. It is more of a technical driver than other games found at the show, kind of like Wangan or Initial D but I can’t compare with those myself without playing those previous two. Still, I like the level of technical work from games like this and the graphics are excellent, probably the best of the other drivers at the show aside from GRID.
After Dark was a surprise – yes it is a lot like Deadstorm Pirates, there is no mistaking that but the amusing thing is that it borrows its story from Van Helsing, so much so that I could call this Van Helsing the video game. Despite the borring side of it, the graphics are excellent and the game flows a lot like other buddy shooters so that it is surprisingly, not bad at all. In fact I didn’t get a chance to play it as all five machines they had were loaded up when I dropped by. The deluxe version is the same game but with a bigger screen and a motion seat.
There is much more, I sadly did not get a chance to play what I wanted to yesterday but that will change today. Dark Escape 4D is at the top of my list among those. Stay tuned for more along those lines and videos!