Pictures are nice and all but we know that everyone wants videos. I apologize in advance for the videos as they have no commentary and the sound quality isn’t perfect as my good camera died a couple of weeks ago and for some reason a day before I went to the show I caught something that killed my voice so I couldn’t talk very much and to top it off my phone fell right on the screen onto a rock floor right before I headed off to IAAPA and cracked but it still works at least. Either way I hope you enjoy what there is for now, with more to come soon.
Just a little note: I was not able to get footage of Namco’s Dark Escape 4D unfortunately. I only got to play it for a few minutes as it was so popular they had time restraints on everyone and every time I happened to drop by, there was a line and I wanted to get some time with it without filming. It is a very solid game, I liked the action even though my time was cut short and the 3D was very good too, mixed in with the other effects like wind and rumble. I really hope that a “standard” version of this can be developed so that more places than Dave & Busters can manage to get one but it will be worth a spin if you come across it in the wild.
Wizard of Oz Pinball – This has been mentioned plenty already but at least no I can talk about it from the perspective of actually having played it. I really enjoyed it, despite the software not being 100% complete. It seems that the playfield is although I have to admit that I didn’t hit every shot to see what happens. I did manage a multiball at least once. The multi-color light show is great, the crystal ball was a nice touch and the screen looks excellent. I’m not sure what resolution they are running it at exactly but it is very much high-def and is good enough to look like backglass quality artwork. I also am excited about the tech side of it, since they have obviously taken pains to build something easy to work on which is what I want to hear and see as an operator. I look forward to seeing the final version
Pac-Man Smash is no stranger to this blog but if you have missed it in the past, it was launched first in Japan under the name Big Bang Smash and when brought over here Namco gave it a Pac-Man theme and sound effects. The resulting game is as you see below. The timer on the game was short but that was for show purposes to give everyone a chance to play. Also I noticed that on occasion the smaller pucks can fly off despite the protection nets but the game otherwise tries to be self-contained as the pucks do not require the player to reload them, it being an automatic process. Best played with four people.
Black Out is not strictly a video game, being a videmptioniser if you will(not their term, but mine), aka a video-game based prize merchandising machine. But it employed the coolest use of technology I saw at the show. I haven’t been able to come up with any other word that “sci-fi” for it because this is not a technology one comes across on a daily basis (yet). The game itself is unique, designed by Adrenaline just for this game (as opposed to being a port of a mobile game) but is controlled like many of their other games, by simple swipes. You swipe in the direction you want to throw these paint monsters to cover up the sun. Hit 95% or 100% coverage and you win a prize, although I am sure that is adjustable by the operator.
Here is one we have been waiting a while to see in action – Sega’s KO Drive. We had been wondering what happened with this as the first and last time we had seen it was from the DEAL 2012 show back in May. The game has a different cabinet now then it had at the time, it being similar to the brand new GRID 42″ cabinet that Sega also had at the show. It is not a complete game so that is worth keeping in mind although it was fully playable – the graphics were good for an incomplete game and I found the combat concept interesting. It works kind of like a kart racer in that you pick up power-ups by driving over a certain pillar in a row of power-ups that you come across occasionally.There are four types of power-ups, each assigned to a color that will affect a weapon type your car has. Ever car has different kinds but you level up the weapon by driving over the same colors. So if on one row you drive over Yellow to get your first level of a Near weapon, drive over yellow again to power-up that effect more and so on. The driving physics could use some work, the graphics further tweaking and this is also the kind of game that could benefit from play accounts so you can save your leveling progress. We will see where they take it once a final version makes its way around. The 42″ screen was a good touch though.
Here is another game we have discussed previously, Dream Raiders by Sega. It is a casual shooting game that if you are a fan of those two player sitdown motion rides it will appeal to you. The game itself doesn’t get very deep – shoot everything that shows up, particularly the circular targets that pop-up on occasion and take out the boss after a short spin around the world. If you are not expecting a deep experience then I think it will work for you and I did find it fun when the game starting throwing a lot of explosive stuff at you. The motion is good and the wind effects nice but one can’t help but wonder why the decision was ultimately made to go with these dated graphics. Granted, it does look better in motion than in still but there are occasions where it looks like footage from those non-gameplay CG FMV sequences from games in the early 00s, maybe a little sharper than that. That might not matter to the end target audience however as again, if you can enjoy non-interactive motion rides (which make money like a box of Twinkies on eBay right now) then this is a step-up from that. The guns are pretty neat and I really like the design on those and the marquees on top and in the back seat are really cool with the multi-color light show they go through, in fact I don’t recall seeing a marquee itself working quite like this, it’s close to the old-school pinball style since it is dynamic as opposed to just static back-lighting.
When I first heard of Temple Run coming to arcades, I had to admit that I was living in a bubble to some degree as I had never heard of this game which had already garnered millions of free downloads to smartphones and tablets. So I downloaded it to my Kindle Fire to see what the deal was, which was a mildly entertaining game that has some classic heart to it in the overall concept not being too complicated to pick up on. Here is the arcade version, which is like having the tablet version with all of the goodies unlocked, a larger screen and a trackball for control. Comparing the two, I prefer the trackball actually but it is too bad that some greater improvements have not been made to the graphics (if character models could not be upgraded then at least the texture resolutions or lighting effects amiright?). The game will be available as video-amusement only in addition to ticket payout and I could see people having fun with it as amusement only, even if the concept isn’t as deep as a very similar game, say Agent Dash. In this regard, I am happy to see something different that doesn’t need to be a light-gun or racing game to get some attention.
We have posted videos of Raw Thrills’ newest racing game Winter X Games Snocross already but it can’t hurt to have some footage of just the machine. I probably don’t need to get into the QR code thing again (but if you are interested in seeing the leaderboards, go here) but there is one feature that was a surprise that is in none of the literature for the game I had seen – a wind blower in the center dashboard. Chalk up that to effects you don’t get from home video games. The game is fun to play and it follows the familiar formula used in Super Bikes 2 and Super Cars although I wish it did not follow the graphics, which are well behind games like Dirty Drivin’, Speed Driver 4 and GRID (or even Super Speed, a newer Chinese game I’ll get into a later post). That being said, at the very least the game is colorful and the frame rate was consistently solid.
For our last game of the post, but not the least is one I covered a few days back by UNIS called After Dark. This game surprises and baffles me to a degree. It is Deadstorm Pirates meets Van Helsing. And when I say Van Helsing, I really mean it as that is as blunt as railroad tie. I’m baffled because this game obviously had a good budget behind it – the flow of the game is good, enemies varied, it is fun and it has the token bad voice acting one expects to find in these kinds of games. The game cabinets look pretty good too. So I am baffled as to why the need to borrow so heavily on the characters and certain game appearances. It seems like it could be done without being so totally obvious and yet keep the feel of the game similar to the “buddy shooter” style it is aiming for. So despite these issues, I like the game.