Good beginning of the week everyone. I have several news items that have accumulated in my inbox here that I meant to tackle over the weekend but I ended up getting sidetracked by being rather busy at the arcade so this all has been pushed back to now. I had meant to publish this in the morning but again, got sidetracked by a very busy day.
I am going to use the tab feature to separate the stories, just click on the tab below to open up the story you are most interested in. Tabs 2-4 are links shared with us by The Stinger Report, covering newsfeeds 1315-1317.
First off something that probably would have fit early last week, a unique new arcade game has been released to the market, one that was covered in the AH Amusement Expo posts, Toccata Gaming International’s Rock N’ Roll Verti-GO. As a refresher, it’s Taito’s Ice Cold Beer gone virtual, with a rock theme instead of a bar one. One of the more appealing aspects of the game for operators will be the price, they were suggesting somewhere in the $3200-$3300 range with ticket dispenser and thermal printer options costing extra. That’s a refreshing change from simple games costing $8000+ and is more in line with where these kinds of games should be. Here’s a video I recorded of the game from AE2013.
Speaking of expos, there is one being held in Taiwan later this week where I’m sure a number of new and interesting games can be found so stay tuned.
Fighting backgrounds are always an important feature for any arcade fighting game to give it some character. If you want to just admire those backgrounds in all of their animated glory, then Reddit user RudeBootie put together this collection of 125 of them for you to enjoy here or in the embedded gallery below. The list is naturally populated with a lot of the SNK games (King of Fighters and such) since they were quite prolific among the 2D fighting games of the 90s. Source via The Verge.
I’m sure this wouldn’t be news to hardcore Bemani fans but The Stinger sent us this link to a video shared through OhGizmo about a super fast footed DDR player. If anything this is another good example of how the open venues of arcades provide a good way for people to witness such feats (yes I mean that in two ways, haha!)
BONUS: Bacon shared this video link in the comments
Last is a story the Stinger shared about how tech innovation can drive an arcade resurgence. The original article is over at Gamesindustry.biz is entitled “Could tech innovation drive an arcade revival?” and was penned by Rob Fahey. The basic premise is that new technologies, in particular something like the Oculus Rift VR device which we have covered before, may be better suited for use in an arcade facility than at home in certain game settings. The article isn’t without some fallacies, which Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report calls him out on in the comments but at the very least people are starting to think of the out-of-home entertainment possibilities that exist with some technologies.
Cutting edge tech has been a watermark of arcades since they got started so this shouldn’t be a big surprise. It’s just that in misunderstood post-2000 shrinkage we’ve seen more games just play it safe as opposed to going full-on innovative. That isn’t the case for everything released between 2000-10 (Turret Tower in 2004 was a unique, arcade-only kind of setup) but the pace did tick down a few notches. It would be great to see the Oculus Rift device getting some use in arcade simulators and such, as well as another multi directional treadmill that has been getting some press lately. But those aren’t the only places to look for tech innovation.
Take for example the transparent LCDs that have been showing up in arcades already such as Adrenaline Amusements Black Out. That could be used for more than just prize machines although we have not seen anything yet to try something different.
It’s not well-known but there have been monitor manufacturers who have tried to sell 21:9 monitor screens. They have not sold very well, despite the popularity of using two or three screens for office/multitask work. Game design can change to specifically accommodate such hardware and in the arcade industry, what better way to get that sort of thing done? Aside from horizontal shooters, other arcade games that would benefit from seamless widescreen space like this include brawlers/beat ’em ups, fighters and even more unique vertical oriented games. (Pictured: The Dell UltraSharp U2913WM)
We also have 4k resolutions (higher than 1080p, usually 1600p and even higher) although with use just getting started in arcades for FullHD resolutions that might be tough to swallow. The games have to be designed specifically for these with higher texture resolutions, which drives up costs. Up-conversion can be done but its not reaching the full potential in those instances.
That doesn’t get into possible advances in sound or controls, the multi-directional treadmill is one idea in that regard. We’ve seen another recently with the MocapPods which combine VR and precise motion tracking. I also just recalled a story shared with us on Facebook by Kieran May about the Microsoft IllumiRoom, another item which will probably work even better in an out-of-home setup.
There is more which we could get into but if I do more research this will require me to push it back to Tuesday.