Spring is a time for plenty of new things, amusement trade shows included. The Chinese arcade market is moving along quite well and they have several trade shows a year, one of which is the GAGA show (nothing to do with the singer). It can be difficult to obtain some precise information about the games at the show but there is some news to discuss. It may not be completely apparent to us out West but the arcade industry in China has been on fire for some time now. It’s an important enough market that the major names we are familiar with have all established some official presence there, which is also good for stomping out clones. In fact from the information gathered of this trade show so far, finding total rip-offs (like the Plants Vs. Zombies game) has diminished significantly. Graphically a lot of games are improving as well as you will see in the videos.
The important bits have been compiled into tabs for your convenience. The first is Wahlap, a major company there that unveiled three new games. They have been selling some games of theirs out West and they may very well bring these new ones over too. Next is some videos of Japanese and American companies making a presence at the show; the 3rd tab compiling the remaining videos that may or may not be easily identifiable.
Some time has passed since we last heard something new coming from Chinese manufacturer Wahlap but since they made their US debut in 2011 I have been keeping an eye on them every now and then. In that time most of what they showed off seemed to be too regionalized for China but that looks to have changed with GAGA2013.
So far the games that Wahlap has showed off for Western buyers has been direct competition to the types of games we tend to see here these days – racing games especially. At both IAAPA2011 and 2012, they brought along some IGS developed games such as Power Truck and Speed Driver, and they also showed off their Ridge Racer type game called Storm Racer. Storm Racer was one game to stand out among other Chinese games we’ve seen and in fact Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report suggested at the time that the game could potentially be the Space Invaders of the Chinese arcade industry, opening doors for them much in the same way SI did for Japanese companies back in the 70s and 80s. It still remains to be seen if that will be the case – it is more difficult for that to occur in part because when SI came along there wasn’t anything like it in the market at large but Storm Racer is one of many racing games to choose from today.
It’s unknown how well SR has sold overseas but either way the game did well enough that Wahlap has a follow-up to it now called Storm Racer G. The cabinet uses a blue color scheme instead of red and it allows for 8 linked units. Not much else is known about this aside from it having 10 race tracks to choose from. So far there do not appear to be any videos from the event showing the game being played.
Just like Namco basing Dead Heat Riders off a car racer of theirs, Wahlap has also decided to make a motorbike version of Storm Racer that they are calling Storm Racer MT. The cabinet is like IGS’ Power Truck and Raw Thrills’ Super Bikes 2 had some perky offspring. Fortunately, we have more than just photos for this one and Wahlap is suggesting that it is “the most anticipated game of the year”.
Then there is something that is called either Iron or Steel Mission. While fairly generic sounding, apparently this game has something to do with helicopters, a vehicle that hasn’t got some real love in arcades for quite some time now. At the same time, the cabinet looks like it has more to do with a tank than a helicopter so it’s hard to say for sure at the moment. Notice that the attract mode in the pic shows English text flashing across the screen so it could be they intend to bring this out West but we will have to wait and see. The description I got out of this was roughly: “The Heli force driving action adventure game “Iron mission” perfectly combines the characteristics of the simulated driving and shooting games“. Which has a hint of Deadstorm Pirates about it but perhaps in a modern setting of blowing stuff up in a helicopter (ot tank) instead. It can handle 4 players via two linked cabinets and is still in development.
There is a good chance that if Wahlap makes an appearance at IAAPA2013 this November that any or all of these games will be there and available in English.
China has some desire for equipment from developers outside their borders albeit in limited quantities. I did find these videos of Sega’s Initial D7, Namco’s Maximum Tune 4 and Raw Thrills’ Winter X Games Snocross however. Now you know why there is a China racetrack in that game…
And among the many strange dance routines that are held for games at these events, this one by Konami got the crowd involved at least for DanceEvolution Arcade.
Here is where the Chinese trade shows get difficult – even when you find a video of a game in action, it can be a challenge to pin down who made the game and if they intend on a wider release for it or not. From some of these examples you will see however, they are certainly improving their graphics over where many Chinese companies were just a few years ago. On occasion they still borrow ideas although the number of blatant rip-off clones (that bootleg a game but give is some unique cabinet) are starting to diminish.
Here’s a fighting game that is unlike any others I’ve seen on the arcade scene for a time. It’s hard to tell if it’s trying to be an arena fighting game (like Super Smash Bros.) or if it’s just a brawler and this is a video of something like a boss battle. It does seem to have a co-op element to it but the cameraman never pulls out to show if there are three people at the control panel or just two. It’s something unique at the very least.
Crazy Motor – What I’ve come to learn about Chinese arcade games so far is that they love racing games as much as anyone else and it will often use ‘Crazy’, ‘Speed’ or ‘Storm’ somewhere in the title. Here’s a motorcycle racer that graphically looks quite good by Arcas called Crazy Motor. I have seen Arcas before when they had Crazy Speed brought over to the West by UNIS. The game loves ramps and explosions, almost like they were driving through a season of the A-Team. It also has a card save system, online play and a leveling up system in place. Official website for the game is here.
Fast Beat Battle Rider – I know who made this one at least, Saint Fun from Taiwan as we have mentioned this game before. Judging by the number of motorcycle games I’m seeing in news about this show, all these motorcycle games have their work cut out for them.
Mysterious Island – it’s AVATAR meets Deadstorm Pirates meets Jurassic Park meets Let’s Go Island. Looks purty although promo trailers can be deceiving in that regard. No idea who made it.
Remember Mozarc? Pshaw, who doesn’t, right? Well in case you happened to forget, here’s a link. Then this video below will feel familiar. Maybe the same company could be behind this but it’s impossible to say with such limited info.
Temple Run meets Thomas The Tank Engine? Unsure who made this but someone did have some Temple Run Arcade’s at the show (in English, probably imported the units by Coastal Amusements) so this could be a cuter version to compete with that.