It’s been the subject of many posts here on Arcade Heroes and today the IAAPA 2014 trade officially kicked off with the tradeshow floor portion opening the doors for attendees to check out. I arrived later in the day so I was only able to rush through everything over a couple of hours. Fortunately that was enough time to get a little hands on time with some new games by the following companies:
Adrenaline Amusements – I have never played Candy Crush Saga but I have received plenty of invites on social media to do so. Adrenaline has taken the phenomenon and given it the arcade treatment. They had two cabinets available – a unique one with a huge back cabinet and a touchscreen and a re-use of the Black Out cabinet (with the transparent screen) to make the game a prize merchandiser.
Andamiro – As promised the new Pump It Up PRIME 2015 was there. I caught a couple of people playing it but it was near the close of the show so it wasn’t a huge crowd. I nabbed some footage too but I don’t have the time to edit at the moment.
Bandai Namco Amusements – Following up on the NYC Comic Con press event, the Star Wars Battle Pod has made its first official appearance to the industry. It has a complete software package to offer which includes the specially made Vader’s Revenge level, where the player gets to pilot as Darth Vader attacking a Rebel Alliance armada.I gave that particular mission a shot and was soon faced with a ‘Mission Failed’ as it is set to the Extreme difficulty. The mission takes place in the aftermath of the destruction of the first Death Star where you pilot as Darth Vader looking to salvage the Super Laser from the wreckage. Naturally there are various Rebels still about to make your job tougher.
If you are familiar with Bandai Namco’s Mach Storm, the way the game plays is very similar – on-rails piloting with a bit of leeway for aiming. Enemy targets will move around in a way that makes it feel less like an on-rails game than you might expect. You can still take damage by not taking out enemies fast enough (this is also where it rewards you extra points for “Quick Kills” and such). The joystick/throttle combo works out fine like in Mach Storm, it is easy to pick up and play. Graphically where this runs on Unreal Engine 4, it looks fantastic on the large dome screen. I believe they changed something about the projector as it feels slightly different than Mach Storm – my eyes didn’t have to adjust to it. If you have not played on the dome screen before then it does take a little getting used to in that it is manipulating your brain in a way that feels like stereoscopic 3D but you are under the realization the entire time that you don’t have glasses on. It is a little hard to describe as it also doesn’t feel quite like an autostereoscopic screen like the Nintendo 3DS or Sega’s Let’s Go Island 3D. In Mach Storm it felt like you were strapped to the front of your fighter jet but here there is the benefit of the game rendering the X-Wing/Snowspeeder/Millineum Falcon cockpit in front of you and the screen doesn’t feel so close.
The game features five levels that pack in a lot of action which feels faster paced than Mach Storm. Star Wars fans will really enjoy playing through these scenarios. I don’t think you have to be a Star Wars fan to appreciate it though. Overall the game is quite fun from the few minutes I got to play it, I would like to give it more time. It will certainly make some waves when it is released for arcades in
JanuaryMarch 2015(the date has been pushed back).
Namco also has another dome screen game they are promoting called Lost Land Adventure, which we have featured on Arcade Heroes previously when it was released in Japan earlier this year and shown off in the US at the AAMA Gala back in August. The dome screen on this one is larger than Mach Storm/Star Wars Battle Pod so it can accommodation two players and their light-guns. Your focus is not so straightforward in procuring targets around the screen, the visual effect I just described is there. The game feels much like Deadstorm Pirates but with a little more Indiana Jones to the characters than Pirates of the Caribbean. The treasure collecting feature is a nice replay magnet and this does have a PIN pad to help you track progress on a particular machine.
Namco also had some games we’ve seen previously such as Deadstorm Pirates: Special Edition, Mario Kart Arcade GP DX (4 units) and Super Alpine Racer (4 units), all of which were released earlier this year.
Raw Thrills – Raw Thrills has finally unveiled Jurassic Park Arcade. I have heard rumors that this was on test since last year, possibly longer but as I found out, Raw Thrills has had this in development for 3 years as they develop their own motion base system. There will be three different cabinet configurations available but at IAAPA 2014 they have brought along two – the deluxe theater style cabinet and a motion deluxe cabinet. This is a significant step for Raw Thrills in that they have yet to develop such cabinets for their light-gun games previously.
The game is a mounted light-gun shooter title which is based upon the first Jurassic Park film which was released in the 90s. I did not catch the story but from what I gather, you seem to be an armed-to-teeth extraction team fighting for survival in the park. In one way it felt like a cross between Terminator Salvation, Aliens Armageddon and Deadstorm Pirates with dinosaurs. Each of those games have elements which work and from what I played, they did work as this blend. There were a few frame rate drops I caught but it is not the final software (not even the cabinets are final) so I imagine there is still room to adjust that. I did not get a chance to play the motion version yet so I will have to do that tomorrow and share an opinion.
It appeared that the Big Buck HD cabinets that were on site did not have the updated software that was featured at the recent Big Buck World Championships but I was told that they plan on releasing DLC for adding 5 animals to the game; there will be a zombie mode of some kind but I have not had any luck yet on finding out what it is.
Sega Amusements – Featuring a large booth space, Sega Amusements had a strong focus on their redemption/videmption line-up that they are presently offering to the amusement industry.
The showcase title for them is the recently announced Showdown. This would be considered a follow-up to their successful arcade port of GRID from a few years ago, Sega and Codemasters have teamed up again to covert the console version of DiRT: Showdown for the arcade. As seen on AH previously, Sega is pulling out all of the stops on the hardware to elevate the port and the cabinet really is a spectacle that the pictures don’t fully convey. The curved screen is not using one of those curved LCDs but a specially curved projection screen. It curves a bit more than the early CG pictures convey. It produces a panoramic effect that works out much better than triple screen cabinets of the past (TX-1, Ferrari F355 Challenge, Sega Strike Fighter, etc.) which would have bars in the way. It also does not have the same effect I described above for Star Wars Battle Pod since the screen isn’t a complete cover from head to tow. The tachometers are pretty cool as they look realistic although the dials didn’t move on the cabinet I was on. What did move though is the seat. This is a swivel seat that reacted very nicely to swerving the car when turning or getting hit on the side. I was also told that they recorded and implemented feedback that mimics the “feel” of driving on an asphalt road.
One important thing to note is that this is more than just a deluxe cabinet – Sega is positioning this to be like the OutRun 2 Special (the huge Outrun 2 units for 8 players with the near full size cars to sit in) as this will be sold as a complete package – 4 cabinets with the TV displays overhead.
Sega will offer the game in a standard configuration that uses a redesign of the GRID 42″ cabinets as an option, seen here above. I did not get a chance to play on that cabinet yet. There are four game modes and I was unable to experience every single one at the time of writing but I was able to get a little time on three of them. I only didn’t get a chance to play King of the Hill. What I did play was fun and I would like to go back to it. Showdown is aiming for a full production release in Early 2015.
For video-only, they have Transformers: Human Alliance, which was released last year at IAAPA 2013 however they now have a huge Super Deluxe version:
They also had a quad setup of Wahlap’s Storm Racer G, a pair of Wahlap’s Storm Riders, a deluxe big screen version of Plants Vs. Zombies: The Last Stand and some other redemption content.
Unit-E – This independent developer first demonstrated their rhythm arcade game NEON FM at Amusement Expo 2014 in Las Vegas earlier this year and the build they brought to IAAPA 2014 features both hardware and software upgrades. For the hardware side, they have updated the pads to reflect a streamlined production process which is more reliable than before. They also changed the marquee. The software includes song updates that they have had for a while but also the multiplayer option which allowed venues to connect two units and up (there isn’t really a limitation on that thanks to the way they have it set up )or more units together for some fun competitive play. I was also shown a really cool feature that uses your mobile phone to login and manipulate certain game settings to your liking. Scan a QR code using any QR scanner app and it will log you in – you can then change the color layout of the buttons in real-time, set the difficulty and more. It was pretty cool the way they integrated it and it appeared to work perfectly. This also leaves the door open to updates in the future such as custom step charts.