It is Vegas week, thanks to the start of Amusement Expo 2015 in Las Vegas, NV starting Wednesday. Since I started my arcade in 2008 I have attended this event annually, with one exception. It is a much smaller event than IAAPA but there is usually at least one new product we weren’t expecting to find there. It also seems to be the place to experience games that are never released (or get a very small run). Last year was BattleShip by BayTek, prior to that was Sega’s K.O. Drive and Raw Thrills’ CARS.
There is some news already as to what will be at the show so in case you are headed there yourself and you want to be surprised, then stop reading this spoilery post!
Companies I will be taking a look at
Adrenaline Amusements – I haven’t heard any announcements from them but they will have a booth. The focus will likely be the same as IAAPA with Candy Crush Saga and Flying Tickets. Being quiet like this could mean they have a surprise in store.
Andamiro USA – They announced that they would have 3 new redemption pieces at the show, including something that is related to Winner’s Cube but with a different name. Otherwise, expect Pump It Up PRIME 2015.
Bandai Namco – They will have the new Time Crisis 5 and Star Wars Battle Pod, along with some of their newer redemption pieces. Namco has surprised us before at Amusement Expo although my guess is that Time Crisis is where the primary focus is going to be. At least I will be able to get some HD footage of it this time and hopefully I will be able to play more Star Wars.
Barron Games / InJoy Motion – Barron will be introducing a new kiddie ride and InJoy will have the v3 software for their Allied Tank Attack, which I currently have been checking out. It adds a skippable tutorial and a few other game tweaks.
BayTek Games – I usually don’t cover BayTek since they dabble more with redemption stuff but they have been pushing the videmption envelope a bit lately. I think that this game pictured below is a revision of the Piano Tiles game we saw at IAAPA, now with a much nicer cabinet and supporting two players.
Benchmark Games – Always focused on redemption, they did have Mini Motor Racing Arcade at IAAPA so perhaps it will make a return or some other videmption piece will.
Betson/Raw Thrills – They will be showcasing the Big Buck HD Wild update which I probably won’t spend any time on since I have been playing it already and Jurassic Park Arcade is a given. The operator I work with ordered one a few months ago but it still hasn’t shipped yet – probably D&B is getting them first, everyone else later. It is good to be D&B these days.
There is a chance that the new motorcycle racing game that they have been working on will be there. The only thing I know about it is that in addition to being motorbike, “everything is licensed” which means the bikes, tracks, racers and so on. It could be MotoCross but I haven’t heard a thing about it for months to be able to provide further clues.
Coastal Amusements – With a strong push on videmption content for several years, they could have another endless runner arcade conversion on hand but I hope that their next piece is something other than that already tired genre.
ICE – As mentioned on the last newsbag, ICE is testing out Pink Panther Jewel Heist so it seems logical it will be at Amusement Expo, along with their vast array of redemption/videmption games that we have already seen.
Incredible Technologies – Golden Tee? Sure. But they also have begun to get into videmption again with titles like LoonyTix and Mix’N Match which will receive some spotlight attention.
LAI Games – Also a redemption-centric company, they have been working on more videmption pieces lately like Pinata or Shooting Mania.
Sega Amusements – After the Showdown release Sega has been fairly quiet. They didn’t really show off anything in Japan that would likely find its way over here so my expectation is Showdown, Transformers and their videmption stuff like Plants Vs. Zombies. My guess is they will have a new redemption or videmption piece.
Stern Pinball – They will certainly have WrestleMania Pinball on hand, hopefully they will bring an LE model. I also would not be surprised to see the new Whoa Nellie! and Medieval Madness.
Toccata Gaming International – This company usually remains under the radar but they have done some video games before. The last one they produced was Rock ‘N Roll Verti-Go. They’ve been promoting their Zombie Snatcher rotary game as of late so I imagine that will be a showcase at the booth.
Unit-E Technologies – They will have the latest version of NEON FM to show off, similar to IAAPA.
UNIS – From what UNIS has stated, their focus is going to be on redemption/videmption line-up, including Safari Ranger and several other popular pieces. I had hoped that the fun Armed Resistance would show up but apparently that didn’t test very well (which I imagine in part came down to the slow turn radius).
Wahlap – I have confirmed that Wahlap will be showing Overtake, Power Truck S, an air hockey table and a coin pusher. I was hoping for Monster Eye to show up since I didn’t really get any time with that at IAAPA. Perhaps Overtake will have an adjusted difficulty as opposed to what we saw at IAAPA and perhaps someone can show me what is supposed to be different about Power Truck S other than a different cabinet color.
As alluded to already, it is a very safe bet to make that there will be some new videmption content on hand as that is the fad right now. As long as there is a video-only option that they can be set to then I maintain a stronger interest. Although something has to be said for videmption attempting more unique and riskier concepts than straight video tends to do most of the time.
I notice that a couple of names are missing from the current exhibitors list – GlobalVR and Jersey Jack Pinball. Granted GlobalVR has not had an official booth at the past few tradeshow events, where instead they have teamed up with a distributor like Nickels and Dimes. JJP did send The Hobbit Pinball to the Ohio Pinball Expo this past weekend but unless they make a last minute announcement, it appears that The Hobbit will not be there, nor whatever Pat Lawlor is supposed to be working on.
I would love to see Heighway Pinball make an appearance in the US as they seem to have built up some steam in the wake of their Full Throttle Pinball game. A Full Throttle at the show featured at a distributor booth would certainly be a nice treat.
What do you hope to see at the show?