Amusement Expo 2016: The Wrap Up

arcadehero March 19, 2016 0
Amusement Expo 2016: The Wrap Up

Amusement Expo 2016 has come and gone and as we find with any trade show, we come away with some videos of new games. If you live in the Western USA and didn’t get a chance to visit IAAPA the previous November, then this is a good event to attend. If you went to IAAPA, then a lot of it is familiar. As such I don’t have a lot of videos to share since most of the games were covered this past November.

Admittedly, my guesses on what would show up were mostly proven wrong – no Q*Bert, no Killer Queen (really baffled by this one since it was at the Nightclub and Bar show the week prior, in the same convention center although the cabinet was already installed at the Vegas Gameworks), no Cruisn’ and no Maximum Tune 5. We’ll just have to keep our eyes peeled for those.

Let’s get into it with some additional commentary:

Ghostbusters Pinball (Stern Pinball) – The recently announced pinball game made its appearance in the form of two Pro models. Everyone had been hoping for a Premium or LE model to show up but word on the street is that the demand for those is too high to spare for a trade show event.  As such it’s tough to compare the play (in my experience, Premium/LE always plays better and has more depth than Stern’s Pro models) but it is a solid game that excels in the sound department and has some fun ideas, such as the mini-video game of Dr. Venkman’s ESP Test. Overall I liked it and I am considering it to replace my aging Indiana Jones Stern pin.

Full Throttle Pinball (Heighway Pinball) – This was the biggest surprise, for me. Granted, it probably would not have been a surprise if I had read the exhibitor list in advance. You don’t really need to for a show of this size so it was great to stumble across them and finally get a chance to play Full Throttle. Admittedly, it required a few plays to get the best feel for it – in part due to the widebody nature of it but also the sides on the top have wider metal than I am used to with Stern games. After getting a feel for where shots need to be made however, the dual loop ramps were a lot of fun to hit and I managed to get a couple of different multiball modes activated. The presence of the monitor on the playfield is great although it is hard to complain about the big monitor in the backbox (27″, which is optional)

Perhaps the most impressive thing about the experience was the HEighway team. It’s been 10 years that I’ve been covering this industry to some degree and I’ve never heard a pinball maker talk about the game from an operator perspective quite like Heighway. Usually it’s about making collectors happy, which I understand since that is a big part of the market but I’ve come to the thinking that if you design a game for operators first (i.e., design it to make money), then it’ll be something that will make collectors happy anyways. Heighway has a UK operator on their team but also they were talking about earnings across different locations in the US; updates and bug fixes that are rolled out quickly to address issues that locations bring up; features that allow greater control over the game (such as how much power goes to each coil) and then the kits. Once Alien launches, owners of a Heighway cabinet can swap out a game in about 3 minutes. Some interesting ideas could be done with that.

I also got to see the trailer for Alien Pinball, which they said would be launching sometime this weekend. The game itself is slated for a release sometime this Summer. While the video showed a prototype, the eggsack pop bumpers were looking quite nice – I can’t remember much else aside from the Facehugger toys near the flippers as most shots were dark and close up.

Luigi Mansion Arcade English – Sega is already testing this game out at certain locations such as some select Dave & Busters but the wide release isn’t happening until some time this Summer. Now that it was easy to understand, playing the game was a breeze although it is different from your typical light-gun game. First ghosts need to be stunned, then sucked up by the vacuum. They have a “Simple” control scheme that will do both at the same time although from watching a couple of guys play it, they seemed confused for the first couple of minutes. I prefer to play with Normal controls. It would still be nice if they would update some of the 3D models for the game however (like we can’t do perfectly round coins in 2016).

Booth Montage #1 – Since I already covered a lot of the video content through the IAAPA videos, I figure it is best to just combine booth shots into a couple of videos. Here is the first:

and the second

Some photos:

The Barron Games team with their new Timber Man videmption game.

The Barron Games team with their new Timber Man videmption game.

Galaga Assault was getting a lot of play

Galaga Assault was getting a lot of play

Stern's booth was busy pretty much from the get-go

Stern’s booth was busy pretty much from the get-go

Fish King Games - they are all about the fishing games...

Fish King Games – they are all about the fishing games…

WIK USA showing off their newest air hockey tables (which include an innovative puck dispenser to reload pucks in case one is lost)

WIK USA showing off their newest air hockey tables (which include an innovative puck dispenser to reload pucks in case one is lost)

Another merged company, Elaut and Coast To Coast Entertainment, all under the Elaut banner.

Another merged company, Elaut and Coast To Coast Entertainment, all under the Elaut banner.

That pretty much wraps it up. There were some manufacturers there that I didn’t get video of (Adrenaline, Benchmark, Elaut, Triotech, Wahlap) but if anyone is burning to know, I can tell you what they had. I wondered if GlobalVR might show up since Vegas is much closer to them but they were absent again. Word has it they have a new game coming later this year so we’ll have to wait and see if that goes to IAAPA 2016 or not. Otherwise, what are your thoughts on the event?


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