The AMOA/AAMA Amusement Expo is upon us for 2018, albeit a little earlier than usual – generally this trade show happens around the third week of March as opposed to the end of February. With that, I wasn’t expecting to see much of a change from IAAPA but I’m happy to report about these new items that we have not seen previously.
Transformers Shadows Rising (Sega Amusements)
Yeah, we already talked about this one but now I’ve got video 🙂 You can check it out in 4K UHD as well (as are all of the videos I am doing now thanks to a new camera)
Mystery Island (Touch Magix)
One of the surprises at the show was the presence of another new arcade piece from India-based Touch Magix. Taking their years of experience with projection mapping in the museum sector, they are now bringing that tech to the amusement industry with Mystery Island.
Inside of the game is a cone with a smooth step winding up it. The projection mapping comes from above and adjusts the surfaces in real-time. The game itself is simple – you control the pirate who must climb the mountain island and reach the top. Collect coins along the way and jump over skeletons to kill them. I didn’t manage to make it to the top but it was simple fun, boosted by the effects by doing something that you are not going to get at home or on your phone.
Tomb Raider (Adrenaline Amusements)
I was surprised to see Adrenaline bringing Tomb Raider to the show as I would have expected it later on (which seems to be the normal procedure for a game released through Dave & Busters first). I did get to play it some and found it favorable although it is better with four people and I mostly played it by myself. You have to pull back on the top of the gun to reload, which takes a moment to get used to.
One part that took getting used to (although perhaps you can say that this is part of the challenge and requiring skill of the players) is that the position of your target is handled through the gun instead of through a sensor net around the screen. This means that when the gun has the feedback kick to it (which it does with every pull of the trigger), the reticle shakes around a bit more than you’d expect. It isn’t a game killing problem as I managed 49% accuracy. Just something you have to keep in mind when you first approach it.
Speed Rider 3 (Komuse/IGS)
If you don’t recall Speed Rider 1 or 2, it was IGS’ answer to the Raw Thrills Fast & Furious/Super Bikes 2 games. The first Speed Rider was released way back in 2009 and now IGS has the 3rd game in the series out for arcades to grab.
The game looks quite sharp and puts a strong focus on the characters riding the bikes. It has online features for posting times and it uses a fan for blowing wind into your face while you race. The bike controllers seemed solid enough but what I experienced. This one also has a camera with in-game face overlays that you can use, very similar to Namco’s camera tech used in games like Dead Heat Riders.
I did not expect to come across this one as I did not realize that Komuse (creators of the extremely popular KeyMaster games) was going to be at the show with a booth of their own nor that they were working with IGS. The company had a few other redemption pieces to show so I am curious to see where they might be going in the US market.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Raw Thrills)
Raw Thrills did not bring anything new never-seen-before to the show but they did have the latest version of TMNT on hand, with the Sewer level that was unveiled earlier this week. Contrary to backseat criticism that it’s “just a copy of the original”, the Sewer Surfing portion pays homage to Turtles In Time but is not a straight rip-off – something you can verify by watching the video through to find that there are some differences in that sequence as well as the part where you have to run through the sewers on foot. Play the game and then judge it on it’s merits – what a novel concept!
It still plays like you would want a brawler too and I think that it’s going to do well on the market. For those wondering about what happened to Mario Party, it has been pushed back to the Fall but from what little was said about it, it is improving as a redemption game and going to be “more fun” than what was seen at IAAPA.
Family Guy Bowling (Team Play)
We saw this at IAAPA 2017, where it was almost ready to go into production but thanks to the issues that have crept up with licensing content from Fox (due to the potential Disney buyout), there were some delays. The software remains the same but Team Play took the opportunity to add an idea that was popular with Bay Tek’s Beer Ball a few years ago – a thermal ticket printer where the operator can customize the message and prize to their liking. Thus it does touch into the realm of redemption but that can be for food & drinks instead of plush. Here’s a pic of the new coin door with the printer:
This one is shipping now!
Mannequin Challenge (Touch Magix)
We also saw this for the first time at IAAPA 2017 but now it has a much sleeker, flashier and more compact cabinet. There have been some software adjustments but this one still plays like before – match the poses on the screen as quickly as possible to walk away with tickets as well as a photo (the photo part is optional).
I didn’t get a chance to complete the video for this one for this post but I will have it up on the AH video channels soon! Here’s the IAAPA version.
Big Buck Wild: Monster Island (Play Mechanix)
Initially unveiled during the Big Buck World 2017 Championships, a new software update that is coming to Big Buck Wild machines this year was not at the show. I bring it up though as I did chat briefly with George Petro of Play Mechanix about it, who did confirm that the software would roll out at the beginning of the Big Buck World Championships (May 1st) as a way to incentivize additional play out there for the qualifiers. We’ll share more info when we have it.
Stern, Chicago Gaming and Jersey Jack were at the show although somehow I completely missed JJP (I found the Pinballsales booth were Table PONG was but must not have looked around there to see their booth). That said, I did not see anything that wasn’t seen at IAAPA so didn’t capture any new footage of anything.
No one else (Heighway Pinball, Spooky Pinball, American Pinball, etc.) decided to go as the smaller pinball companies generally eschew events like this in favor of focusing on pinball-centric expos. It’s too bad as I think that they are missing on promoting their product to a good chunk of their potential market but trade shows aren’t cheap either so you have to pick your battles.
At last year’s Amusement Expo in Dallas, there was a little VR to see but not much; IAAPA had quite a bit to look over in regards to the technologies. Site friend Kevin Williams ran a VR seminar which seems to have been well-attended, with different people involved in the sector touting why it’s time for VR to go big in the out-of-home entertainment business. For the show floor, several companies were on hand to demonstrate their VR ideas including:
Bandai Namco – They were demonstrating their We Play VR modular solution that was seen at IAAPA; the developers behind the tech (A.I. Solve) also has begun to tout their next original game for the platform, Clock Tower. Here’s the trailer for that; Namco was showing it with three different games at the front of their booth:
HADO AR (Meleap) – This isn’t technically VR but as Augmented Reality, it’s close. I came across the Japanese-based Meleap back at IAAPA 2016 but had not seen them since. They have begun to make some waves in the USA, offering an AR HMD solution for multiplayer arenas or even go karts.
Escape VR – Escape Rooms combined with VR. I didn’t get a chance to try them out to comment further but the concept seems sound.
Hologate – This company was also at IAAPA with their multiplayer VR arena setup, just with a smaller footprint. This one seemed quite popular every time I passed by the VR Area.
Thrilled to have Kevin Williams, one of the leading thought leaders in the #LBE space, defending the universe from menacing robots, relentless drones, and ferocious dragons on the #HOLOGATE at the #AmusementExpo! @stingerreport @VRFocus #VirtualReality #Arcades #AmusementParks pic.twitter.com/b3TmAgCzEN
— Gregg Katano (@greggkatano) February 28, 2018
Modal VR – Known in part for Nolan Bushnell’s involvement, Modal VR seems to offer a little bit of what HADO AR does, just with VR instead of AR. A group of four is split into teams of two and you play a dodgeball like game. The VR headsets they use are wireless, which stood in contrast to some of the other VR competitors.
TrioTech – They also returned with their VR maze solution but oddly enough I somehow completely missed their booth. :/ I did see it at the launch during IAAPA 2017 at least and here’s a tweet to show what it looks like – they added some different paneling this time.
— Triotech (@Triotech1) February 28, 2018
Sorry if I missed anyone at the show – I know a few of you online that said that they were going but we didn’t connect. Hopefully we can at IAAPA 2018 or Amusement Expo 2019!
If you did make it, what were your impressions of the show and the content found there?