Continuing on with my ASI 2008 coverage is a continued look into products that one could find at the show.
Coastal Amusements had their new Sea Wolf game on display which received a lot of attention(they also had a number of redemption games there too). They had six units setup that were constantly being played and I could tell why – it is a very fun game. The gameplay is quite simple like a classic game – the only thing I don’t like about it is the price tag which I guess in the redemption sector is where they’d like it but for the video sector is a little high. A video of this is coming up in a post later today.
Trio-Tech had their UFO Stomper on display (which I also have a video of) along with their Motion Wave Theater and Jett Rider. UFO Stomper is a lot of fun with many mini-games built into the unit that really can give you a work out. It was fairly popular from what I saw and I wore myself out going through the adventure mode. You might be able to find this at an FEC but for a couple of reasons (size and price) it is impractical for small locations. Great attraction though. I was hoping to see a Wasteland Racer there but it looks like they have dumped it (as it even isn’t on their website).
Andamiro had three Pump It Up games setup – all looked quite nice and I saw people playing them everytime I walked past the booth. They also had a fun video redemption game called Hammer 2 where the players use soft mallets to smack video images on the table, sort of like whack-a-mole but more advanced. It was some nice fun for two players.
Beyond that the floor featured many redemption items and a few touchscreen devices, including new tabletPC-like models from Touch Tunes (pictured) and Merit. There also were a number of air hockey tables on the floor, each with some new ideas that mostly involved sound. My brother and I played a couple of games at the Barron Games booth, including a match where you could have four players to a table or each player could “dual-wield” (OK, my term, not theirs) the hockey puck deflectors. It also had a bumper in the middle of the field. I saw another air hockey table(it might have been at the ICE booth) that had a shield in the middle to avoid flying pucks and also used some new ideas with sound. It had been a long time since I had played air hockey, I forgot how fun it could be so I will have to look into one of these for my own arcade.
While it’s not a game, I did come across a booth where they were demonstrating some LCD monitors to go into standard arcade cabinets. The monitors were made by Ally Star Technologies in Taiwan and overall I liked the quality of what I saw. They had several sizes of monitors and most on display had a widescreen display ratio and good contrast ratios and options. They make screens from 8.4″ in size to 47″, each size improving in technical specs (the 47″ screen can do 1080p). I am thinking about one of these widescreen displays for my conversion of a cabinet into The Act – the actual model that Cecropia made had an LCD widescreen monitor so I’d like to get something like it.
Finally I did come across one new development in the redemption sector that is interesting. It takes the self-redemption concept to the level of not needing employees at a desk to count tickets and grab prizes for people. Called the Database Prize Center by Smart Industries, the redemption counter is basically transformed into some cabinets where the prizes have the value printed on a sticker – the person feeds their tickets into the machine and it lets them choose what they want (as long as they have the tickets to afford the item). It does essentially replace redemption arcade employees with machines but there are some types of locations that may not want to run a redemption desk or can’t do it at all that this is useful for. If it grows (initial reports state that it’s already proven to work successfully in a number of different venues) it could become a standard thing in the industry so I thought that it was worth mentioning.
So that was ASI in a nutshell. Today they are having the show open to the public and we’ll see how that goes and what people think of the offerings there. I also stopped by The Star Trek Experience at the Hilton hotel – for a Trekkie like myself it was awesome. I even bought a “KHAAANN!” t-shirt which looks great. Stay tuned for some ASI videos!