Well I’m back from Vegas and I’m ready to show off videos of what I saw there! The only problem is that so far my internet connection has not been co-operating with me and I’ve been getting errors when I try and upload videos, whether it’s for a site like this or Youtube. I will keep trying but I will probably have to find a different connection to use to get all of this stuff online.
As for the show itself, I had a lot of fun, it was great talking to some of you I have met before as well as talk to some who I hadn’t. I do think that the show was better this year than it was last time around – perhaps it’s because there were more games there and the games overall are improved so it wasn’t hard to top ’08. It also was nice for the pizza expo to be taking place right next to the show, I just wish I had known that I could visit it on the first day we were there.
NOTE: It is looking like I will not be able to get any videos posted until tomorrow (Sunday March 15th) afternoon. Sorry about the delay, I would love to get everything up already!
Namco’s booth was right in front of the show entrance and they were eagerly showing off their two new titles, Razing Storm and Nirin. They had two RS cabs and two linked Nirin cabs on hand. Both games are impressive – they look great and they were both fun. They also were quite loud, up to the point where I felt like I was leaving a concert after walking away. I think that I missed getting a video on Nirin which is too bad as it’s a great looking game and the monitor was much larger than I thought it would be – I think they may have changed it from previous versions. Nirin also uses System ES1 for the hardware, which I would like to find out more about. Razing Storm is a worthy successor to games like Crisis Zone and Time Crisis. The guns were larger than I expected but comfortable and the graphics were naturally awesome (although I don’t care for DLP monitors personally, I think they make stuff look slightly fuzzy) and they blend perfectly with the physics that the game uses. There were constantly crowds checking out Razing Storm although I was able to jump on to this and play several times. Namco also had MaxiTune 3 there and they showed off some new redemption product and a new crane where you would cut a thread to win a prize.
Over to the right of Namco was Raw Thrills, with a large booth showcasing their two big games, H2Overdrive and Guitar Hero. Both games attracted an awful lot of attention and it helped that they had so many GH cabinets on hand. Unfortunately there were only two H2Overdrive cabinets there so on occasion it was tough to get a spot but I was able to play for a bit and I came away impressed. While this game looked great in the pics and videos that were online, it’s much better in person if you can believe that. The version at the show was not final, they still had to add a few things to finish it up but it was fully playable and I was able to level a boat up to level 18 or so. The sound on this was also cranked up quite a bit and it will probably carry a price point of around $7500. Guitar Hero was pretty cool as expected, I had never played the game before the show (yes that’s lame, but I have played Rock Band which is essentially the same thing) and came away happy with the experience. It looks good and where it doesn’t give players a “fail” if they royally screw up, it will probably appeal to players afraid of such a thing. I also saw DDR:X at their booth although I didn’t play it, the game itself looking like it would be fun to play but I didn’t give it a whirl. The most surprising thing about DDR:X was the price tag – it’s actually below $10k (it is somewhere in the upper $9000 range) which is a nice change for a DDR title. There also was a new game there by Chicago Coin called Putt Challenge which combines putting a real golf ball with a video game. This sort of thing could go well with people who have a bit of money and like those putt practicing games in the office, but this is much better.
BTW- I did find out something about American Idol – it appears as though the game was canceled due to some issues, I think with licensing. That would explain why it’s been hard to find – it was never actually released!
24 was proudly on display at the booth and I got a video of it, even though I wasn’t terribly good at the game. Stern also had a tournament running on Batman, with some players earning some pretty crazy scores.
Further up from the Betson booth was Sega – with a much larger and thus better presence this year than last. They had R-Tuned Racing and Harley Davidson there to compliment titles like Rambo, Sega Rally 3 and Bass Fishing Challenge. They also had Brick People there and a new video redemption game called When Pigs Fly, which was an amusing little game where you shoot a pig up into the sky to hit a UFO along with other targets for a ticket payout. R-Tuned Racing is certainly the best looking Lindbergh game I have seen yet and the game itself is fun although I wasn’t really sure about the unlimited boost feature – that makes it feel a little cheap when racing. Still, drifting was easy and against another player it can be fun, it’s just too bad they didn’t have more R-Tuned cabinets there to show off. They also had the deluxe Harley Davidson game there to enjoy and it has been such a long time since I played the original HD game that I can’t tell you how they compare but I thought it was cool that they had a number of 70’s rock songs to choose from each round and the motorcycle controller is really cool to use thanks to the feedback they built into the bike. I would have prefered to see an LCD monitor instead of a DLP but that’s my personal preference (as I mentioned above) and it still looks just fine. They probably used DLP to get deeper color from the game and it is quite colorful as you will see later when I can manage to get the video online.I did ask about Ringedge games coming to the States but at the moment I don’t have anything to pass along.
A little ways to the left of Sega was Global VR, showcasing their newest title Justice League. Like TwistedSupreme and HeavyElectricity mentioned in their ATEI coverage, this game looks better in person than in still screenshots and it’s a fun game to boot thanks to the several levels and characters you can pick from. It also has a few secrets throughout the levels although I wasn’t lucky enough to uncover any. As TS and HE mentioned the game could use a greater variety of enemies and I think it would be cool to have more obstacles to face in the levels I played but who knows if we’ll see an update in the future to fix these minor problems. I love brawlers so it’s great to see this in arcades again and at the price point they are selling this at, I imagine that a lot of operators will be tempted to pick it up. They also were demonstrating a conversion kit of the game in a Dynamo cabinet and it looked great even on that – kits will go for around $2400 so it should be even more tempting to buy. Beyond that, they had deluxe versions of titles like NASCAR and Need For Speed there, along with a Blazing Angels cabinet to round out the mix.
These guys were at the show demonstrating their bemani-killer DJ Max Technicka. I only got to play through one song but I was impressed – it’s a fun game with a ton of features including online stuff and the cabinet is quite attractive.They did say that we can expect to see more from Pentavision in the US in the future, so I look forward to seeing what they will bring to us and honestly I think that this is a great start.
While the main focus of the ICE booth was redemption product, they also had the Game Gate VU (the new cabinet that allows you to legally install an Xbox 360 on location) and a ball throwing video game there (the name escapes me right now). The Game Gate is pretty cool but I can’t say that I care for the price tag – asking $6000-$7000 seems to be a bit steep for this even though it’s using licensed games but we’ll have to wait and see how people take to it. The ball throwing game was fun, I have seen these before and with all of the mini-games it has a bit of replay value. It did have an occasional problem with recognizing a ball hit but otherwise it seemed to work fine.
I got a chance to play the new Sea Wolf (and I got some video of it in action) and the new version is definently a much better game, thanks to the extra depth they gave to it. They also added some voice to it and they had a really good price on it at the show for less than $4000. More coming with the video later.
I think that this pretty much finishes it for now, as I said I will be getting a number of videos posted soon, but I need my connection to co-operate with me first. I’ve also got some more pictures to upload but they are on a camera that isn’t with me at the moment but I will try and get that taken care of tomorrow or Sunday. So stay tuned for more!