The slow early year news cycle has had us counting down to this event in Japan, the AOU Expo where different amusement companies get together to show off some of their latest ideas and products. Yes a lot of these are destined for sale primarily in Japan but there are always a few that might find their way out West. Not to mention it’s always fascinating to see some of the new ideas being worked on.
UPDATE: Sega has announced some competition to Taito’s NESiCAxLIVE, online arcade game download service. Perhaps the name sounds catchier in Japanese but it will be known for now as “All.Net P-Ras MULTI”. The first games to be offered on the service include three seen below: Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus, Arcade Love and Under Night-In Birth. Where the last title runs off the Ringedge hardware, it’s assumed that this is the platform that will deliver the new All.Net, but with a modification to the hardware. It will be launching in Japan in this Fall.
Sega also had this on display, looks like some sort of management system but it could be more. I seem to recall something about “nime” being a new payment system Sega was going to use but it’s been a while. How the cabinet that has something like Seaman on it applies, I’ll just have to wait for more information to come along to know what’s up with this.
Let’s start off with some new stuff:
Namco’s Big Bang Smash – Namco’s new concept in air hockey is a four player table that spits out dozens of hockey pucks onto the table from the side, where you also have a scoreboard and LCD monitor. I assume that instead of going up to just a few points, it crosses into video game scoring territory by racking up hundreds or thousands of points in a match. Looks like it would be a lot of crazy fun.
Chance of making it out West: I would think pretty good unless the price tag is way out there. Air Hockey is the kind of thing that attracts universal attention and does pretty well in any location so it’s certainly possible. This would make a great attraction piece for people looking for something a little different.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Unlimited (Namco)- The latest update to TTT2. Like with any fighter update it fixes balance issues, adds a few characters that weren’t there before and adds a new mode or two, such as 1 vs 2 play and even pair play for 4 player action. Trailer is below.
Chances of coming out West: Depends upon the release of TTT2 in the first place. The original was tested in the US not long ago, with internet features but after the test we haven’t heard what Namco plans on doing with the arcade release. If they decide to do it, it would make sense to give arcades the latest software anywhere it shows up.
MaiMai (Sega) – Sega’s newest rhythm game has a nice booth setup there, where they are competing with Konami for attention. This game uses a unique cabinet with a circular monitor (which reminds me of really old vector monitors) along with a circular control scheme.
Chances of coming out West: Grim. Sega just hasn’t given the rhythm game much love outside of Asia and there’s nothing to indicate they will be changing their mind any time soon. I wouldn’t be surprised if this shows up at Round 1 in SoCal but good luck finding it elsewhere.
Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus (Arc System Works)- The latest installation in the Guilty Gear series. Looks like all they had for this was demo footage.
Chances of coming out West: There are some GG fans out there who will import it but I have doubts that it would get the love that BlazBlue did (such as with Taito releasing the BlazBlue 2 kit to the US last year)
Dance Evolution (Konami) – We knew about this game some time ago, where Konami uses Microsoft’s Kinect device to make a dance game that isn’t about hitting notes on a pad in time, but about mimicking exact dance moves.
Chances of coming out West: I’ll say grim, excepting the usual places that will import. Konami just doesn’t seem to be interested in arcade releases out West – when their flagship title of DDR is up in the air, anything else seems pretty unlikely. Although to be honest, I would think that this game in particular would be something that could do well given the right price tag and in a location that has enough space for it, as it looks like it takes up quite a bit more than a typical dance machine.
Dark Escape 3D (Namco) – Latest co-op shooting game from Namco with a horror theme. We’ve covered this one a few times already.
Chances of coming out West: Confirmed – this has already been seen on test in the Chicago area so unless it was to fail the tests somehow, we will be seeing this one later this year.
Love Arcade and Under Night-In Birth – Two games here, one is called Love Arcade as far as we know, a collection of shmup mini-games for four players and the other is a 2DHD fighting game called Under Night-In Birth, that runs on Sega’s Ringedge hardware.
Chances of coming out West: Pretty much near zero, these games don’t seem to gin up a lot of interest even in imports, but maybe Under Night In-Birth will find some love with people that are itching for something new in that realm.
Fishing Spirit (Namco) – It’s been a while since we’ve seen a fishing game in arcades. This is Namco’s latest concept in that realm for 8 players.
Chances of coming out West – Definitely hovering near absolute zero, these only find a market in Asia. They are probably going to take this over to China where there are a lot of games in this category.
Shining Force Cross Elysion (Sega) – The latest version of Sega’s Arcade RPG multiplayer game
Chances of coming out West: Shining Force Cross has done a pretty good job at avoiding all contact with the West as far as I know and there is nothing with this newest version that is going to change that.
Gyrozetter (Square Enix/Taito) – The racing/fighting game from Square Enix was there, this is the one we covered a short time ago where the cabinet itself actually transforms between the racing and battle modes
Chances of coming out West: There was registration for Gyrozetter in Europe although it’s more likely that it is for the Nintendo 3DS and not so much arcade but never say never.
Sound Voltex Booth (Konami) – One of Konami’s other new ideas for a Bemani game, that we have covered before. What we see below is the closest picture I have seen of it so far.
Chances of coming out West: Same as uBeat most likely, which means the occasional, rare import
Oh look – it’s LAI’s SPEED OF LIGHT. We already saw this out West as it was first shown at IAAPA and this just happens to be the Japanese debut
STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES – There is certainly going to be more to discuss about the show, so check back for more.
Here is one place for more pictures: AM-Net