(Pictures thanks to Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report)
Amusement Expo officially kicks off today in Las Vegas but yesterday Raw Thrills and Play Mechanix held a special and unusual launch event for their latest game, Big Buck HD. Several representatives took to the stage to tout the latest features that this game offers, including Raw Thrills President Eugene Jarvis, pictured here.
Big Buck HD does have some unexpected features going for it. While you will still have a dedicated cabinet that comes with a monitor(in a design different than the old dedicated ones), they have taken a page from Incredible Technologies and designed what they are calling a Panorama model that the operator can get their own HDTV for. It handles between 42″-55″ monitors.This poster below touts the Big Buck HD dedicated cabinet although
I think someone in the marketing department got carried away as this is not the first arcade game with 1080p graphics – even RTs own Super Cars game had a 1080p screen. UPDATE: I received a clarification on this particular point about Big Buck HD from George Petro of Play Mechanix. While there are arcade games at this point that have used 1080P screens, the games were not designed to natively render the graphics at this resolution. The monitors are upscaling a lower resolution of the game to fit a higher screen density but it is not true HD. Big Buck HD “truly renders each individual pixel into a 1920×1080 frame buffer. Yes, that’s over 2,000,000 pixels per frame all at 60 frames per second or above. We are quite sure that there exists no other game in this class that executes to this specification.” So I stand corrected on that and it makes sense when you look at direct screenshots of many arcades games out there that use 1080p screens they don’t really look like 1080p games.
MSRP price is about $5300. I do wonder if the “dangerous” trophy animals means that they can attack the player, that would be an interesting twist.
Here is the Panorama version. It has a lower unit cost since it doesn’t come with a monitor, allowing for the operator to install a large monitor that fits their budget.
Now for some other interesting features. This first pic discusses the hardware upgrades which includes a built-in Verizon Wireless modem (for locations that don’t have internet access and instead want to use the cell phone network; there is a cost to this) and a credit card acceptor is now standard (unusual for arcade games). All games are online all the time and there is even the ability for one location to compete with another in real-time.
This image discusses in-game features. Big Buck HD offers social network integration with both Twitter and Facebook. Arcade-To-Twitter has been done before in Japan but this is the first I will have heard of it being used in a Western game. This will allow players to announce their scores to these networks. There is some sort of Player “Challenge and Reward” system (similar to achievements perhaps?), real-time competition between locations and the credit card reader can also accept debit and gift cards as well as Big Buck Player cards.
Here it discusses some of the stuff that only operators will care about.
And finally the game cabinet up close.The new gun design is reported to be a little heavier than the older guns but it looks a little more realistic compared to the older guns the series has used.
That pretty much wraps up the Big Buck HD coverage so far. This will be available for locations to pick up soon although when exactly I do not yet know. The Big Buck HD website just states Spring 2012, which is just around the corner and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s next month.
As I wasn’t able to attend I can’t give you a hands-on impression of the game but based on what I’ve seen here I like the direction they are taking the game – it’s preferable to just upgrading the old cabinets and it will certainly be a hit in bars. I imagine that it will do well on the street in arcades too although my concern is whether the process to get online is still confusing for your average casual player (a problem I ran into a lot with my own online Big Buck Safari machine). Still, as a hunting game goes this is the cream of the crop, and I’m excited to see arcade games using more social media features which is beneficial for the player, the operator and the manufacturer. Graphically this will stop players in their tracks and with all of the other features it offers please the fans while making new ones.