Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! Here’s a bit of non-Valentine’s related news for you to chew on
The week is on the wind down but stay tuned as JAEPO starts tomorrow in Japan and we’ll certainly be getting a bit of news from that event over the next few days. With that being the subject, there are some further announcements about the event including a mini-concert to be held by Taito’s famous ZUNTATA band, which will certainly be tied into the first public showing of Groove Coaster Arcade. There is a good possibility that this will see an international test and release so we will be keeping an eye on it. First pictures from the event will be showing up by tomorrow morning.
Speaking of trade shows, I missed out on the Amusement Expo in Vegas last year but such will not be the case this year. Here’s hoping there are some fun surprises to be found!
In some other news, I was contacted by an arcade called Big Al’s Vancouver, located in Vancouver, WA. They are going to be holding a Pump it Up Pro 2 Tournament on March, 10th, their 2nd annual PIU tournament. As a part of what happened last time and what will be taking place this year, Jose Vasquez stated: “Last year we had groups that drove from Vegas, south Oregon and the #1 competitor flew in from London. We are giving away a PS3 Move SYS bundle as a raffle prize, everyone who participates gets a chance to win. ” Here is a video from the event last year and here is a Facebook page of the event:
Here’s a tip from Gabe McGrath about a new indie arcade title that could be just what many “Beercades” could use out there. Called The Last Barfighter by the Big Boss Brewing Company, which is out of North Carolina, players participate a flash-based one-on-one fighter game. The winner of a match is rewarded with a sample of beer that is dispensed from one of the taps on the game cabinet itself. While not the Last Starfighter exactly, if they decide to build more than one of these I’m sure there is a market for them to some degree amongst the aforementioned beercade businesses. Here’s the video of the game, probably a PG-13 level video.
In case you are amazed by the wonders of auto-tuning(then I suggest watching this explanation by Weird Al if you haven’t already), here is a recent creation that takes advantage of that technology while parodying a song by Ke$ha. Of course the only reason I am bringing this up is because its arcade related, in particular with some big love towards Dig Dug. I’m not a fan of this genre of music but there are a few things I had to chuckle at from the video which is done by “Insane Ian”. (link via The Stinger Report)
Also via The Stinger Report, this link to an article at Venture Beat that looks at the evolution of the beat ’em up genre. It’s a bit short though without really timelining it all out. Yes Double Dragon was important but that game wouldn’t have happened without Karate Champ and Kung Fu Master or even the lesser known Renegade. Plenty of other brawlers made improvements on the formula and to transition into the brawlers of today I am surprised that Sega’s 3D brawlers like Die Hard Arcade/Dynamite Deka aren’t mentioned. Of course I’ll keep holding out for the HD rendition of Spike Out or something similar although it doesn’t appear that anyone on the arcade side will make an attempt at that again anytime soon.
As promised, Highway Games did their interview with some Namco sales reps based out of Japan. They talk about their strategies and thoughts on the future of arcades, confirming a few things I’ve noticed from their strategy over here (primarily of focusing on FECs which explains the direction taken with Dark Escape 4D). They kind of dowse hopes on the US and Europe getting Maximum Tune 4 anytime soon but I am a little surprised at a few of the answers. For example they state “we are having many comments saying that players want a new game, but why we don’t do that is because we know it is not going to be popular.” This is in regards to new Soul Calibur and Time Crisis. How they know that these will not be popular, I am not sure so it must be something in their historical sales data. Even then that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me saying that ‘everyone’s asking for it but we know it won’t be popular’. Fighters in arcades can do very well, if they are handled properly. I am surprised to hear that they considered the tests for Tekken doing poorly (the exactly line:”not many people came to the arcade to play the machine”) as I did not hear that from a couple of the site operators who ran the tests. In fact, from one of the operators who participated in the test, Arcade UFO:
“During our location test, the console version was not even available to the public (9-10 months prior to console release). Our numbers during the location test were great, but of course the kit wasn’t made available until months after the console version was released.
Furthermore, the asking price for the kit was over 4 times more than what used kits were going for in Japan. Pretty ridiculous expecting any locations here to adopt an unfairly priced board with fewer characters than the console version and no time line on when they would update that version to be current with the console version.“
With fighters these days, it always comes down to the arcade and console versions competing with each other. And so far from what I have seen, the consoles win every time because they are given more content or up-to-date tweaks to the play that the arcade versions get the shaft on. The only exception I can think of right now is Chaos Generation by Chinese company Sealy where that is arcade only for the foreseeable future(that is also available in the US BTW). But Time Crisis not being popular, really? There’s a first time for everything I suppose but TC would be the last game series I would expect to hear as being put into the No One Likes It Anymore category. Among game titles I occasionally hear people asking for, TC is among the most requested, irregardless of the version (although I’m sure if I ever get one in, there will be complaints that it’s X version and not Y version).
There is more to the interview so I suggest you check it out but those things stood out to me right off, what are your thoughts?