Hot on the heels of Part 1 comes some pictures from the trade show floor thanks to Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report. I didn’t focus on taking pics but video instead while Kevin covered this portion and caught a couple of things I missed. A lot of people at the show asked me what was interesting/surprising and I had to reply that it was a little hard to answer as some of these games I cover months in advance of actually playing them so it feels like I’ve played with them already so I don’t feel “surprised” by anything. I don’t say that to mean that nothing is interesting although I think in general we come to these wanting to be surprised. Let’s take a dive, I’m just going to post these in order of how I received them.
Generally trade shows start off with some speeches, awards and a ribbon cutting ceremony, then they let the crowds in. Fortunately the show started at 10AM instead of 1PM as it has in the past. Here is the ribbon cutting with Pete Gustafson who is with Sega and he is the current AAMA Chairman, he is joined by a gentleman with the AMOA organization. My apologies but I am not sure of his name.
Peaking from behind a flag at the show floor.
Here’s little ol’ me giving InJoy Motion/Barron Games’ Allied Tank Attack a spin for the first time. It has three different play modes, each of which I gave some time to. The motion was also pretty good, it did not make me feel sea/motion sick in the slightest. I enjoyed giving this some play, in part I am a sucker for tank games or arcade games that involve heavy machinery blowing stuff up. I don’t know why we don’t have more ideas like it to be honest (as I got into a few years ago in this opinion piece). Anyways, this interested me enough that I’m going to have this at my arcade soon, I just have no clue where I’m going to put it since I’ve packed 55 games into a space that is around 2000 sq. ft already. It’s one of those “we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it” sort of situations. 😛
Here is one I completely missed – Ultima Assualter by Smart Industries. Kevin mentions that it plays similar to Taito’s Sonic Blast Heroes, where you are punching villains that appear on the screen. That could prove to be one way to revitalize the boxer sector, which seems to have lost some of its steam from a few years ago.
Unit-E’s NEON FM rhythm game. As mentioned a few times on the blog already, this is available for purchase now direct from Unit-E; not sure yet if they have worked out any distribution agreements otherwise.It’s one of those games where its good to see quite a variety of difficulty settings, especially where I am not very good at this particular type of title.
I’m not sure what else to add on this one after all that has been said – it’s Mario Kart Arcade GP DX!
Super Alpine Racer. Now that I think of it, I forgot to ask why only a single unit made an appear as at IAAPA13 there were four units linked up. As a single player it is still a fun game. Like mentioned with Allied Tank Attack above, when I see or play these more unique concepts I’m not sure why the industry hasn’t embraced such ideas more in recent years. Of course the swivel ski platform arcade has been around since the mid-70s. But when it comes to variety of games, it really is refreshing that this wasn’t just another steering wheel game.
I was pleased with myself for nabbing a 1st place spot on the leaderboards on the normal difficulty Dubai level as it was the first time I played the game. A common statement from people that played it was the disorientation one can feel due to the screen. I did notice it being less of an effect by the time I was wrapping up my round but it was something I noticed too. It’s unusual for sure – in one way its almost like having stereoscopic 3D, in regards to the screen effect being something different than what you are used to. I also think that part of effect on the brain is that it feels like you are close to the screen or perhaps duct taped to the front of your jet fighter 😛 For me, the key to survival and getting a good score was nabbing those quick kills. It keeps the enemies from getting a shot off on you too soon. This game is available now, it was officially released last week actually. I imagine that now that this cabinet is available in the US we could see more software to be added to it down the road – who knows, perhaps Namco will give Starblade Operation Blue Planet or something along those lines another try?
Stern Pinball’s booth, Gary Stern is seated in the center in the first pic. I kept finding myself come back here to give the games a couple of rounds and I was most impressed by Star Trek. Just ignoring the license for a moment, it’s a game that plays really well. Mustang was ok but I think playing Star Trek first threw me off a little as ST has more ramps and three flippers so it feels like a higher action game. The Vengeance model also is the first Stern model I’ve seen to go the route of the multi-colored LED route which I first saw in pinball in general with Jersey Jack’s Wizard of Oz. Bright LEDs are here to stay in pinball, that is for certain; the more multi-color goodness the better as well. It’s a neat effect that gives more life to any game it is used in.
As mentioned in Part 1, I did not nab any video of the Raw Thrills/Play Mechanix/Betson booth since I already have amassed a bit of video of these games previously. But here is what they had on hand, in the first pic was a game area underneath a tent that was a good way to blot out the overhead flood lights.
Here is one of those pictures where the coin dropped into the slot of my brain and I realized that it was one of those games I forgot to film, even though I played it. It is similar to the previous versions the Super Shuffle (there are two predecessors) but a better flashier cabinet design and some software improvements. It also added a new game to the mix, shown here. Something about “Bull Balls” (yes it does lean more towards the bar scene) which really is just a variation of the scoring areas on shuffleboard. The physics are pretty good on this for any of the games you play and you really have to watch the amount of power you throw the puck with. I also tip my hat to it being that it is something different than anything else among the video products at the show.
Cue coin drop #2, as I missed this one as well. By LAI Games, this is a virtual pinata bashing game simply called Pinata. You don’t need a blindfold to play it either (people bash on arcade machines enough as it is 😛 ). Just use the connected paddle to hit the red cone in the center which translates into smacks on the screen. It’s a simple videmption concept and there are two versions – the one shown here is to vend tickets but they also have a candy vending version.
The production (or really close to it) version of Sega’s Plants Vs. Zombies The Last Stand, next to a theater version of Transformers. Whether or not you are familiar with PvZ it’s a straightforward enough game to understand – shoot the approaching waves of zombies, shoot power-ups to make that task easier and survive for as long as you can. Graphically it is all rendered in 3D like the more recent Garden Warfare game. They also are going a step further with the license by doing the PvZ whack-a-mole game seen in the center there. \
Of the three rhythm games at the show, Hit The Beat is the most kid friendly yet I witnessed a lot of adults giving it a spin. Combining drumming with fruit slicing and rhythm is one of those ideas that bridges the age gap I suppose.
Battleship was hard to miss as it was at the front of the Baytek booth, thus being visible from further down. This is of course why they make these so huge although that will prevent some locations from being able to fit one inside.
It’s videmption and water powered, it’s Frost Island by Universal Space/UNIS. The water aspect makes this notable, the cabinet being designed to handle that just fine. I like the marquee and sideart but the in-game graphics aren’t anything to rave about.
ReRave Plus creator Kyle Ward showing how its done. This also has been mentioned a bit on the blog but for my own impression I came away feeling that while it maintains the core aspect of play, the tweaks/adjustments/changes made to Plus make it a better game and experience. The final cabinet screen will be placed about 6 inches higher than what you see here. They also will tie this in with the mobile versions of the game for some cross-platform style play in some manner.
Frank Cosentino of Bandai Namco giving Deadstorm Pirates Special Edition a spin. If you liked the original then you can’t go wrong with this update as they didn’t remove anything from the title, just added to it. The two new levels do have a stronger focus on boss fights as you fight them throughout the level instead of right at the end.
The Nightclub and Bar Show – Vegas was probably quite happy to have all these trade shows happening at the same time, one that was talked about quite a bit was the Nightclub and Bar Show. A few of the manufacturers that were setup at Amusement Expo also had a booth here, including Incredible Technologies and Barron Games.
Here’s the Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary pinball table at the NCAB show. I suppose all that liquor will make the colors stand out even more although I’m not really sure why Jersey Jack decided to hook up with a drink distributor to exhibit this time around.
This hasn’t a thing to do with the show, just the new High Roller Ferris wheel which is the current world’s largest setup in Las Vegas. While this concludes the pictures, once again I am still working on the videos and Part 3 of Amusement Expo coverage will be along any time now to wrap things up with those.