For today’s newsbag, I’m going to use it to wrap up Amusement Expo 2015 which took place earlier this week in Las Vegas, NV.
I attended the show for the two days that they held the trade show, not attending the educational seminar portion on Tuesday. Per usual there wasn’t much around to “surprise” me, given that I know a lot about the products on hand or I have played them already. Despite that it is still good to get a chance to give certain games another spin and to have some great conversations with people that often I only see at trade shows or we talk via e-mail. Sorry if I missed you but I hope that if you went that it was a great show.
To be 100% honest, it felt like a recap of the coin-op portion of IAAPA, with some minor differences and much shorter lines/wait times. As such, I did not capture as much video as I normally do from trade shows since I have that footage in hand already. As such, my predictions/guesses from earlier this week were off on a few different companies.
Full overview – Here is what I captured, there are a few new pieces in videmption to look at, such as BayTek’s Grand Piano Keys and Flappy Bird Mechandiser. I did miss getting video on a cool new crane that Sega had, which is designed by the same team that did UFO Catcher, something where all of the aspects of it are modular. I also skipped getting video on a couple of games I had from IAAPA so I reused those clips here (cases of Showdown and Star Wars):
Time Crisis 5 – This would be one title that I was waiting to get my hands on, it skipped IAAPA and showed up in the UK for EAG 2015. Here’s my video overview of it, I think it is a great game although it will be better once it adds those 3 extra stages (and hopefully corrects the blank screen loading problem in between stages). I also can’t tell you with a fresh memory how it compares to previous TC games in that it has been several years since I had the chance to play any of those. The core ideas of TC are intact, the dual pedal system is a change but it worked out smoothly.
WrestleMania & Whoa Nellie Big Juicy Melons Pinball – For Stern’s part, they had quite the booth for this show. IAAPA 2014 had 3 different pinball booths but Stern was alone in that regard this time around. With 3 WrestleMania pins (one of them an LE), two The Walking Dead Pins (one a Premium), a Mustang and the new Whoa Nellie! Big Juicy Melons, there was plenty to do at their booth – if you could manage to get on a machine.
Big Buck HD Wild – I’ve talked about this one already on the blog but there was a strong focus at Raw Thrills to promote it so may as well mention this. At the show they had the top Big Buck players at the booth as “Game Wardens”, where they have been trained in promoting the game to different regions around the country. With the April 1st release of the software, changes are coming to the tournaments of BBHD so these wardens will participate in promoting that. It is sort of like what rhythm gaming fans have done for games like DDR or PIU but with some official corporate backing as opposed to the informal club style. There were also some minor changes to the graphics in the zombie game. Here is the promo trailer that has already been shared on AH here:
So that is that! I am working on videos for Big Buck HD Wild (more of a review) as well as Jurassic Park Arcade unboxing (I need the cabinet to get here first) so those should be hitting in the next week or so.
Anything else? – As I have not updated the site for the past few days, I have been trying to keep tabs on news out there although there hasn’t been a ton of stuff going on from what I can see. That is typical of trade show periods where those tend to soak up the news.
One thing that did happen right before I left that I was going to do a full post about, was an update to the situation surrounding Predator Pinball by Skit-B Pinball. To make a long story short, they never had the license in the first place despite saying otherwise while gladly taking pre-order money. I’ve seen some coming to the defense of Skit-B, still believing his stories about everything but I think that you should call things for what they are, in this case an out-right attempt at a scam. Even if you use the angle that there was no intention to steal investor money, there was an intention to steal Fox’s IP, hoping they wouldn’t find out about such a small project and continuing to build games despite receiving several Cease & Desist letters from Fox. <- If you are interested in this story then I highly recommend this last link, getting both sides of the story in gratuitous detail.
At this point Kevin of Skit-B is still claiming that refunds will be taken care of and that he never intended to cheat people out of their money but until the refunds are issued for every single person that pre-ordered, those promises are going to ring hollow. Judging by this thread, no official refunds seem to have been issued despite the story being out there for several days. Excuses are being still being offered but with over $1 million at play here, you can bet on legal action happening before too long if people are left hanging much longer.
Overall, I think the era of the pre-order pinball is dead for most people as the next time some newcomer tries to do that, Skit-B will be the byword mentioned for the process. While I had believed the hype for a while, this is a good reminder to “trust but verify”, moreso when a newbie shows up asking for pre-order money up-front to ‘fund’ the game development. Speaking of that, I wonder what is going on with VonnieD Pinball? While I don’t mean to imply that they are doing the same thing as Skit-B, they have been extremely quiet and non-responsive to my requests for updates after their successful Kickstarter; I haven’t seen anyone else really talk about them lately, where their Pinball Gremlins title was supposed to have launched back in October 2014. Knock on wood perhaps.
I’m going to skip Name That Game this week so I can work on other video stuff. Have a great weekend everyone!