Here is a post for those of our readers that are in or near the Keystone State (Pennsylvania, for those unfamiliar with the nickname).
ReplayFX – First is a big event that starts this Thursday in Pittsburgh and will be operational through August 2nd, the REplayFX event. Rivaling big events like California Extreme, this event is bringing together “more than 700 arcade and pinball machines, over 2,000 retro console games, tabletop games, a showcase of new products by game developers, a full lineup of seminars, magicians, live musicians, balloon artists, face-painters, competitions offering over $110,000 in prize money, and more!“.
Here’s a tweet showing that the setup is well under-way:
— ausretrogamer (@ausretrogamer) July 29, 2015
Among the competitions and newer products is a booth by Raw Thrills. This is unusual for the company as far as I am aware – aside from Big Buck related events they have only setup booths at industry trade shows. For REplayFX, they are holding a Big Buck Wild tournament and a tournament on their racing games where participants can win cash. This would also be the first time I am aware of that they are holding an official tournament for their racing games. More details can be found in these images here:
The Game Is Afoot Arcade Opens in Warrington, PA –
UPDATE: For the record, the owner of this arcade reached out to us to dispute our take on their setup. I will include it along with my original commentary below – note that I did my own research into this as well with various industry connections before posting about this in the first place and I stand by my original analysis, which I could gladly build upon if necessary. For their side of the story:
I have looked at your website’s post. Our company was concerned with the legality of doing this in a commercial environment prior to doing this business model. These machines were built and acquired by a company in NJ called Arcades R Fun. We sat down with their owner and showed him the MAME policy on using these machines in a commercial environment. He has been supplying these machines and dealing with this issue for over 11 years. He told us that every once in a while, some legal issue flairs up because people just read the MAME website and assume it is being done illegally. If you read further on the MAME website, you will see exceptions to this software agreement. His company pays a licensing fee and he knows several of the software developers personally. The Game is Afoot Arcade was told that if anyone asks about the legality issues of his Hyper-Spin and Hyper-Pin machines, that his company has it covered. As a matter of fact, Jack has the software designer for Hyper-Pin 2 designing a feature special for our pinball tables to set up a theme menu to make it easier to find the kind of table you wish to play. Prior to starting our business, we had our attorney at Davis Law look into this legal matter. So we did not start this Arcade this way without first being assured that we were not violating any policies.
Part of the news here is an emulated cabinet builder passing their games off as commercially acceptable to their clientele. The chances of that being true (i.e., them having contractually licensed all of their ROMs and the emulators for commercial use) is incredibly unlikely and I notice that they do not make any such claim on their website, which if true would mean they are the only company on earth that is able to legally create cabinets with licensed Nintendo, Sega, Namco, Atari, etc, etc, etc ROMs on them. We’ll have to see how this pans out.
ORIGNAL POST: This one I wasn’t really sure about mentioning as I am not sure what to make of it. I thought it might be a hoax or a joke but it is a real place that apparently opened on June 13th according to their FB page. They are trying out a business model that shouldn’t have got anywhere in the first place since it isn’t legal anywhere. When it comes to the famous arcade emulator MAME and other emulators running ROMs, “everyone knows” that you cannot use it for commercial purposes. This venue has decided for some reason to feature various MAME cabinets plus cabinets running game console emulators, topped off with some Virtual Pinball machines also running emulation. Yes that gives them a big selection of software to choose from and it was probably super cheap to build, but that is still a moot point when you’re not on solid ground from the legal standpoint (besides, multi-game cabinets running legal software rarely are strong earners on a pay-per-game model). The Game Is Afoot is doing a pay-per-time scale but that won’t change anything from the legal angle since it is still commercial use. At least it isn’t 100% emulated stuff – They do have a couple of real pinball machines, an Austin Powers and a Jungle Queen; along with an actual Gauntlet Legends and Star Trek Voyage arcade cabs. I don’t want to be a ‘Debbie Downer’ on any new arcade location but one has to wonder why anyone would try and operate emulated cabs like this. If they want to stick around it would be time to dump all of the emulated stuff and get some authentic games in there post-haste. If you are interested in checking them out, their official website is here.