Newsbytes: Pinball Designer Arrested; VR Zone London; Zero Latency Vegas; Battle Robot Works

arcadehero August 26, 2017 2
Newsbytes: Pinball Designer Arrested; VR Zone London; Zero Latency Vegas; Battle Robot Works

Welcome to another Newsbytes. If you are in Southern Texas then please stay safe with the hurricane hitting the region; hopefully the damage afterwards will be as minimal as possible.

Pinball Designer John Trudeau Arrested On Alleged Possession Of Child Pornography

The Chicago Sun Times has the news that Mr. John Trudeau has been arrested and charged with two counts of possession of child pornography.

He has an impressive resume of pinball designs since the early 80s; his most recent design was Stern’s Ghostbusters and reports are that he finished Iron Maiden, in which case that would likely be announced for the end of this year or beginning of 2018.

This story is being debated on just about every arcade/pinball forum there is out there so between that and all of the other arrests in the news of the arcade industry lately, I’d just like to throw out the reminder that in the American legal justice system we’re supposed to follow the ideology that suspects of crimes are innocent until proven guilty…but the way internet headline judgement culture often works, that sense seems to be thrown out of the window in favor of confirmation bias and sensationalism.

Many lives have been ruined over presumption of guilt with plenty of examples to point to in history. Charges like this are frequently dropped but that news doesn’t always stick in people’s minds, especially if the person in question has some ‘celebrity’ attached to them. I’m not saying that the alleged crime here isn’t a big deal – I’m a father of three myself – but everyone should be entitled to a fair defense and an arrest is not a conviction. If he is guilty then he will get a deserved punishment of prison time plus and I doubt that he would be designing a pinball machine ever again.

In the case of the possession of illegal materials, it is not always cut and dry; you can have someone else with access to a computer having obtained illegal materials or there are viruses which intentionally infect computers with such things to incriminate a person.

Which leads us to another legal concept, the ‘rule of law’, i.e., no one is above the law. When you have entertainment creators arrested or convicted for something, there is usually a debate like this in regards to how people should treat their creations. The rule of law concept doesn’t say anything about that; what it should mean is that the person in question does not receive special treatment (pro or con) in regards to whatever crime it is they allegedly committed. That may not always happen since your are judged by fellow imperfect human beings, but it is an important ideal nonetheless.

Granted you can play what you want but let’s say he ends up guilty – he will pay for the crime and have that mark on him for the rest of his life; I’m just not sure how playing Creature of the Black Lagoon means you are personally condoning what one person involved in the production of the game did. That and most people have no idea who it is that designed a game as pinball machines rarely include credits.

We’ll keep an eye on this and update when appropriate.

Namco Opens VR Zone Facility In London

Onto more pleasant things, such as a new VR/arcade facility opening up in London, UK. Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report & DNA Association was there to check it out, providing this write-up for Yes it does include Mario Kart VR but as we’ve pointed out previously, Namco developed some other original concepts to enjoy while there, such as Argyle Shift (pictured):

Argyle Shift VR, VR Zone London

Zero Latency VR Coming To The MGM Grand In Las Vegas

On the subject of VR amusement, Australian company Zero Latency is expanding their reach with a new facility set to open soon at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Zero Latency has setup nine locations around the world so far, including at a Sega Joypolis in Japan and an FEC in Orlando, FL; they focus on building VR arenas that are open, allowing multiple players to battle it out in the custom games that they have developed. We’ve mentioned them before…here’s a video explaining how it works:

Namco Testing Out Battle Robot Works In Japan

With more Namco in the news, we also have robots ripping each other apart. The concept of Robot Wars isn’t new but Namco is giving the idea a fresh take in Japan with “Battle Robot Works”. Something like this can only serve as an attraction; Namco did have a self-contained robotic game almost ready to release some years ago by the name of Robo-Restle by Robotic Amusements but it was canned at the last minute.

How Do Arcades Survive – Decor & Customization

Site friend and UK arcade manager Toby has written up another article showcasing just how arcades manage to survive out there these days. The latest article is on LinkedIn and covers decor & theming of a location, which can go a long way in creating a “feel” for a place when you step inside. Having setup four different venues myself, I know exactly how important this is as your game selection can be copied by pretty much anyone while the venue theme and appearance tends to be an area that location owners can have fun with. Granted, the better the budget, the more you can do in that regard although there are plenty of ways to be creative with restricted budgets (there have been cable TV shows like Restaurant Impossible where the decor/theme is often a major issue that they have to resolve within a budget of $10,000).

My most recent arcade move has put me into the best looking store that I’ve run so far and I’ve received many compliments as to how it looks compared to before. I’ve “classed it up” and people do appreciate it more; it is also easier to maintain (since the floors are no longer carpet). But that was all because I had a better budget this time around while the previous location I barely scrapped by to make what it was work.

What is your favorite theme that you have seen in a venue?



  1. Da Flex August 29, 2017 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Robot Wars actually belongs to arcade halls, but security issues (bullet-proof window panes etc.) make it impossible. Battle Bots is here in German TV, too, and I’m always watching it.

  2. Alfred August 29, 2017 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Design of arcades is such an interesting thing. The best ideas for the design, are also the best ideas for a multiplayer game. Open ways to walk, spots to recognize where you are, and a good feel. Some of the conventions I work at, I want to put a PAC Man or Donkey Kong on the map just so people realize what else they are looking at.

    When its done right, the feeling is amazing. The Gameworks in Seattle almost feels like a spaceship hiding out as an arcade. Castles and Coasters in Phoenix AZ feels like a palace.

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