What is going on in the wonderful world of Japanese arcades? While news on the site here has been a bit slow this Summer, there is a lot that has been going on in the Land of the Rising Sun. Granted, output of bona-fide Japanese arcade games has also been slow compared to previous years as more game makers chase the VR dream. Still, you can find coin-op gaming if you know where to look so let’s get you up to speed:
Sega World Drivers Championship 2018 Release Date Announced
You may recall that not long ago, Sega began testing a new arcade driving game by the name of Sega World Drivers Championship 2018. We haven’t heard about it coming to Western shores yet (we’ll see at IAAPA…unless a loctest shows up beforehand) but for Japanese gamers looking to enjoy this more technical driving experience, look for it to land in Japanese arcades March 2018.
Sega Launches Border Break Zero Plus
The latest software for Sega’s mech combat game is now live in Japan, Border Break Zero Plus. This adds new stages, vehicles, weapons and items to make it the most complete version of the BB games created so far. This game series is also enjoying it’s 8th anniversary today, complete with a webpage to showcase it. (Today also marks another anniversary that Sega fans are celebrating, the launch of the Dreamcast). I’m still hopeful that one day we’ll get another mech game out West but no one is working on such a thing as far as I know…
Before moving on from Sega, readers of the site who have been with us since the beginning will recall AH writer TwistedSupreme. He enjoyed Sega’s World Club Champion Football arcade simulation games and wrote about them a few times. I haven’t heard from TS in years but he would certainly be interested to hear that Sega tested out a new version of the game this Summer. This also follows a new software update for WCCF 2016-2017 Ver. 3 that launches this week. No clue if they might bring it to Europe again (I’m sure many people would be happy if a more recent version of Sega Derby Owner’s Club would get a Western release) but it could always happen.
Konami Releases Gitadora Matixx Bemani Games
While I don’t track every content update there is for Japanese rhythm games, I’ve seen that a few games have been enjoying a stream of new content this year, which is part of keeping players coming back to certain titles. If you are on the Bemani train then Konami has some new games for you, specifically their newer versions of Guitar Freaks / DrumMania in the form what they call Gitadora. You can see those cabinets pictured here and perhaps Round1USA or Dave & Busters will be giving the game some attention with an import to the US?
Konami also tested out Beatmania IIDX 25 Cannon Ballers recently but I thought I read that the test was canceled early for some reason.
Bombergirl Continues Testing
Since I’m mentioning Konami, I also should mention that Bombergirl has received several tests over the Summer. I haven’t read about a release date for the game yet, nor have I read about any major changes to the game but with as many tests as it has had, I’m sure there have been tweaks to the software and how it plays. The game cabinet has undergone some minor changes; here is the most recent image of a 4p bombergirl setup followed by the first image that Konami had shown of the cabs earlier this year:
Ultra Street Fighter IV Launches On NESiCAxLIVe 2
No Street Fighter V for arcades (officially) yet but if you want the ultimate edition of SFIV, it is now obtainable on Taito’s NESICA2 network.
Million Arthur Arcana Blood Receives Location Testing
If you like 2D anime fighters then a new version of the Arcana Heart series also has begun testing in Japan today and willb e held through tomorrow. Looks like Square Enix is handling this version; I don’t think that Arcana Heart 2 sold very well when Andamiro brought it over to the US around 2008 but they didn’t really seem to put a lot of effort into marketing it (to be fair, no one who has brought a fighting game over to the US in recent years has spent much marketing capital on promoting the games as for sale; more than once we’ve been the only site to mention a particular game, the official websites for the manufacturers not even bringing it up)
Koei Tecmo Begins 2nd Location Test For VR Sense
Speaking of virtual reality at the top of the post, Koei Tecmo began a location test for their new VR SENSE pods in Japan today. As we’ve previously mentioned, this device serves as an arcade kiosk for VR gaming, offering additional effects such as seat rumble, air blasts and scents to recreate smells. Koei Tecmo is testing three titles in the units, two of which are well-known KT franchises – Dead Or Alive Xtreme and Dynasty Warriors, then you have GI Jockey Sense. They will have six titles available for it at launch with “more in development” although a release date has not been shared as of yet.
It appears that Koei Tecmo may be aiming to sell this out West as they have applied for international patents and are also advertising that it operates with 100(110/120)V power. They are selling them for what coverts to a few hundred dollars shy of $30,000USD, which is also fairly competitive compared to some other VR/arcade systems I’ve seen out there. Will anyone over here jump on it though?
Whew! That was quiet a bit of news to cover. It is always good that Japanese arcades still have new content to look forward to; I’ve been wondering if operators there have been as crazy about getting VR as the hype seems to promote. If you could only have one of these titles receive a major release out West, which one would it be?