Another day of IAAPA has passed and not just my feet are feeling it but so is my brain. I’ve never shot so much video at an event but it keeps me busy. I’m just trying to make sure that I get it all.
Due to videos being a time consuming process I have not had much time to edit & render that stuff yet so what I will continue to do here is share impressions of what I came across yesterday & today.
The Rabbids Takeover
One unexpected turn of events has been the prevalence of Ubisoft and their “Rabbids” characters within the arcade industry. I don’t know if they have a specific division now that deals with amusement/arcade content but it certainly seems that way.
Today, the company held a press conference with Canadian manufacturer Triotech as they announced the latter company would be entering the “Virtual Reality market segment” with Ubisoft providing content to them for use in their amusement applications. The announcement included Virtual Rabbids The Big Maze as well as Assassin’s Creed. Before anyone asks, I did not see anything about the Star Trek Bridge Crew mentioned in the materials as that is another thing Ubisoft has done recently.
The attraction uses 10 sq. meters of space and is “fully modular”, using ASTERION VR hardware. Interestingly enough, this modular design appears to be setup in a similar way to the We Play VR modular design that is found over at the Bandai Namco Amusements booth.
Since we’re mentioning Triotech here, they also had a new experience for their XD Dark Ride called Fear The Walking Dead Survival, replete with a zombie theme and zombie actors outside the booth.
Virtual Rabbids The Big Ride
Getting back to Rabbids, before the show we had heard about a few different Rabbids themed games. The main one is Virtual Rabbids The Big Ride by LAI Games. As mentioned on the blog before, this is a 4D/5D experience that incorporates motion, wind & VR into the same package. It’s a big piece too, easily attracting attention to itself.
There are two seats, each user having to pay for the side they want to use. After sitting down, you grab a face mask that goes over your eyes & ears. Place the headset on and adjust the straps, then point the cursor in the center at the ride experience you want to do. There are three to choose from, each being about 3 minutes in length. I’ve not had much experience with the Rabbids home games but I can see how they are appealing to kids with a goofy charm. Kind of like the Minions from Despicable Me.
While it’s not interactive like a game, the user can look around of course – adults usually just looking forward while kids tend to be more curious and look around. The best part of the design has to be the motion. It is normal to find motion simulators where the motion itself is off from what you are seeing on the screen (either by a little or by a lot). I tried two of the three rides and found the motion to be perfect.
This game has been on test for a little while now but it flew under our radar until a couple of days before the show. As a big 120″ projection screen arcade shooter, this brings a 4-player gun experience to FECs starring the Rabbids. It is being handled by Adrenaline Amusements, who has not been shy in the past when it comes to bringing big games to market and they certainly went big with this game.
Here, the Rabbids are starring in a movie, meaning each level is themed. The software at the show only had the Western theme to it, with Sci-Fi & Zombies also mentioned. You just shoot at the Rabbids that pop up on the screen, maintaining your health as best as possible. There is no reload, just hold the trigger and it will fire. A power-up appears that does a rapid-fire function for a moment, which is fun to use. The gun also has force feedback, nothing too intense and the levels are long.
Rabbids Ticket Fiesta
Also by Adrenaline Amusements, this game gets more into the party game roots of the Rabbids than these other titles. You participate in one of three multiplayer mini-games, using a motion-sensing plunger to control your character. It’s certainly a distinct controller. One I played you use it as a steering wheel to guide your turkey as you play a king-of-the-hill/demolition derby style game of knocking each other off the platform into the cacti below; another I watched involves holding your plunger sideways and pushing it down at the last second possible to set off your fireworks backpack. This is all done for winning tickets and it is fun when played with multiple people. If you play alone, the computer fills in the other three spots for you.
All of these games are headed for production in early 2018; since I’m mentioning Adrenaline they also have a bigger version of Crazy Tower but it doesn’t say “Mega” on it. It’s just Crazy Tower and bigger.
We’ve discussed the Electro-Mechanical Atari licensed PONG table a few times before and now I finally had a chance to see and play one in person. This is thanks to UNIS as they take up distribution for the product around the world. The version seen at the show is just for home (which is why the size is where it’s at) with promises of an “air hockey sized” commercial version sometime in 2018. There is a single-player mode that I tried although it was surprisingly tough.
Daytona Championship USA & Operation GHOST
UPDATE: The Sega rep I talked to wanted to mention that they consider this the “definitive version” of Daytona Championship USA thanks to the improvements mentioned below. I played the game at a venue local to the Convention Center (Andretti’s Go-Kart track; I walked by their quad set of Daytona’s and one had a credit on it but it wasn’t running the same software version, had a 2-speed shifter and for some reason, the sound was almost turned off). I could compare it with that and noticed that the steering is certainly better in the show version. I also learned of a subtle feature – if someone like a child accidentally selects manual shifting but doesn’t use the shifter, the game will automatically detect that shifting hasn’t been used after so long (times depend on the track) then change it to Automatic. That’s a useful adaptation of the auto-gas feature that racers have had since the 90s. Having played with both the Up/Down & the new 4-speed shifters, it’s easy to “feel” how superior the new one is (apart from the fact that Daytona USA uses such a shifter).
Original Post: First seen at IAAPA 2016, the resurrection of Daytona USA is back this year with new graphics, tuned handling, and the coveted 4-speed stick shifter. I played Lakeside Castle and enjoyed it, noticing the improvements to the software but also finding that it really is nicer with the “proper” stick shifter in place. Sega has eight of these on their booth and has been running a tournament while also setting up a seminar to educate operators on how to make use of the many game features.
Sega also has introduced an upright version of their Target Bravo: Operation GHOST at the show. Seems to play the same as the environmental version that is also here, just on a smaller screen. This is the best version of the software that is out there but the game is showing its age graphically; it is really too bad they didn’t give it an HD re-texture.
UPDATE: Here’s video of TBOG:
Original post: Pic of the new cabinet design:
Sega did not introduce any brand new video-only experiences at the show; I had heard that the new shooter would be there but that changed. We’ll see if that instead comes to the London amusement show in January.
There’s much more to talk about but that’s all the time I have for writing at the moment – back to the show!