After a fairly mellow 2017, the Japanese arcade industry seems to have awoken from their slumber as we’re just getting hit with news left and right. Not complaining, just observing. 😉
Shoot Away – A Quick History
When you read the headline, it is certainly possible that the title Shoot Away didn’t ring any bells. I’ve never seen one in the US and most gamers were only exposed to the titles via mini-game additions that Namco put into console ports of titles like Time Crisis II or Point Blank DS.
The first Shoot Away appeared in 1977/1984 (US arcade pages all say ’84 but the Namco JAEPO page calls it “the 1977 masterpiece game” – the burnt orange does look more like one of those aesthetic choices that were all the rage in the 70s), promising a realistic as it could get recreation of skeet/clay pigeon shooting with genuine looking shotgun controllers. It would have been quite the sight to behold back in ’84, offering something that looked quite different from anything else you’d expect to see at an arcade. By the images I’ve seen, these were not dinky plastic controllers and they weren’t small either. The cabinet stood out with a huge screen, although it was not an LCD display – monochrome images of the clay pigeons were projected onto the screen that you would shoot at.
A sequel was released in 1993 entitled Shoot Away II that consolidated the control panels into one, still used long shotgun controllers and increased the size of the projection screen. This is the version that was ported to consoles as mentioned.
Shoot Away Pro
Fast forward to 2018 and Namco is bringing the game back but not just for Japan it seems – the JAEPO 2018 webpage translates this as “For worldwide”. I reached out to Bandai Namco Amusements America about this but they have no comment on it at the moment so we’ll just have to hold tight regarding news on distribution. Judging by the cabinet, I imagine this would be easy to offer to FECs as the latest in the ‘world’s largest’ kind of games which Namco has with World’s Largest Pac-Man.
As for the game itself, it still promises to give us a solid recreation of skeet shooting using “masterfully crafted shotgun[s]” as you blast the clay pigeons on a 100″ screen. Namco actually tested this out in Japan in December and from that we get more information thanks to this thread on Twitter. From that, the screen appears to still be a projection screen as opposed to a 100″ LCD display; there is what looks to be a touchscreen built into the control panel and like the originals, it offers three modes of difficulty for players to enjoy. The guns are heavier than your typical light-gun which might take some getting used to; I also read a comment saying that it has a ‘satisfying analog crack when the clay pigeon shatters.’
If this is destined for a worldwide release then I imagine that we might see it as soon as Amusement Expo at the end of the month; if it isn’t there but Namco still wants to bring it over, they don’t have to wait for trade shows to debut it or test it but IAAPA would be the likely chance that I would see one. What are your thoughts on this upcoming resurrection of an old concept?
Before ending this post, if you hit up the JAEPO page then you probably noticed another unique game lumped in with the Overseas releases – Nice PingPong. I don’t have much info on this one either but it looks like a ping pong/table tennis concept that could work as attendant-less coin-op and work for a single player against the machine. It certainly appears to be modeled after something that an FEC would go for, hearkening back to the big sports game simulators of the late 90s/early 00s that were the rage for a time. Given that this is classified as an overseas game, the flyer is all in English and it has ticket redemption, keep an eye out for it in the US sometime soon.