Today marks the beginning of a major amusement trade show over in China, known as the GTI Asia China Expo. We’ve covered previous expos from afar in the past (I’ve never attended one in person and am not present at the one going on right now), where on occasion the titles shown there eventually end up on Western shores. Most titles do not however, as they are primarily designed for either the Chinese amusement market, or wider Eastern markets (Asia/Australia).
The first pictures I’ve come across for this year’s event came from UNIS, where they shared a few photos from their massive booth setup. Most of the products I was seeing were at IAAPA 2017, until I came across this photo below. This was screencapped and enhanced (sharpened/color adjustment) for you to check out:On the left side of the image, you’ll see their basketball game Extreme Shot, then moving over to the right is a bank of what I believe is the UNIS/China-exclusive version of Raw Thrills’ Cruis’n Blast. Apart from the unique cabinet design, that one also sports a motion seat.
What really caught my eye was the pair of games on the right – a soccer game. It’s too bad that AH writer TwistedSupreme isn’t around anymore, as he was a big fan of the sport and would likely find this to be interesting. Unfortunately I cannot read Chinese so I am not sure what it is called, but in looking closely at the text on the banner, it says “4&4;” you can also see it show one cabinet “vs” the other on the left side of the banner. It’s safe to say that this offers 4 players per cabinet and can link together, for a total of 8-player/4v4 matches. Such matches could prove to be quite interesting, especially if this game finds the right venue. While soccer/football still doesn’t carry quite as much interest behind it in the US as in other parts of the world, that interest has been going up in recent years. I’ve openly wondered on the blog before why we haven’t seen anyone attempt a soccer game apart from Sega’s WCCF or the old Kick-It titles. In case anyone cares for some history, we published a look at soccer arcade games back in 2014.
As you can see, the game is controlled primarily through a joystick, but they also added a feature that Namco used in their World Kicks title from 2001. Players kick the ball in-game by literally kicking the attached soccer ball on the bottom of the game. Of course operators look at that and see a part that will wear out after a while; but for players, it does add a simulator element to the game that elevates it above your typical joystick/gamepad fare.
We’ll keep our eyes peeled for any more information on this and other new titles that pop-up at GTI. Will this see a Western release? Unknown at this moment, but I will ask UNIS about it; otherwise we’ll have to see if it is at IAAPA 2018 or not.