Happy weekend everyone. Let’s get to the headlines.
First off, for anyone in the Carolinas, you probably won’t be reading this, but I hope that everyone will be safe. At the very least the storm became much weaker as it approached, but the flooding still causes serious issues.
We’ve got a few VR items to cover this week, but let me start with the disclaimer that I see these as attractions (like bowling, go-karts, laser tag, rope courses, etc.) and not some kind of total replacement for coin-op/card swipe video arcades. I’ve been seeing a lot of that lately and I think that we do standard arcades a disservice by positioning VR as a “replacement” and not as an “addition” to such amusements. I’ll have to make a new vlog getting deeper into that thinking sometime soon; we also might have a new podcast for you this week. 😉
With that all said, to the news:
Cineplex Inc. & VRStudios Inc. Announce Partnership
Cineplex is a company we’ve seen in the news a few times recently. They are a Canadian operator/distributor who is responsible for a number of locations such as the Rec Room. For VRStudios, we first heard about them in 2013 when news about VRcade came about, and they have been going ever since. They currently offer “untethered multiplayer, free-roaming, room-scale and warehouse-scale commercial VR attractions. It features eight unique VR experiences in environments ranging in size from 100 to 2,400 square feet.”
From the press release:
Cineplex has recently installed a VRstudios attraction at The Rec Room in South Edmonton, Alberta, and plans to open approximately 30-40 additional locations across its theatre and LBE networks in Canada by the end of 2021.
The potential for expansion the US is also there, as Cineplex also owns P1AG or Player One Amusement Group, a distributor in the US. You can read more about this deal here.
Metal Slug Going VR
When touchscreen gaming on smartphones became huge, we saw a glut of software use the control method for the tech, even when it really wasn’t the optimal or correct input method for the genre in question. When you ask me about what gaming franchises would work best as VR titles, I would place any 2D platformer at the bottom of the list.
So this news that Metal Slug is going VR has me a little perplexed. Yes, there are games that have made the genre-jump before like Metroid, but Metroid was not exactly a non-stop arcade action platformer to begin with. By the sounds of it, Metal Slug VR will be a first-person effort, likely with plenty of action as you would hope and expect from the series. But, I’m going to be skeptical about this one making such a transition. Maybe Crossed Swords would be a better fit for the format, although no one remembers that like they do Metal Slug.
Namco’s Rapid River Returns With Rapid River VR
For a game that would be a better fit with VR tech, there’s Namco’s ’90s classic Rapid River. The company is launching another VR ZONE location in Japan, this time in Osaka. As a part of the new games, they have a Godzilla VR experience and this return to Rapid River. I’m kind of surprised that Namco didn’t try their dome screen technology with this one first
Beyond all of that, you have a couple of other VR headlines:
Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle Sees Several Arcade Classics Come To Consoles
If you own any modern gaming platform (NSW/PC/PS4/XB1) and enjoyed any of Capcom’s coin-op arcade beat ’em ups of the past, then you are in luck. This next week sees the release of many great classics onto home platforms, with great features such as being able to play the games with a friend online. Here’s the announcement trailer; I really do imagine that an official coin-op arcade version of this would be desirable for retrocades and home collectors, but chances of that happening are probably nil.
Horror Nights Orlando Hearts ’80s Arcades
Thanks to Stingray for pointing this one out. If you are in the area of Universal Orlando this Halloween season, be sure to check out the “’80’s Arcade” they have going on as a part of the spooky celebrations
— Attractions Magazine (@Attractions) September 14, 2018
The House Of The Dead Prototype On Model 2
Last week we mentioned that Sega’s The House Of The Dead prototype software was released to the emulation community and already modders have begun making some changes. This one puts the game on slightly different hardware; the original ran on Sega Model 2C CRX while this mod has it running on the plain ol’ Model 2 (which was used by the older Daytona USA).
Pac-Man Floor Mat
Bandai Namco Amusements has been a little more lively on their social media accounts over the past couple of weeks, one of those posts highlighting a new Pac-Man floor mat that is sure to find a nice home in many game rooms around the planet:
If you've ever dreamt about walking the Pac-Man maze yourself, we have just the thing. The Pac-Man maze carpet comes in three sizes, and is a lively and fun way to accent any room. Just watch out for the ghosts! For more info: https://t.co/b0xTyGRnwc pic.twitter.com/EvjCj9yjiJ
— BANDAI NAMCO Amusement (@BandaiNamcoAM) September 13, 2018
Emulating Weird Old Arcade Hardware
Unreliable hardware has always been the bane of an operator and player’s existence, as a game that’s off doesn’t earn because it doesn’t get played. Konami once experimented with an odd type of data storage called Bubble Memory, which was used on games like Gradius and Twin Bee. This wasn’t the best choice for use in arcades and was quickly abandoned, but there’s always someone with the electrical engineering skill who likes to bring a modern take on these things, hence the tweet below:
— きんのじ (@v9938) September 9, 2018
That’s all I’ve got for this weekend. Thanks for reading!