The problem with a major trade show like IAAPA, is that it happens before one of the busiest weeks of the year 😛 That said, I’ve found time to throw together some videos of the titles seen at the show, so let’s get into Part 2 of our IAAPA 2018 coverage.
In case you missed part 1, click here. If you haven’t subscribed to the Arcade Heroes video channels to see these when they are uploaded, then you can follow us on YouTube or the newer alternative platform, BitChute.
Super Bikes 3 (Raw Thrills)
This event marked the first time that Super Bikes 3 had been seen by the industry, and it came ready to make a strong first impression. The cabinet is where it’s at, Raw Thrills finding a way to elevate the ideas behind Super Bikes 2 and MotoGP for something fresh and appealing. That is less about the LEDs as it is the chrome piping and accents on various parts of the cabinet; the letters of the marquee appear to hang in the air, with the 3D letters suspended in plexiglass. It’s a great effect that I hope is in the production models. (As a note, this is slated for release in March 2019, so changes can happen).
As for the game itself, well…it’s Super Bikes. Nothing really surprising there. Given how well that did on the market, if you liked either of the previous SB games, you’ll like this. They did add a way to skip selecting a bike and just jump into a race if that’s all you want; the ending also has a cool multi-angle photo finish. But the racing itself is made to appeal broadly, which means that you don’t really crash, and apart from the game being very forgiving to errors, it throws a lot of over-the-top, explosive action into the mix. It does kind of feel like you’re snowboarding a lot of the time, with how the tracks are structured to catch air while going downhill. Graphically it looks fantastic, on par (probably slightly better in terms of lighting) with Cruis’n Blast and the wind feature is more effective than MotoGP. I do hope more realistic bike sounds are added to the game for production, I raced with one bike which had the exact same sound as found with the cars in all of the Fast & Furious racing games.
The show model only had three of the five tracks available.
Atari PONG Tables Coin-op (UNIS)
We’ve seen these tables before, but not in the long-awaited coin-op styles. The first units were designed for residential use and as small coffee tables, while these new versions are larger so that they are not so easily missed in arcades. The bar model is a little larger and taller than the coffee table model, while the Cocktail models are the easiest to notice in a crowded room. The nicest thing about the latter is that the location can adjust the height of the unit, a nice touch.
The controls still feel very floaty, but are easy to get used to. Don’t go into it expecting 1:1 physics with the original Pong – perhaps it just wasn’t possible to do such a thing in an electromechanical setting. One thing I noticed in looking at video and photos after I uploaded this, is that the games do have USB ports on them, I assume for charging your phone.
The games do have Easy, Normal and Hard difficulty settings in case you want to challenge yourself against the computer. One guy I filmed must have picked hard, as he was decimated in a single match. Otherwise, it’s a simple game with a fresh way of presenting a true classic. I’d be curious to see some earnings reports on it though…
Mystery Island (Touch Magix)
This company is getting some very good advice, as they came to IAAPA loaded with new concepts that are ready to ship. The most intriguing of the three new games was Mystery Island, a title we had seen in a rough prototype form back in the Summer.
The basic premise of the game is kind of like the old Atari classic Pitfall – traverse a dangerous jungle in search of treasure, your ability to jump your main defense. The presentation is completely unique however, as the company has taken their years of expertise in projection mapping and turned it into a game. This makes it one of the first true “Mixed Reality” games, bolstered by the fact that no wearable tech is required. The effect is such that it really has to be seen in person to be appreciated; the effect was also greatly improved from the prototype. The initial model had some warping effects, while none were to be seen in the production model.
There are two game modes, a beginner and an expert, with different island graphics depending on which one you pick. There are also power-ups to grab, such as one that makes you invincible for a time (one suggestion to improve that would be to have a voice over or something make it more obvious that such an effect is present, as I only figured that out by watching someone run through obstacles unharmed after the pick up). The game was made for ticket play, but can work as amusement-only. I just imagine that with as simple as it is, it would earn better as a redemption piece.
A great touch that isn’t easy to see in the video – the model sailboat in the lower left of the cabinet:
Pirates of the Caribbean (Jersey Jack Pinball)
First seen at IAAPA 2017, the production models of POTC pinball were on hand to enjoy. I didn’t really see a giant difference between the two versions – the disc in the center changed and I didn’t see any magnet action, but otherwise all of the major toys and features were intact. The software was certainly improved, bringing better lighting effects and more details in the characters and their rule sets.
As mentioned in the video, I’m not into POTC and have not seen any of the films in well over a decade, so I couldn’t really remember anything about the characters other than them being pirates. But, you need zero knowledge of the franchise to approach and enjoy the game. As usual, JJP has done an excellent job with the animations/on-screen graphics. They are exquisitely detailed and seem to integrate movie clips rather well. My only complaint (which can also apply to their other games) is that the screen tends to get a bit busy at times, so I just keep my focus on the ball. It’s great if you’re standing by and watching the game, but still can get a little too busy. Fortunately, the voice overs are clear and help remind you what to shoot for.
The two models at the show were LEs, but as I recall, the differences aren’t major – the LEs don’t have any unique playfields or anything like that. They do have the LED starfield in the back, Invisiglass and a shaker motor. But playing an LE isn’t so different that you feel like it’s a different game, which is appreciated:
Pump It Up XX 20th Anniversary Edition (Andamiro)
Here’s one game I admit that I didn’t play, I just watched. In part, Andamiro brought some players down to show the game off, while allowing them the chance to really get into it. They even streamed hours of footage of the game being played, which is a nice way to reach out the players. For operators though, it’s always a bit intimidating to even try to get on the machine, so I was surprised when I caught a couple of casual players giving it a spin in the video below.
The lighting effects on the LX cabinet were very well done here, much more animated and involved than I recall with Prime 2 (maybe I just wasn’t paying attention or didn’t see the right song). Otherwise, I’m only aware of this software adding in around 100 more songs for players to enjoy. IF more info comes out about this, I’ll be happy to update.
IAAPA was also my first chance to play the Rampage game that came out earlier this year. Where I own an original 1986 Rampage, the gameplay was fresh in my mind, where I could see where they were going with this.
I don’t envy anyone tasked with doing remakes, as making classic gaming fans happy with a videmption game is a tall order. The basic idea of Rampage is still there – smash buildings, smash vehicles, get shot by soldiers, collect power-ups. The pace has been ratcheted up quite a bit, so there are no more pauses with newscasts telling you where you’re going next. It’s just level a block, jump to the next, level a block, jump to the next, etc. While simplified from the original, they could have gone further, but didn’t. I believe it is endless, I saw as high as level 53; it isn’t like certain videmption games where you play a single level, play for the jackpot then it’s game over. And it’s certainly much deeper than Spinner Frenzy. 😛
From what I played, it also didn’t have that subtle humor that the original carried with it, such as your mutant turning back into a human or finding people on the toilet when you smash open a window. Granted, I haven’t seen the movie, but it seemed to take the subject matter serious as opposed to being all tongue-in-cheek; I also believe they changed how the mutants come to being (not humans turned into mutant creatures or anything like that). That would make a big difference in how this one feels, but pulling humor off in games is easier said than done.
That’s it for the moment, but don’t worry, we’re not done yet – and we haven’t shown you all of the interesting things that were at the show. I just need to find the time to edit video and write 😉