About a month since IAAPA 2018 ended, and we’re finally approaching the end of the news. If you’ve been following Arcade Heroes on YouTube or Bitchute, then you have seen these videos already, but I’m offering a little more information in the text below to essentially review the games based on what I played.
For previous Wrap-ups:
For the games you’ll find here
- Monster Eye 2 (IGS/Wahlap)
- Overtake DX & Overtake VR (IGS/Wahlap)
- Hero of Steel & Robot Storm (Coast To Coast)
- Jelly Belly Ticket Beananza (Sega Amusements)
- Daytona Championship USA New Season Edition (Sega Amusements)
- Several titles in the realm of AR/VR/motion theaters
VR is next, as I’m working on a VR overview video, although I need to borrow some footage from other sources for a few things on that one so it’s taking a little bit of extra time.
Monster Eye 2 (IGS/Wahlap)
We previously showed footage of Bounty Hunter and now its time for Wahlap’s headliner, Monster Eye 2. You might recall reading about or have seen the original Monster Eye, which was released in 2014. I didn’t get the chance to spend a lot of time on this one as I only came across it the last day of the show and I was running around filming everything that I had missed (even then, I still ended up missing quite a few things I would have liked to have got to). Overall it played like you would expect such a game to play, the motion wasn’t too crazy and the graphics are solid.
I’ve seen Wahlap’s Overtake several times in the past, although I hadn’t seen it in the two configurations below – the DX and VR models. Both versions incorporate a motion seat into the action, but the game is rather different in VR mode. The VR version reminds me a little bit of OutRun 2, as you have a “girlfriend” in the passenger seat who offers advice and makes comments. There are also other gameplay elements that were added to try and take advantage of the VR view, such as shattered glass in bullet-time that you have to avoid. The VR cabinet is also quite large, making for an impressive setup. Graphically the game seems to have received an upgrade as well, which is never a bad thing.
Hero of Steel & Robot Storm (Coast-To-Coast Entertainment)
With the arrivial of Ice Man on US shores last year, the performance of that game has led more companies to import and translate these Chinese-developed sit-down bench shooters with a gun gimmick. We previously mentioned the titles to fit this bill over at Coastal Amusements, but they were not alone as Coast To Coast Entertainment is also bringing such titles over. C2C is mainly known for crane machines, but they have handled video games in the past, such as Friction. They are also owned by Elaut now; perhaps that is also a reason why C2C was showing these and not the other divisions like Benchmark (makes sense – Elaut focuses more on the cranes, Benchmark redemption games, C2C videmption…although C2C still has plenty of crane stuff).
Anyways, while these games may not have any big name attached to them, graphically they were both superior to Ice Man…they also are more original than IM, which was really just a Plants Vs. Zombies Garden Warfare clone. Granted, having the field of grass on Hero of Steel feels totally out of place, and it uses the same water cannon mist gimmick, but at least it looks nicer and plays better doing it. Robot Storm is like ICE’s Ghostbusters game (which I heard is now discontinued), but with Hero of Steel style gameplay.
Jelly Belly Ticket Beananza (Hollywood Gaming/Sega Amusements)
Sega had this video game on their booth, specifically tailored to videmption play. It did have a big “prototype” badge on it, so it’s hard to say how it will change from here to there – one thing that was a little off about it for me was the size of the cabinet & monitor compared to how close you were to it. The gameplay is solid for a videmption kind of game, and the license is good, so I imagine that it only needs some cabinet adjustments for it to be good to go.
Daytona Championship USA New Season Edition (Sega)
The video below isn’t mine, as I was foolish and didn’t record or really get any details on the newest software edition of the game that was at IAAPA. I did snap a photo of the banner though.
As that shows, Sega is addressing everything that fans have complained about regarding the game, such as the handling, the graphics, car models and damage modelling, etc. They’ve also taken the opportunity to add some other improvements, such as racer highlights, camera fixes/enhancements and so on. I did not catch any new tracks, but I imagine that just the handling improvements will please fans. This will be a free upgrade for DCUSA owners, although it will not be broadcast online (so those that got their hands on the one update will have an outdated game…by a couple of versions at this point).
I will have more information on this one to share on Monday and will run a specific, more detailed post about it then.
Some thoughts on other aspects of IAAPA
To cover some other items I saw and experienced at the show, let’s delve into them here.
I did play the new Monster Bash remake, but I foolishly did not record a lot of it like I thought I had (it was the first thing I filmed, and I figured “oh, I’ll get back to it.” Then I didn’t). While I had not played the original, I really enjoyed it. The Special Edition was the more impressive of the games, thanks to the extra LED GI lighting, but I think that fans will be happy with any of the models.
While many were unhappy that Bandai Namco didn’t have a new video game at the show, I talked with some of the guys there and got a good idea of where they are at. The DC Superheroes license is doing extremely well for them, mainly with the card/coin pushers they have, but also the new air hockey tables that are using Batman & The Joker. They are also selling a ton of Mario Kart Arcade GPDX units, seeing sales quadruple after the game dropped the online requirement. Still, it would have been nice to see something new from them on the video front, as it’s been two IAAPAs without such a release now. Even Shoot Away Pro would have been cool to see. That said, I also learned something new about Maximum Tune 5 that I had seen, but hadn’t tried – the Japan Challenge. I tried this as soon as I came back, and I’ve really been enjoying it. As it stands at the moment, I’ve conquered half of Japan, and just earned a flame sticker for my car 😛 Here’s a video I did for my arcade YT account to explain it in more detail. Right before getting to that though, I also need to mention that the company is still looking into the 5DX and 5DX+ upgrades for the North American version of the game, there are just some business challenges (mainly licensing) that are causing it to be a slow process. That said, I think it would be great if they could at least integrate some of the non-license elements into the existing version, like the 5DX soundtrack…
One thing that hadn’t happened to me before (for some reason) was that certain sales people saw my press badge and stopped me to get to pay attention to their product. Perhaps it was because press badges were pink this year, so they were easy to distinguish from the others. There were some good sales people out there who certainly aren’t introverts – even though often their product wasn’t exactly something that I focus on for this blog.
One that stopped me was about a modular, retractable canopy; another was one of those cash grab wind tunnels(shown above); or the nice folks at American Changer had me stop by to snap of pic of a couple of their ladies with their change machines/tokens. I guess persistence pays off, as here I am talking about their products 😀
I did see and play some interesting VR-based arcade machines while there, but nothing changed my stance that this should be angled as an attraction as opposed to a “replacement” for arcades.
One interesting thing I discovered is that using contacts instead of glasses helped the vertigo effects that I normally have experienced in using VR. While I still had a little bit of that effect going on, I didn’t feel a migraine for the rest of the day after using just one VR game (just a little bit of face soreness for several minutes after using a couple of too-tight headsets). Normally I would use the headsets with or without glasses, but it seemed that the negative effect was the same.
It was impressive to see so many companies come to the table with something VR related – 83 by what I counted – but that creates a dilemma for the market at large, where too much of a selection means that many systems are going to fail to capture what they need of the market share to continue operations. Who will make it through such a crucible, I really can’t tell, although I think those that are really trying to do something different as opposed to copying the popular “put 4 people tethered to a space” model stand the best chance of making it somewhere.
The closest thing I saw that could be thought of as the “Space Invaders” of VR was Beat Saber, although the price tag and the fact that it’s available on pretty much every VR device has hindered that from having the same impact that SI saw. That said, the cabinet was very sleek and impressive. I think if they packed in a bunch of exclusive songs (including some licensed ones), that would help, but where it’s much more than a Halo: Fireteam Raven SDX, it’s still a tough prospect for all but the budget loaded FEC. The company making these ones also had Fruit Ninja VR and Predator VR. I didn’t get a chance to try Predator, but it looked like it used Beachhead-style gameplay (aka, the player stays in a fixed spot while waves of enemies come at you; survive for as long as you can). They had an awesome Predator statue at the booth, which was a nice touch.
For other big gaming names, Triotech had their VR Maze setup, where I played Assassin’s Creed. I was surprised by this one as it was pretty cool; Just a little short. Using the HTC Vive, they tailored the controllers to mimic a bow & arrow. That worked out pretty well; the graphics were solid and smooth, and the end part would have been totally convincing (where you have to jump off of a building) if the attendant didn’t interfere (which I understand why they did that…some people would probably hesitate on what to do, or panic). There is also a Rabbids game you could play, but I didn’t check that one out.
Speaking of Triotech, they also introduced a fun new competitive version of their XD Dark Ride interactive motion theater called Rabbids Team Battle. This is NOT a VR game, but a massive multiplayer light-gun arena title. Up to this point, most interactive motion theaters have done the “every man for himself” type gameplay, with anywhere between 4-128 people competing to shoot targets on one screen for one person to get the top score. This gets pretty hectic/chaotic as you can imagine. With Rabbids Team Battle, the seats are split up into teams, so while you can still see everyone’s target on-screen, it does focus things down more towards your team as you are only trying to shoot the opposite team’s colored Rabbids.
I played a shooter game called Total Recoil that was cool, thanks in good part to the military-grade mounted cannon you control the action with. The company behind the game, Raydon, generally develops content just for military training, so calling it military-grade or quality is accurate. The gun was heavy and felt realistic, offering great recoil as you blasted away. The game itself was similar to many VR games though – what I call the “Beachhead Style” of game where you are in one fixed spot and just try and hold off wave after wave of enemies. The sci-fi theme feels a lot like Starship Troopers, although I only experienced one level. As the game is, I think it would work out fine with a curved ultra-wide screen or a dome screen too.
While I was sad to see that InJoy Motion is not focusing on arcade games anymore, they did have a selection of VR games that were interesting to see. Injoy is only handling the motion seat hardware in these instances, allowing other experienced developers to handle the software. The one that stood out the most was Space Fighter, although I’m a sucker for space games; you sit in a motion seat and have a joystick/throttle to get into the space dogfights. The only thing that threw me off was that the joystick had some buttons on it that didn’t seem to do anything; that combined with the lack of an explanation on all of the controls had me learning as I went. They also had a game like Jurassic Park where you drive along in a jeep shooting at dinosaurs, and a couple of titles that they had the last time we saw them.
Another very interesting system I came across was an Augmented Reality system that was purporting to be a holographic table. Designed by Australian company Euclideon, it doesn’t use true holograms, but is still a pretty cool game table. They use stereoscopic 3D laser projections on an angled surface, so all you have to do is wear some simple 3D glasses. This creates the illusion of both players looking into a 3D playfield. This does make filming it lose the effect, so while I have a little bit of footage, it just won’t get the experience across (always a problem with AR devices). There is also a vibrating floor & body tracking sensors to further enhance it beyond just hitting buttons in front of a display. While I did get to play it, the table was designed for 2-player competitive fun instead of single player; the software was also just a short demo. The flyer they gave me does mention several arcade-style games that come with it.
My brother and I also spent some time looking at some crane machines, locks, food and interactive kiddie rides. We’re open to various options as far as what will happen to our business this coming year, although it’s all dependent upon the location (if we stay, if we move, if we are able to expand beyond the route we are opening, etc.). I was also heartened to hear that many people out there read the things that I write, whether it’s here or for Replay Magazine…even when it is a long-winded like this post. Thanks for reading!
This next week I’ll have more on VR as well as the new Daytona software update.