Hello, and welcome to another exciting edition of Newsbytes. This is a collection of quick arcade/pinball news items to get you caught up.
While you might not expect a collector/fan focused event to be the source of new game unveils, that has certainly become the case in both video and pinball. The Texas Pinball Festival (TPF) is underway this weekend, and we have a couple of items to discuss from there.
Also note that this coming week is Amusement Expo International 2019 in Las Vegas. I’ll be posting a preview of what to expect there on Monday.
VPCabs Reveals Dead Man’s Hand
Let’s start with a new video game. VPCabs is a company that has mainly focused on creating cabinets for virtual pinball games, in both pinball-style cabinets and unique upright models. There are exceptions to that rule, as they also are serving as the manufacturer for the Woody model of Cosmotrons.
They are not just focused on cabinets however, as they branch into new coin-op video titles. Using their Vertigo upright cabinet design, they have unveiled Dead Man’s Hand, a virtual version of the physical/mechanical game they sell of the same name. This is essentially a new version of Taito’s classic bar game, Ice Cold Beer; the artwork and sounds were developed by Scott Gullicks of Riot Pinball. I will have more details on this one next week for it’s own post, so until then, here’s a video the company shared to their Facebook page.
Jersey Jack Pinball unveils The Wizard of Oz: Yellow Brick Road Edition
Headed to TPF to unveil their latest project, Jersey Jack unveiled a third Limited Edition model of their popular Wizard of Oz machine, the Yellow Brick Road edition. This follows the original LE and the 75th Anniversary models. This features a bright yellow glittery trim to represent the iconic Yellow Brick Road, glittered paint on the wireform ramps, new animations on the screen, “Version 2.0 lighting system,” adjusted game rules and the removal of the monkey mechanism in the back. Only 200 of these are being made, to the price of $11,500 MSRP.
The rumors had been predicting that this would have been the reveal of Willy Wonka pinball, so if that’s what you were hoping for, then this…subverted those expectations. When news of this first hit, the reactions I saw were overwhelmingly negative, but since then I’ve seen a few positive comments from those who are into it. What do you think about this new model?
Pre-Orders Open For Step ManiaX Stages & Game
If you’ve been looking forward to the “spiritual successor” to In The Groove, then you are in luck as pre-orders have opened today for Step Revolution’s Step ManiaX. You can order just a stage, a home/non-coin cabinet or the coin-op commercial edition, with a 50% deposit required. I have not seen a mention of when these will ship, but the game’s producer, Kyle Ward, has posted pics of many stages hot off the production line, so I imagine it will be soon.
High Score Girl Term II Coming To Japan This October
If you’ve seen the arcade-centric anime High score Girl on Netflix, and have been wondering when the next season will drop, then you just need to wait until October. Well, at least for Japan, where they are calling the next season, “Term II.” I had thought that Term I had ended already, but I was just told right before publishing this that Netflix added 3 more episodes to it this week. I guess I have more watching to do 😉
— 押切蓮介 (@rereibara) March 21, 2019
Even though that’s about 7 months away, quite a few promotions are showing up in Japan to tout Term II, including this one (what do you say? Clever or creepy?):
— TVアニメ「ハイスコアガール」公式 (@hi_score_girl) March 23, 2019
Spicy Taxi Replaces The Initial D4 Attraction At The Tokyo Joypolis
Famous for it’s many unique rides and attractions, the Sega-owned Joypolis in Tokyo is always keeping things fresh. Unfortunately this does mean that older attractions are removed instead of upgraded, and are replaced with something new. Such is the case with the Initial D4 Arcade Stage Limited attraction in Japan, as it has been removed and replaced with a new ride called Spicy Taxi. Here’s a brief video of the Initial D4 ride, which used full-sized cars as the controllers; you can find other videos of this by searching for Initial D4 joypolis’ on YouTube.
For the new attraction called Spicy Taxi, it appears to combine elements from Sega’s Let’s Go Jungle or Island with Crazy Taxi. Based upon the iconic three-wheeled taxis that are found in Thailand (called a Tuk Tuk), it still uses full-sized, 4-seat atop a motion platform, providing for a full range of 360° motion instead of the smaller range that Initial D4 had. The translation indicates that you are on a “bounty hunter race” to “earn prize money.” Each rider has a button to use, which allows you to play both “quizzes and mini games” that pop-up during the race course. As a colorful family attraction, I imagine that this will do well, although if you are a fan of Initial D, the absence of that ride is certain to leave a hole in your heart. Find the official page for this here.
Bandai Namco Promotes International Version Of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6
As a note, this is NOT related to a release of the game for North America or Europe; while the International Versions of WMMT are in English, this is mainly for SouthEast Asia. There is no news on whether or not the 5DX or 5DX+ updates are on their way for North America, so all we can do is watch and dream:
Happy 50th Anniversary Konami
Many of the big names in this business started off as an arcade or vending company of some kind, Sega being one example of that and Konami being another. Konami officially hit the big 50 this week, having started as a humble jukebox repair company back in 1969, to the multi-faceted corporation it is today. It’s first few video games were nothing terribly memorable – Space King as a Space Invaders clone and Block Game as a Breakout clone; but by the time 1981 would roll around, they already started making an impact with a number of interesting games like Amidar, Scramble, and Super Cobra. As American arcade factories faltered in ’83, they were happy to pick up the slack and became a powerhouse in both arcade and console game development through the 80’s and beyond.
They still make arcade games today, although these unfortunately tend to stick to Japan, with occasional imports finding their way out West. Either way, hit up your local arcade this weekend and hopefully they have a Konami game you can play as a way to celebrate the milestone!
On March 21, 1969, Kagemasu Kozuki founded a little jukebox repair company in suburban Osaka. Four years later it would become KONAMI, now famous the world over for its rich history of video games. Happy Golden Anniversary! pic.twitter.com/dK3PLAgHWy
— Retronauts (@retronauts) March 21, 2019
Speaking of anniversaries, if you want to feel old, this week also marks the 10th anniversary of Sega launching their Ringedge and Ringwide arcade platforms (link is from February 2009, but the hardware went into operation late March).
That’s all I’ve managed to gather for this weekend. Make sure to hit up your favorite local gaming spot this weekend and have some fun!