Pictured: The Pac-Man Statue that was seen at the Speedy’s One Stop Repair Booth
Continuing with our coverage of the Amusement Expo International 2019 trade show that took place on the last week of March, I started it off with the growing presence of unique, retro-styled indie games that were at the show. Now, let’s turn our focus to the “big guns,” games made by bigger, well-established companies.
Running this today (March 31st) to avoid anyone thinking that such a post on April 1st is a joke.
As a note, the Arcade & Pinball 2019 game releases tracking page has been updated to reflect the updates.
Centipede Chaos (Play Mechanix/Raw Thrills/ICE)
One title that we’ve mentioned a couple of times on here is a reboot of one of the most beloved classics of all time, Centipede. With Centipede Chaos, this has been developed by the crew at Play Mechanix for ICE. The game is presented in a large cabinet (slightly different than the versions seen on location test), allowing for up to three players to venture into the magical forest and blast some bugs.
If you were expecting a straight up port of Centipede to HD; or something super simple like Pac-Man Chomp Mania, then it’s neither of those. From what I played, I liked, as it seems to play more along the lines of Space Invaders Frenzy in Amusement Mode. The game is broken up into waves, where each one presents the same basic premise (destroy the centipede, where each segment turns into a mushroom when hit) with a little twist. You can see what I mean from the video above, in that each wave is a little different, with different enemies. They also mix in elements from Millipede there (such as including the wasps), although I never came across a can of DDT. Granted, I only played about 10 waves in, so it’s possible that it’s there.
The boss battles are short, but also different for each, which is a nice change of pace. The graphics fit the aesthetic and the power-ups are fun to use. The joystick is…interesting. The giant ball top combined with a loose joystick gate (that’s the part that usually restricts where the joystick goes. They tend to be rigid, but not always) almost makes it feel like you’ve got your hand on a trackball like in the original, although I think they were going for a mushroom. While a trackball would be more precise, I think that the joystick still works for how the game handles the movement of the characters. I never felt frustrated while playing. This is also helped by the way that shots are handled – in the original, you could not fire another shot until the current shot clears the top of the screen. In this, it’s more like a machine gun. This adds to the “chaos,” and overall I found it to be fun. The vibration in the mushroom seats is also a nice touch
The game DOES have an amusement mode, for locations that want to operate it like that, although I doubt the gameplay changes much, as it doesn’t feel like a redemption game as you go. I think that if this were released in a smaller cabinet (reader Jdevy made a good suggestion of putting a standard version into the Slither.io/TMNT cab), that it would do pretty well at my own arcade in Amusement Mode.
ATV Slam (Sega Amusements)
The latest racer from Sega was on hand, and when I first came across it, I was a little bit surprised. The cabinet is much taller than I expected it to be, a little taller than House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn that it was sitting next to. Using a motion-enabled ATV shaped seat and handlebar controllers, you race on five off-road tracks that have been beautifully crafted in Unreal Engine 4. It is a closed circuit racer; sports a 47″ monitor; and can link up to four units, but only one was available at the show. It also has a “wind cannon” that is integrated into the front panel, although that is only used sparingly, as opposed to blowing air into your face the entire time. The motion is not intense, feeling like it is trying to just mimic the bumps in the road as opposed to working like a mechanical bull (which is fine…I just wonder if the power to the system can be adjusted).
The game itself plays a little bit differently than your typical Sega racer, in that many Sega racers try and be more along the lines of a simulator than a slightly interactive roller coaster. In case you are worried about rubber banding, I didn’t get much of that from what I played; which shows that the game doesn’t play most of the game for you. I did witness a few people have trouble with the controls, slamming into the corner on a tight turn. There is some auto-correction there, but not quite on the level of something like in Super Bikes. While this did cause frustration in a player or two I watched, when I played, I did so by making sure to use my brake or to ease up on the gas before taking a turn. With that, I didn’t have the same trouble as I saw some others go through. ATV does throw quite a few turns into the mix, so it’s good to go into it with that expectation. This can make ATV Slam is a little difficult, but I think if you give it a few plays (learning the tracks), that will ease up.
The graphics are fantastic, thanks to using Unreal Engine 4 and HDR lighting. Perhaps it was the lighting of the convention center combined with the angle of the game, but the screen did seem a little dark. Perhaps it’s the factory setting, or maybe operators can adjust that if need be.
As a note, the New Season software of Daytona Championship USA was not there, but is still in development. I hope to have some good info on this one soon.
Nerf Arcade (Raw Thrills)
Among the firsts for this Amusement Expo was the debut of Raw Thrills’ Nerf Arcade. Like Centipede Chaos, this was seen on test prior to expo, although Raw Thrills did provide a bit of information on it. It’s a straight forward target shooting gallery game, where tons of targets appear in themed rooms your you to blast before the timer runs out (I believe each round was set to 30 seconds. There is a lightning round where a horde of targets is thrown at you, more than you can take out, giving you a chance to rack up some points. There are four rooms: Zombie Lagoon, Army Base, Zombie Graveyard and Drone Hangar. I’ll put the flyer below the video; the only thing I’ve been trying to find out about it that I didn’t catch was how the QR code system works; it stated that you could “Win Prizes” by sharing your score on social media (Facebook/Twitter). Not sure if Raw Thrills will have an online redemption store for that or how it will work.
As mentioned, it’s a simple game, but it’s not complete yet so we’ll see if there are major changes between now and the release in June. I could imagine that will include different transitions to the rooms, or perhaps a room selection screen; the way it was setup, it just went from room to room without a lot of fanfare. As a single screen game, it doesn’t need a ton of horsepower, but the game looks fine. The volume was so low on it that I couldn’t hear much of anything; the force feedback from the guns themselves was louder. It would be nice if the gun shells had a Nerf gun (or Nerf-styled) look, but that would probably entail a higher cost.
I’ve got more to discuss in regards to Amusement Expo 2019, including The Munsters Pinball, Super Bikes 3, Monster Bash pinball, and Fantasy Soccer. Say what you think about these games below or on our forums!