I skipped Newsbytes last week as I was busy running an arcade at a comic convention, and just didn’t have the time to post about anything.
Before we get started, I have updated the Akka Arrh Controversy article with some reshaped thoughts. I have been seeing a lot of vitriol aimed at collectors of super-rare arcade items over this, which isn’t fair to them. If it wasn’t for the “dumpster diving” collectors in many instances, then many of these games will have disappeared into the ether of history, occupying a landfill that no one would ever bother to dig up and all Akka Arrh would be is a footnote on a webpage. We don’t really know how the ROMs ended up online at this point, so all we can do is guess.
Anyways, onto other news items:
Atari Star Wars Yoke Reproduction
If you are a collector and have labored over keeping your Atari Star Wars in working condition, then you have my sympathy. Apart from having a color vector monitor to deal with, the yoke controller is not something that ever became as common as a joystick or steering wheel, so if it breaks, it can be very difficult – and expensive – to source replacement parts.
Fortunately, the owner of a retro arcade along with a pair of avid collectors out of Utah (for full disclosure, I know the collectors and have done business with them many times; I’m buying a Final fight board off of one of them today; but they did not pay nor ask for this coverage on the yoke project) has taken it upon themselves to produce a complete reproduction of the fabled Star Wars yoke controllers. Known as the Alan-1 flight yoke (Alan-1 being a reference to TRON), these have been designed as a drop-in replacement to any Atari Star Wars arcade machine, meaning that your machine’s controller will likely last longer than the monitor. Granted, they have been working on a replacement vector monitor deflection board too, something that they showed me a while ago. I have seen the shipment of their Alan-1 Flight Yokes in the factory packaging and can confirm that they are real; as mentioned, I have also done business with them many times and can vouch for their honesty.
If you are interested in grabbing a flight yoke for yourself, you can order them here. Keep in mind that they are very high quality, using metal in places that had been plastic in the originals…which means that they are not cheap. But, rebuilding the originals isn’t exactly cheap either, and these have been thoroughly field tested.
Round 1 USA Adding Marble Carnival To Their Line-up
Location exclusives are all the rage these days, with Dave & Busters funding many including Star Trek and Marvel: Contest of Champions. While Round 1 USA has enjoyed a number of semi-exclusives via Japanese imports, they are now getting in on the full exclusive game with Marble Carnival. This teaser doesn’t show much, but it looks like one of those popular card redemption/pusher games, using marbles instead of coins on the pusher bed.
— Round1 USA (@Round1USA) April 26, 2019
Unboxing a Cosmotrons
As mentioned, last week was very busy for me, my Thursday had started early with the arrival of the indie game Cosmotrons. Because that was game moving day for the convention, I “unboxed” this, then took it up to the Salt Palace before setting it up at my arcade. I also decided to show you the “guts” of the machine, something that I should probably do more often:
Adrenaline Amusements Launches Revamped Website
Updates tend to be infrequent on arcade websites, much less get complete website redesigns. For Canadian game maker Adrenaline Amusements, they have had the same site for as long as I can remember. That has recently changed, with a very nice revamp of their website that you can see here. There are no “new-new” games on there, but the product pages have pretty much all of the same information on them as was previously there, minus screenshots. Check it out here.
Exa-Arcadia Sees Strong Numbers As Tests Roll Out Across Japan
Per this tweet from the CEO of Exa-Arcadia, Eric “ShouTime” Chung, the Exa platform is finding strong reactions from players as more test units find their way across the land of the rising sun. While in part this is due to fresh new STG and fighter content, it also has to do with Exa’s efforts to reduce the inherent issues found with input lag. Such lag is a downside to conversion kits and generic arcade cabinets, where the monitors that operators might use are not exactly what a fast action, precision-demanding video game like a shoot ’em up or fighting game requires.
Exa-Arcadia has revamped their website recently too, where they have been operating a blog for updates. One very interesting and useful post discusses input lag across the variety of Japanese & Chinese generi-cabs out there, something I had never seen published in English before. If you are considering getting an Exa to combine with an existing Japanese cabinet, then this is recommended reading; Keep in mind that they are hearing from American operators that there is demand for a dedicated cabinet, over the conversion kit (as we don’t really have modern generi-cabs to speak of, outside some designs by Fun Company), which cabinet should also solve the input lag issues.
We are rolling out nationwide across major Japanese arcade chains like Taito, Capcom & namco.
All of our income data shows that our titles & business model beats Gundam, Tekken, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear etc by a factor of 2-10x.
— exA-Arcadia社長 (@exaarcadiaceo) April 16, 2019
Speaking of Input Lag…
While input lag isn’t always easy to convey to casual players when talking about standard flat screen gaming, multiplayer LBE VR is one place where it still is a bit of a problem.
This is what lag looks like in VR pic.twitter.com/JzxXLe9Da8
— Nathie (@NathieVR) April 22, 2019
Mario Party Challenge World Cancelled
Earlier this week, a tipster sent me a video of a shaky cam arcade tour that happened to quickly walk past a Mario Party Challenge World videmption arcade machine. I’m a little surprised that the guy filming didn’t focus on it more, but he probably didn’t realize just how rare it is.
With that reminder of the game’s existence, I decided to ask Raw Thrills about it, where they confirmed that the game has been cancelled and the few prototype units have been sold to locations like the Cinergy in Tulsa. It is unclear how many of those even exist, but I would be amazed if it’s beyond the single digits.
The idea of turning Mario Party into an arcade machine first landed in Japan back in 2009 when Capcom, Bandai Namco & Nintendo collaborated on the creation of Mario Party Fushigi no Coro Coro; then in 2016 Capcom and Nintendo came back together for the Mario Party Challenge World medal game concept (medal games are kind of Japan’s version of redemption). The game was released in Japan, then Raw Thrills brought a modified version over to the IAAPA 2017 trade show. The problem with that version (as seen in the video below) is that it was a roulette gambling game, unable to be sold to most arcades in the US in that form. That said, it used fantastic projection mapping. Raw Thrills would rework the concept by removing the roulette concept and paring it down to three players, but after we saw that through location test pictures in October last year (pictured above), there was no appearance at IAAPA 2018 and no further news. Of course, this cancellation may not be permanent…concepts can always make a comeback, albeit in slightly or radically different forms 😉
The Unofficial But Professional Quality Mortal Kombat 11 Cabinet
I’ve been hearing plenty of mixed reactions about the new Mortal Kombat 11 game that launched recently, particularly about the super-monetization the game has gone through. But with me, I’m always a little bummed that the game which had started as an arcade title now calls consoles it’s exclusive home. With every new MK release though, it does seem that you have dedicated and talented fans building their own MK arcade cabinet. Here’s one for MK11 that Ed Boon highlighted on his Twitter. Looks pretty sweet:
Konami Arcade Classics Out Now
I haven’t had a chance to check this out yet, but if you’re a fan of Konami’s 80’s arcade games, you can’t go wrong this this release (especially for fans of STGs, as this almost exclusively packed with them):
That’s all I’ve got for this weekend. Be sure to visit your local arcade if you go outside and give them some love!