It’s time for another newsbytes, bringing together several pieces of quick news from around the wonderful world’s of arcades & pinball. Where it is Memorial Day weekend in the US, a lot of people are out and about to begin their summer vacations, which means that for some arcades, they should be busy. If you are one of those people, then safe travels!
Stern Begins Making Batman ’66: Catwoman Edition
If you were wanting to see more of Julie Newmar’s Catwoman in Stern’s Batman ’66 pinball, then you are in luck as the company teased that a new Batman: Catwoman Edition is currently in production. I did reach out to Stern to see if there were any other details beyond this Facebook post (also asking about more pictures), but that is all that have to say about it for the moment.
Sega’s Next Arcade Release Is A “Big License”
We have no idea what that license will be yet, but come IAAPA 2019, we’ll get to play whatever it is. That could be OutRun 3 as teased way back (this November would have given that project about 24 months to brew, which is around average for game dev time in this business), or it could be something else entirely. Kevin Williams did point out else where that the Ferrari license for Out Run in the past was not exactly a cakewalk for Sega, but if it is OutRun 3 I imagine all of that will have been ironed out by the time the release rolls around. What do you think it is?
Oh, and speaking of Sega, they uploaded a new House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn promo to YouTube this week:
Bandai Namco Opening A VR Zone Portal in Leeds, UK
Thanks to Kieran May for this one. While I had heard about Bandai Namco opening their LBE VR experience in London, I was not aware of a second location in the UK found in Leeds. If you live in the area and have been wanting to see what Mario Kart VR is like, or check out the other unique experiences that they have there, then pay them a visit. They did have a location setup in Washington DC for a little while, but that just closed and they’ve been teasing that it will be popping up somewhere else in the US…we just have to wait and see where.
Dave & Busters Launches Their Next VR Experience: Men In Black: Galactic Getaway
Dave & Busters is keeping busy with their VR motion platform, which first launched with Jurassic World Expedition and most recently had begun featuring a Star Trek experience. Now they are gearing up for the new Men In Black movie, as you can see in this quick teaser:
New Walter Day Book On Kickstarter
If you’re here, then chances are that you are familiar with the name Walter Day. If not…I’d suggest checking out The King of Kong. Walter has been involved in creating special trading cards that highlight the many different “superstars” of classic video & arcade gaming. Now, a book is in development that digs into the details behind more of those superstars as well as stories about Mr. Day and his time as the referee of gaming. Check it out on Kickstarter!
Replacement Audio Chip For Certain Atari Arcade Games Launched
One of the troubles of maintaining classic arcade machines these days is getting a hold of replacement parts. For games that are around 40 years old, getting a hold of certain components is either very expensive and difficult, or downright impossible. Fortunately, there are fans or companies that are coming to the rescue with reproduction or drop-in replacement components. We recently mentioned the Alan-1 Flight Yoke for Atari Star Wars machines, and now there is another Atari part that is receiving the repro treatment with the Pokey One, by Hot Rod Arcade.
Pokey chips served as the audio generators for many of Atari’s titles in the early 80’s, including Centipede, Star Wars, Warlords, Crystal Castles, Liberator, & others. Often these games would use two or four Pokey’s in unison to offer more channels & sound effects. The chip was also used in Atari’s line of home computers and sometimes their game cartridges. Thanks to such widespread use, this new replacement should be welcome to anyone who has been dealing with a sound issue on their old machine. You can grab one for $40, here.
Software Update For Killer Queen Arcade
If you have a KQA cabinet, you may want to get this as it is more than just bug fixes:
Version 16.06B is up!
This update includes:
– NEW map
– Fixed warrior/j-dive bump bug
– Berries materialize 20 units higher when you die
– Berry famine timer reduced to 90 seconds
– Berry famine message only displays in the last 10 seconds
— Killer Queen Arcade (@KillerQueenGame) May 25, 2019
Gunlord Lands On The Nintendo Switch
Ok, this isn’t exactly up-to-date news, but in case you missed it, NG:DevTeam has expanded their reach of original content from the Neo Geo MVS arcade & Dreamcast to now include the Nintendo Switch. Gunlord itself is a Turrican-like run’n gun platformer that NG Dev Team launched back in 2011, allowing arcades with a Neo Geo MVS cabinet to offer something very different from the norm of new games. A lot of people have been clamoring for the team to bring their stuff to more widespread platforms, so this is welcome news to anyone who was interested in playing this game but couldn’t come across it or couldn’t afford the cart.
IAAPA 1976 Transcripts Uploaded To The Web Archive
I had started doing a separate post on this, but time escaped me, so we’ll put it here – and at the bottom since it’s a little long-winded – instead.
Last week, IAAPA uploaded some “ancient” history in terms of video gaming to the Internet Archive, a full transcription of different events from the IAAPA 1976 seminars & conference. IAAPA just celebrated it’s 100th year last year, it being a giant amusement industry trade show that is kind of like the E3 of arcades.
The uploaded document can take a bit of time to read through, clocking in at 388 pages. It covers a wide variety of topics that span the industry, along with other things that were big at the time, like the bicentennial anniversary of the USA. Pg. 188 begins a very interesting discussion for those interested in arcade history; there, Jules Millman of Aladdin’s Castle began discussing the challenges that the company faced, which opens up a discussion afterwards between manufacturers, distributors and operators faced with tech support/maintenance, decor, what do to about games that stop earning like they used to, etc. Interesting that some things haven’t really changed at their core in how the business works.
Some pages before that did become the focus of a Vice article, where I got into a little tussle with the writer on Twitter. His piece mainly dealt with Atari’s Joe Keenan and his assertion that arcades in the future would feature virtual roller coasters or 8-player motion rides, the writer claiming that those things would “never come to fruition.” The writer argued on Twitter that because Atari themselves didn’t come out with that stuff, then he was completely wrong, and the vision of the future was essentially a silly one. I pointed out that the industry did in fact produce such games down the road, which is odd for “never.” There’s a little more to it as well, if you get into what Atari was up to that year (it wasn’t just Steve Jobs taking all of the credit for Breakout).
If you read all of Keenan’s speech(pg. 178-180), he doesn’t state that all machines would be giant motion theaters, it simply provides insight from himself and Nolan Bushnell that as early as 1976 (two years before Space Invaders would change everything and point the industry in a different direction), they were looking at ideas that eventually would come to light. Keenan spent a little time talking about the arrival of inexpensive CPUs, something that was a bit of a game changer for what they could do in games, since prior to that everything was using logic gates/TTL chips. They knew that there was a lot of potential in that development, and rightly concluded it would lead to bigger, more elaborate games.
Atari did launch a big projection screen EM game with Namco called F-1 in 1976 and they also had successfully launched 8-player games like Indy 800 and Tank 8. The latter was released a short time before the IAAPA’76 event and would have been on the trade show floor. Obviously, those titles would have been on his mind as to the future of gaming. Another thing the Vice article conveniently left out was Keenan mentioning the idea of 8-player racing games – something that would take longer to come to fruition that Bushnell/Keenan had hoped, but still happened by 1988 with Atari/Namco’s Final Lap. Every racing game released in modern times allows for multiple linked units, often up to eight and even big screen, motion seat models.
Is this a big deal overall? Nah, I’m not losing sleep over it. But if you’re going to play a “journalist” and mock history, at least bother to find out all of the context and research the aspects before deciding if it’s worth ridiculing. That and grow a thicker skin.
Now to end on something more light-hearted:
Have a great weekend everyone!