Welcome to another edition of Newsbytes, a compilation of quick (or last minute) stories that I’ve curated for the weekend.
Wahlap At AAA2019
Chinese game manufacturer Wahlap has been busy as of late, and they were all smiles at the recent Asia Amusement & Attractions 2019 Expo. This video shows the highlights, which includes some Western game makers such as Adrenaline & Bay Tek. The main game we haven’t seen much of until now would be Speed Driver 5, but everything else has been around for a while:
Before we move on, just a reminder that this week is the International Bowl Expo in Las Vegas. I’m not aware of any big announcements like we had last year with Pac-Man’s Pixel Bash, Connect 4 Hoops and a more complete version of Transformers Shadows Rising. What we do know so far is that LAI Games will have the three new films for Virtual Rabbids that they’ve been touting for a while, and Bandai Namco has stated they’ll unveil a new redemption game based on a “huge brand IP.” Touch Magix might have something new there, but I think it is related to bowling and not a dedicated arcade game. Otherwise, everyone will be there, but if there’s something completely new for video, it’ll be a surprise. I would be happy to see LAI bring Outnumbered, but that is more likely for IAAPA than Bowl Expo.
Dead or Alive 6 Arcade Testing This Week In Japan
I read after this announcement tweet that the test was pushed back a day, but still, fans of the DOA franchise can be happy to hear that Tecmo Koei is giving DOA some arcade love once again (they did with DOA5, but like 6, it looks like they’ll just keep it digital). This is being tested on Sega’s All.net+ Multi 3 network (a competitor to Taito’s NESiCAxLIVe 2). That all said, there’s always a chance that Round 1 USA will get this as a US exclusive down the road, so there is a chance you will get to play this one – if you’re close enough to one of the participating R1 locations.
6/18(火)より都内3店舗で #DOA6AC ロケテストを開催します。
— Official DEAD OR ALIVE Fighting Game (@DOATEC_OFFICIAL) June 17, 2019
The Pitfalls of Route Operations In 1982
It’s time for another dive into arcade history, but this one also contains a still-relevant lesson for the modern business (and investing in general). This NBC News report from around 1981/1982 shows quite the interesting look at the risks of being a route operator at a time when video games were reaching their peak. Leisure Time was misrepresented as a manufacturer in the piece; they really were a distributor and they were recruiting route operators by using numbers from better performing games as the basis. Here’s the video then a few more thoughts:
They weren’t wrong in that location plays a huge role in the success of the game, but likewise the game itself is important; had those people all bought popular titles from major manufacturers of the day, I doubt they would have had much, if any, reason to complain, even in those locations. The majors at the time would only put a game out on the market that was thoroughly tested and proven, understanding that the location played an important role. Granted, even among the majors you still had to do your research on the game – something like Centipede would have made a lot more money than Gravitar. As the piece mentions though, not every game was a Space Invaders or Pac-Man. It was that glut of duds that led to the market correction in ’83.
What the burned route ops should have done is ask to see earnings from those precise games at particular locations, and not estimates based on completely different games talked about in magazines. At least Leisure Time did lower expectations from $300 to $75/wk, and they ended up buying back duds, but they would have saved themselves a lot of trouble by promoting better titles in the first place and by getting collections data on the games they were selling instead of obfuscating the data on more popular games (it’s probable that they didn’t have the rights to be selling games like Pac-Man; believe it or not, distributor exclusivity still exists, but it’s hidden pretty well. Smaller distributors get around it by buying certain games from the authorized distro, but of course there is a mark-up, etc.) It might have been too much work, but they also could have giving potential buyers some training on how to place a game 😉
Phillip Ahn M.D. Launches New Book, Mortal Doctor
If you’ve been curious to read the life story of the man who portrayed Shang Tsung in Midway’s Mortal Kombat II, then you’re in luck, as he’s launched a new autobiography to Amazon this week entitled: Mortal Doctor: A Story of Transformation, Discipline and Purpose. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’ve heard he’s led an interesting life, so I imagine it’s worth checking out.
Looking To Buy A JAMMA Harness?
I haven’t seen Arcade Repair Tips post anything in a while (although I might have missed it), but they have this new video to discuss the purchase of a new JAMMA wiring harness. It’s quick too:
Black Emperor Production
Ok, so this isn’t really news, but I like to highlight things like this as a reminder that there are a number of indie games that are in production right now for arcades all across the fruited plain to add to their selections 😉
Our dudes are in the shop this week pumping out Black Emperor cabinets. Order yours here: https://t.co/mfdRq1BpDJ pic.twitter.com/0VaRlAQfQ6
— Black Emperor Arcade (@goBlackEmperor) June 21, 2019
The Village of Atari
Aside from the geography lesson that there is a town in the country of LAtvia called Atari, June 27th marks the 47th anniversary of the company that revolutionized the arcade business with Pong. By the little I can find on the town, it appears to be a small, quiet place, and not stocked to the brim with Atari arcade cabinets and old game consoles 😛
Sonic The Hedgehog’s 28th Birthday
And speaking of anniversaries, Sonic the Hedgehog turns 28 tomorrow. To celebrate, Sega is throwing a birthday party for the company mascot at the Tokyo Joypolis, along with fizzy blue drinks and chili dogs. I’m sure many of you know this, but in case you didn’t, Sonic’s first public appearance was not in his signature game for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive, but as an animated, dangling toy from the rear view mirror of the arcade game Rad Mobile. I’m kind of surprised that Sega isn’t selling those…it’d make more sense than the toaster 😛
If you’re like me and no where near Tokyo, how would you celebrate Sonic’s b-day? I’m seeing many other Japanese social media accounts post their ideas – share yours below!
VR Zone Portal Irvine Features A Couple of Arcade Games
In case you hit up the VR ZONE in Irvine, CA and find yourself waiting for a turn, or perhaps tired of VR, then you can enjoy some of Namco’s arcade goodness with Pac-Man Battle Royale and World’s Largest Pac-Man. It’s too bad that they seem to have left the creation of new video arcade experiences to the wayside though
Ok, so it wasn’t much, but it works. Have an awesome weekend and if you’re able to hit up the arcade, have fun!