Hello humble readers of the arcade world, and welcome to another exciting summer edition of Newsbytes. This is the last for July…yep, it’s already over. As we head into the winding down part of the year, game news should certainly pick up as IAAPA 2019 approaches.
On a note, I am working on a video that’s a little different from the norm that will be covering computer & arcade graphics. I hope to have that up this week, but no guarantees. I hope that it will be the first in a series of videos that dive much deeper into aspects of arcades than I’ve previously done. The one about gameplay should be most interesting 🙂
Let’s get to it:
Direct footage of Mario & Sonic 2020 Olympics
We spoke about Sega testing the upcoming Mario & Sonic 2020 Olympics game (I’ll skip writing out the whole title for now 😛 ) earlier this week, and as soon as the test began, some Japanese media sites began promoting the game with some screenshots. The official website itself also received an update, including a small 9:16 direct capture video embedded into the site. It was savable, so I took that and spliced in some photos and text for this video below. There are only four events in this version, but they always test the stuff that’s workable and leave other events for later. I also noticed that the frame rate of the direct capture was subpar, but that will certainly be ironed out by the time it releases. I have reached out to Sega for a comment on this, but so far nothing to tell on the possibility of a Western release right now.
CAX 2019 Is On!
The longest running arcade collectors expo is in full swing as I type this, running today and tomorrow in Santa Clara, CA. While I attended the event last year as part of a Summer vacation/road trip, I wasn’t able to do the same thing this time around, so I have had to pass. That said, I’ll be in San Francisco this coming March for something very arcade related, but enough about me.
In addition to an amazing array of classic and new arcade machines stuffed into the halls of the Hyatt Regency there, there are plenty of things to buy and panels to attend. One AH reader is there (sending the pic you see below, via MrJBRPG) and has been reporting back from the future of indie games panel, which is being run by the crews of BumbleBear Games (Killer Queen <- link to an article that’s been big this weekend about the success of KQ) and Arcadeaholics (Cosmotrons). Both teams have discussed how they approach designing games, how many sales they’ve had (was surprising to hear Killer Queen at 135 – congrats to them on that, as it’s a challenge for any indie to break 50, much less 100). Additional panels will include Steve Ritchie talking pinball and Black Knight, Owen Rubin talking about Major Havoc and new updates to that, the showing of Touching Sound, a documentary we’ve mention on here before and much more.
CAX is always a great event, so if you’re anywhere near the area, definitely make the effort to go and check it out. Here’s another pair of gems, only 9 of these in existence and CAX has two of ’em (via TJ Beyer)
You can also expect to find something really different, here’s a truly “electro”-mechanical pinball machine at CAX 2019 sent to me by RohoGames (listen to his game design podcast when you can)
Parker Dillman & Ben Heck Develops The Pinotaur Board
I’m not 100% what it can do yet, but I like it already. It’s essentially a modern controller board for pinball machines, easily programmable by the looks of it. What I hope it could do is serve as a replacement for really old boards. I have an Atari Space Riders that’s been nothing but headaches, mainly due to the ancient CPU board. If there was a way to just replace it with something modern like this, I’m down. Apart from that, it still looks like it’ll be great for future pinball creations:
This is our new Pinotaur pinball board. All dedicated switches 64 standard, 16 optos, 16 cabinet, 16 GI banks, DMA'd serial RGB insert lighting, 24 coils, 4 servos or steppers, current sense on high voltage line and USB device mode for use with host computer. pic.twitter.com/c1ZsjCSb5E
— Ben Heckendorn (@benheck) July 26, 2019
Timezone Allegedly Set To Destroy One Of The Few Remaining Examples Of Sega’s Virtua Formula
Saw this posted at Arcade Belgium and while it’s something that will likely sadden or tick off collectors & preservationists, it’s worth mentioning regardless.
Timezone is a big chain of FECs that are found in the regions of SouthEast Asia and Australia; we’ve mentioned them a few times before. One location in particular, Timezone at Surfers Paradise in Queensland, Australia, closed their doors this past Monday to begin renovations. This includes refreshing the arcade section with new stuff. The distressing part from that comes with the news that the extremely rare Virtua Formula is scheduled to be “smashed up” in the next few days, according to Arcade 80s – Arcade restorations Australia. By what they say, the new owners aren’t interested in maintaining the game despite it reportedly earning well. This kind of thing often happens with people who are only in this kind of business for the money, find it easier to smash it up and throw it away, than it is to maybe find someone willing to buy it then arrange freight. The latter is often a hang-up for the preservation of most pieces of gaming history like this. RIP Virtua Formula.
Touch Magix Teams Up With Brunswick To Turn Bowling Alleys Into Interactive Attractions
I thought I had mentioned this previously, but it looks like I hadn’t. This news comes from one of our sponsors, Touch Magix, who has taken their projection mapping expertise and applied it to bowling. At the recent International Bowl Expo 2019 event in Las Vegas, they announced a partnership with bowling pillar Brunswick, and the development of Spark. This system essentially turns any bowling lane into an arcade game, with seamless projection mapping on the surface and integrated sensors to know exactly where the ball is plus it’s angle, speed, etc. I saw some pictures and video of it at the expo and it was impressive how they set it up; here’s a promo video to check out as well:
Aka & Blue Type-R Gets Another Test In Japan
Exactly a year ago at CAX2018, we saw a great setup for Exa-Arcadia, the first in the States. Unfortunately, it’s a year later and the platform is still not available, but per this tweet of another location test for the launch title shoot ’em up, Aka & Blue Type-R, we get the little gem of: “in preparation for the exA-Arcadia launch.”
I’ve been told that the systems are in production, so hopefully this is the last test that this game and the system will see, and it will be rolling out to arcades in the next month or so. Here’s hoping…
Arcades across Japan are location testing Aka & Blue Type-R in preparation for the exA-Arcadia launch.
— exA-Arcadia公式 (@exaarcadia) July 26, 2019
Roast Iron Fossil
Just some fun that was posted to the Taito Twitter account (like most everyone else, can’t say that I’m a fan of “New Twitter”). You’ll have to be a fan of the Darius series to get this photoshop 😛
The Definitive History Of Sega World London
If you love arcade, gaming and/or Sega history, then this is the YouTube documentary for you.
Fishing Spirits Coming To Switch
Remember Ace Angler? If not, then it wouldn’t be a surprise. The game briefly got a release in the States, but it was very pricey ($16k) in a market that was quickly dominated by cheap Chinese titles that all did the same thing. Granted, Namco’s effort was elevated, in that it used fishing reel controllers, each of which featured a tiny LCD screen where you could adjust your bait or lure. While the game didn’t do too well in the US, it has done well enough in Japan where it’s received frequent updates and a sequel. Now, it’s coming to the Nintendo Switch. The Switch is feeling more and more like the Nintendo Wii when it comes to arcade ports, the system really has a lot to please any arcade gaming fan.
And remember kids, the next time you feel that a coin-op game is “ripping you off,” nothing that we have in this industry can match the spectacular scam that is Star Citizen. That’s all I’ve found for now, have a great weekend!