Hello readers, and welcome to another exciting edition of Newsbytes. Here is some arcade news to chew on over the weekend, all of it a bit shorter than the usual posts.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention this – if you want one of California Extreme’s T-Shirts, you don’t have to have attended the show to get one. You can order one through this next week:
— California Extreme (@CAExtremeOrg) August 10, 2019
Bandai Namco’s Mazaria Showcases Pac-Man, Taiko No Tatsujin VR & MXR Tech
We’ve previously discussed Bandai Namco’s newest VR Zone location in Japan, as it was introducing some new VR concepts using popular Namco IPs for a basis. There were some images and very brief teasers of most items that would be there, but this week they revealed even more to the location. What I didn’t realize is that there is much more than VR to be found at the location, as they also employ a bit of Mixed Reality (MXR) tech to entertain guests. Here’s the new overview trailer that shows a lot of the MXR stuff in action:
Here’s a deeper preview of Pac-Man Challenge. This uses the wireless VR headset Oculus Quest inside of an open arena:
Then for music and Don-Chan lovers, Taiko No Tatsujin VR. I’d still prefer to hit the drums, although I understand that the controllers on this one are supposed to provide some haptic feedback when you hit the targets:
Pole Position Reverse Engineered & Remade In 3D
Since we’re talking about Namco, I’ll put this here instead of further down. While the notion of “ROM hacks” to modify the gameplay or graphics of a title has been around for ages, most just make some changes to the original game to play on it’s original hardware. Reverse engineering the whole thing, then creating a new 3D engine using that base code is a much different task, with pretty interesting results. PP is one of those IP at Namco that really hasn’t received much love in modern times, although it did morph into the Final Lap series in the late 80’s/early 90’s. More info about this project can be found on Boingboing.net. Thanks to Keith B. for sharing this one.
BONUS: House of the Dead 2 recreated in Unreal Engine 4. Thanks to Jdevy for pointing this one out to me – I missed it as I was on vacation when the news dropped over at Segabits (check them out for additional videos). I’ve been mighty curious to see more 3D arcade games re-imagined in modern engines, but most of the time these talented fans put their efforts into console games:
Andamiro USA Launching “Fun Version” of Basketball Pro
Earlier this week, Andamiro USA sent out an e-mail blast to subscribers to promote a new variation of their Basketball Pro sports redemption game. Called the Fun Version, it’s the same game, but sans the ticket redemption – as the name implies, it’s for amusement or skill-based play only. It also will take dollar bills. As the image shows, these will be limited in their availability (not sure if that means only one or two production runs are planned) and launches Mid-October.
It’s always nice to see something come along for the Street/bar operator these days that really is a piece for them – nothing overtly extravagant, but a solid piece that will probably see consistent earnings for a long time.
Big Buck Hunter Showcased On ESPN2
I didn’t get a chance to catch it, but Raw Thrills/Play Mechanix’s Big Buck Hunter was showcased on ESPN2 this past Wednesday. It was on at 3am E.T., so was quite early; I imagine that most who saw it would have DVR’ed it. Since I didn’t see the showcase, I’m not sure all of what it entailed, apart from highlighting different Big Buck tournament players. Feel free to comment on it below in case you did watch it. The official BBH channel also posted a few new videos this week to highlight specific players from the 2018 World Championships, which you can find here.
Pinball Vs. Phones
Mentioned in the last Location Watch post, The Pinball Arcade Museum in St. Petersberg, FL drew attention from local media, one of whom penned this piece about the modern virtue of pinball and how it peeled her away from her phone. In this case, Pinball = 1, Phone = 0 😛 Check it out here.
Playland Park Collector Raided For Parts
Tony Temple over at the Arcade Blogger has a new piece this week to highlight the closure of the Playland Park in Flint, MI. While the location did sell many of their games online, they had a treasure trove of titles in the basement, which were sadly left to rot – and take on some significant water damage. Most of the cabinets appear to be lost causes given how much water rot they’ve suffered. Fortunately, a collector has been able to save many parts, PCBs and pieces of many games found therein.
TurboGrafx-16 Mini Adds More Games, Including Arcade Ports
If you are looking forward to the upcoming TurboGrafx-16/PC-Engine Mini console that is launching next March, then you’re in luck when it comes to arcade ports on the machine. Konami is adding more titles to the mix than originally announced, now including Galaga ’88 and SplatterHouse. I haven’t played many TG-16 games, but I did have SH on the Wii Virtual Console and recall it being a pretty solid port.
That’s all I’ve managed to get to for today – now back to work on the next Almanac and another Sekret arcade project I’ve been chipping away at for a while now 😉