Newsbytes: Arcade “Firsts;” Rise of the AR Alley Bowlers; Tetris Dimensions; Sega History & More

arcadehero September 7, 2019 0

I’ve got a late newsbytes for you this weekend, running late thanks to a bit of work I put into the first item of business.

Arcade Firsts Page

This week I finally got a chance to sit down with my friend Azrial and talk about computer & arcade graphics. It was done for a video that I’ve been thinking about for a while now, and was done in a bit of a podcast format. I’m still working on it, as it requires a lot of spliced and sourced footage, but we talked for almost 2 hours, which is a bit more than people want to watch for a production of this quality. So, I decided to cut out a major chunk of the discussion, one dealing with arcade history and when various graphics techniques had first (or likely appeared first) in arcades. To reference that, I’ve created this page, and expanded it from just graphics to include any first I could think of:

Arcade Firsts Reference Page

This is certainly not complete, but I think it covers a good range for something thrown together in part of a day. Let me know if anything is incorrect or missing, and it’ll be corrected. I hope to have this video up next week, but we’ll see. It was a fun discussion.

The Rise Of Augmented Reality Alley Bowlers

This week I also received news of two up and coming arcade redemption games – one by UNIS and another by LAI Games. Both are alley bowlers (often called “Skee Ball,” but that is the original alley bowler brand, not the game type) that are using a popular “pseudo-hologram” technology that is better known as Augmented Reality.

Note that this next week is the AAMA Gala in Chicago, which is more of a low key event, but still often serves as a preview to IAAPA. One of these games (among others not mentioned in this post) will be there for attendees to check out.

The first one that was revealed was through UNIS and it’s called Jet Ball Alley. As opposed to just allowing the player to play through nine balls, they get to roll as many as they can before the clock runs out. Operators can go with a single or triple set of lanes; I’ll detail what I know about the AR part below. It will debut at the AAMA Gala and is reportedly shipping “late October/Early November.”

LAI’s take on the AR concept of an alley bowler is called Amazing Alley and will debut at IAAPA as a two lane piece. It looks to feature the more traditional target hole layout, but also has the AR portion to it. They did send out a short press release to detail it, where it mentions that you can win the bonus jackpot by hitting a certain number of targets that have a gold star floating over them.

As for the AR effect, this is accomplished on both games by using a transparent surface above the playfield, and a large TV display installed into the ceiling of the game. Where it’s reflected on the clear surface, the graphics appear to float above the target hole, making for a fascinating effect (and something more substantial, since graphics & animations can go a little farther than LED lighting in the holes). The UNIS model mentioned in it’s email that it’s 55″, while the Amazing Alley I assume is the same size or close.

What do you think about alley bowlers going the AR route?

Tetris Dimensions In Action

Thanks to Jdevy for finding and sharing this video, where some arcade players filmed themselves playing the new Tetris Dimensions arcade game that is on test at certain Dave & Busters locations out there:

Andamiro USA Testing Jurassic World Redemption Game

Also thanks to Jdevy for sending this one my way, a location test for Jurassic World Island Escape. The concept is similar to other games where you slide an object down a ramp to try and hit the jackpot, but instead of something like a ball with Sega’s Power Roll, it’s a jeep from JW. I would venture to guess that this will be at the AAMA Gala, or IAAPA 2019:

Arcades A Part of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights

Thanks to Stingray for pointing this out. Universal using arcades as a part of the recent Halloween Horror Nights event that goes from the beginning of September through October at their different theme parks. This year, they’re using arcades as a part of the festivities, as you can see here:

Big Buck World Championships Ramping Up The Hype

Not much I need to say here, other than the Championships are taking place Oct. 11th & 12th in Las Vegas, NV. Here are all the details:

Atari Adventure Centers 80’s Promo Video

Long ago in the 1990’s, when the internet first became available to me and I began looking up things that suited my interests, I remember reading a little about a project called the Atari Adventure Center. There wasn’t much information about them at the time, other than they looked to be Atari-owned entertainment facilities, a kind of precursor to FECs as we know them today.

Well this video posted by the Atari Museum this week has a bit more to show. Apparently, Atari was ready to roll these out in a massive way, but there was the sale of the company that threw a wrench into things. They at least got to the point of having tokens made; I came across one once in 2000 at the FEC I was working at. But what I wonder now, is whether or not the code to the Star Raiders arcade machine shown is floating around on a floppy disk out there…

Sega World London Anniversary

While Atari didn’t get their location concept off of the ground, Sega has enjoyed plenty of location success over the years. Here’s one anniversary worth noting:

Sega Dreamcast Turns 20 On Monday

Also speaking of Sega-related anniversaries, don’t forget that their last unique console, the Sega Dreamcast, will be 20 years old on Monday. They had quite the marketing blitz leading up to 9.9.99, but there was plenty of arcade ties to the system – first with the Sega NAOMI arcade board that launched in Nov. 1998 with The House of the Dead 2 and the subsequent deluge of games to release through that. The NAOMI was essentially a Dreamcast with more RAM (and additional necessary I/O ports), so people had been playing the DC almost a year before it was available at home. The Dreamcast hardware has also been used in the NAOMI 2, Atomiswave and System SP, making it one of the most prolific hardware platforms found in the modern age. This also made it relatively easy for ports to find their way to the DC at home, although that wasn’t enough to save it from eventual doom. What is your favorite Dreamcast (or NAOMI) powered game?

To make the Sega mentions a triplet, let’s also show the latest on the Sega R360 Mini. I’m not sure, but this might have triggered a renewed interest in the machine, as this week a bunch of inquiries hit the internet (on a Facebook collectors group as well as receiving a message from a Sega salesman about trying to find one). Regardless, it’s still cool; also be sure to read up on SaraAB87’s quest to locate one of these legendary machines:

Let’s end with a PSA:

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