IAAPA Expo 2019 closed a couple of weeks ago, but it was busy enough to provide content for plenty of blog posts. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get to these posts as quickly as I would have liked, but better late than never I suppose! In case you missed our previous coverage, then here are the handy links below:
While I’ve already covered Sega in those prior posts, Sega Amusements posted this highlights video from the show this week, where you do get to see Mission: Impossible Arcade sort of in action (which was banned for filming by anyone else). Hopefully we’ll be able to get some proper screenshots and/or video of this one in action before it appears at EAG 2020.
It had also been mentioned that UNIS had a lot to show at their booth, debuting several new pieces in video arcade entertainment. To Tha Net was one of their biggest ones, garnering a ton of attention from show attendees. While most basketball games are nothing to write home about, adding the video game element to them certainly helps in adding depth to what you can do here. The video also includes footage of their Disc It For Tickets game:
Not to be overlooked was their new driving game that gained a lot of attention when it was revealed a few months back, Crazy Ride. This modern take on the Crazy Taxi concept comes with a motion base, a touchscreen GPS-style monitor on the control panel and some vibrant graphics; It just needs some tweaking in my view (getting rid of/changing the green arrow at the top; doing more voiceovers; providing a way to collect more time & spacing potential riders out a little more). I noticed that there were a few people who really enjoyed this one, building up a nice in-game rep by continuing and building the overall ‘purse’ and star rating:
Last year, UNIS unveiled Fantasy Soccer at IAAPA and this year, they had the game again, but only as a single 2-player cabinet. This model is new, and was designed as a more budget friendly version of it’s larger cousin. I heard mixed reviews from soccer fans at the show last year, and it is too bad that they seemed to pass up on this, as the software has been polished up. The frame rate is solid, animations improved, initial game prompts are perfectly clear. I am curious as to how the soccer balls on the cabinet hold up to use and how much it costs/difficulty in replacing them, but smaller venues should be happy that they have the options:
There was plenty of pinball to be enjoyed at the show, but due to the crunch I’ve been in, I haven’t been able to complete all of the videos on this genre yet.
For Stern, they had their latest Premium release, Elvira’s House of Horrors. While what I played was fun, it did feel unfinished, so we’ll have to wait and see how software updates change/improve on it. One of the things missing was the “build your own B-Movie trailer” feature. It did play brief clips from bad cinema, but nothing was mentioned as far as a trailer would go. That will probably show up in a later code update. The playfield also did feel a little sparse for a Premium level game, but I imagine that there was trade-offs going on in the cost of getting Elvira herself to cut footage for the game. I really like the gargoyle pop targets and I also appreciate seeing Stern improve on their CG work (they’ve come a long way since Aerosmith).
Stern also had the premium version of Jurassic Park, where the animatronic T-Rex head really stands out, and the Comic Art Editions of Star Wars. While the Star Wars layout is not really my favorite (it’s a bit of a Drain-O-Matic), the artwork on the new models is fantastic – it’s the way the game should’ve shipped in the first place.
Jersey Jack had an almost full line-up of their titles on hand, minus Pirates of the Caribbean. To make up for it, they had four Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory games to play, although the couple of times that I dropped by, one of them was off. The other three played fine though, covering the Standard, Limited and Collectors Edition models of the game. This is a very vibrant piece and has more stuff in it than Elvira does, which is nice. The Wonkavator super ball lock mechanism is pretty sweet, so I imagine that getting at least the LE model would be the way to go (Standard models are the only ones lacking that piece). Overall it’s a fun game, although maybe I just didn’t play it right to hear & see more stuff from the movie – I suppose I expected more along that line. The animations on the display are fantastic, as always.
For their first appearance at IAAPA, and the first time that I had come across the company in any official capacity was American Pinball. They had two pairs of their two pins to play, Houdini: Master of Mystery and Oktoberfest: Pinball On Tap. Oktoberfest is below, I’ll be trying to get the Houdini video finished the first part of this next week. Of the two, I prefer Houdini – maybe that’s because my skill set at pinball is still Apprentice grade instead of Wizard, but I like how they used the theme. It feels like Theatre of Magic, where you are exploring all of these different elements to the person and the magic craft, so that was fun. For Oktoberfest, I know it has a lot crammed into it, I just sucked at unlocking it to see 😛 I guess that’s advice for next time as I need to work to “git gud.” The company also debuted a prototype version of a new redemption game called The Flying Dutchman on the booth, unveiling their “American Arcade” division as they seek to diversify their game portfolio.
following up on SpaceWarp 66, Touch Magix did show off two other new games at the show: Drift ‘N ‘Thrift and Carnival Cups. It seems that I captured less of CC than I thought I did, so it’s appearance is a little short here, but I think there’s enough to give the gist of it. On Drift ‘N’ Thrift, it’s a driving game where you drift your car around an open playfield, collecting cash, avoiding the cops and boulders and watching your fuel. Carnival Cups is simpler than that, but has the advantage of allowing for two players simultaneously; it’s the old ball ‘n cup game. Follow the correct cup through five stages that get progressively difficult; I could reach 4 without much trouble, then it threw me for a loop.
While this company keeps their focus on redemption gaming, they do tend to have a videmption piece or two on hand to enjoy. They’re still promoting their ICE MAN game, but they had a kind of sequel to it there called Water Fantasy. I didn’t pay much attention to that one (it’s the same basic idea as IM, but it has much smoother graphics) as myself and many others were drawn to Wild West Shootout. Now it should be pointed out that if you are in Europe, you can get this game through UDC, but on the US side it’s Coastal. Either way, it’s the same game. What’s interesting about it is that we really haven’t had an Old West shooter game in…well, ages. Sunset Riders, Gun Fight and Gun Smoke come to mind, but nothing of any recent memory. The cabinet features great detail and the six shooter pistols have that extra touch of the gun hammer pulling back (like with a real six shooter). The game itself is standard light-gun flare, where I really don’t have much to say about it in a negative light, since it seemed to handle everything as it should (other than the graphics, although I guess they have their charm about them in blending 2D characters with 3D environments).
Having missed this group at Amusement Expo 2019, I didn’t have trouble finding them this time. The Polycade offers licensed content in a sleek wall-mounted cabinet platform (a stand is available to make it free-standing), with Sanwa controls and is produced in both free play and play-by-time formats. On the former style, the home market is becoming a bit crowded these days with such options, although they can certainly boast about quality on the control side of things. On the latter, play-by-time is unusual in our market, but not unheard of. They are looking at venues like bar/arcades that often already have timing models, and perhaps mainly focus on classics. I’ve also heard of arcades here and there using timers on console games, but in this case, the software is licensed and it’s curated to fit with what you would expect to find in an arcade environment (Volgarr instead of Skyrim, as one example). They also have licensed an indie game that is available separately as it’s own dedicated cabinet, Galactic Battleground. Hands down, they had the coolest “business cards” at the show, arcade tokens with their names & contact info on them.
The Really Big Crane Company
I first had heard of this company at IAAPA last year when they introduced their “Find A Key” crane. What I didn’t know is that it’s apparently backed by some industry titans in the Chicago area, including some of Raw Thrills’ top brass. By what I heard, they are aiming to produce stuff that’s appealing more to street operators than FECs. While I admittedly overlooked their cranes this time around, I did spend a little time with their new hybrid video basketball machine, Zombie Jam. This was at the Bandai Namco booth, where the European arm distributes RBGC equipment.
This is a concept that is much like Connect4Hoops, but in a much smaller format (something I’ve heard a few ops complain about in C4H’s case, as even the “Standard” version was still huge for a lot of places). Instead of playing a board game, you have zombies that are climbing to the top of the screen; land a shot in that column to fire a virtual cannon to knock them back or down completely. They will be changing the cabinet design, mainly the angled open top, which is prone to allowing balls to fall out of it, which will be welcome. We’ll see where it is come Amusement Expo 2020:
Speed Rider 3 & 3DX (IGS/Fun Hoops)
One game I didn’t expect to come across was the new Speed Rider 3 series of games, which was found at the Fun Hoops booth. This company focuses mostly on crane machines, but they had both the standard and deluxe models of Speed Rider 3 to enjoy. The style and graphics of this one are very similar to Ultra Moto VR, but no headset required here. One thing I didn’t realize until after I finished recording this is that it only appears to have four courses, which is lean, but also becoming more common to go back towards fewer tracks nowadays (3-5 tracks was standard back in many 90’s racers). This does use a QR rewards system, but the most interesting gimmick to me was the lean sensor – leaning on the bike would give you a slipstream for more speed.
Is That All?
Nope, not yet! We’re not far off though – I’m just about finished on the video & videmption pieces; I’ll need to do Houdini pinball and see if I captured enough of Star Wars Comic Art to be useful, then I’ll finally get to VR. I’ll also try and do a full IAAPA Expo 2019 video recap to review all of the news that came out of the show, so things will be busy for a little while yet.
Thanks for reading and we’ll catch you on the next round!