The Japan Amusement Expo (JAEPO) is approaching fast, and in the run-up to that, we’re getting more announcements and arcade game releases for the Land of the Rising Sun.
First let’s start with games that are arriving this week to Japanese arcades:
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 6R (Bandai Namco Amusements)
For the sixth installment of Namco’s star racing title these days, it now operational in Japan. This adds a National Highway Challenge, changes to how VS races are balanced; new vehicles and more. Unfortunately for those of us in the States hoping for something – anything – on an update to Maximum Tune 5, there is zero indication that Namco is doing anything with that. :/ It would be nice to be surprised though…
Poker Stadium (Bandai Namco Amusements)
Revealed last year, this interesting game resurrects non-gambling card playing, something that we haven’t really seen in a long time. It can link up to four units, and features a number of different characters to play as. While I really doubt that this will show up in the States, it would be cool if Namco at least tested it here to see how it would do. Granted, the issue here is that even as an Amusement-only game, many operators and/or customers would assume that it’s a gambling device. This will launch on January 22nd.
WACCA S (Marvelous)
It’s standard practice in Japan for major updates to rhythm games to be treated as their own new thing, and that’s the case with this and the next game we’ll mention. WACCA is a pretty neat take on the arcade rhythm game, offering an interface that, while derivative of Sega’s MaiMai, it’s different enough to stand out. The base game WACCA is available in the US through Round1USA locations (I am not aware of any US distributor that carries the game), so there’s a chance that we could see this update applied to units there. It launches in Japan on the 23rd. If you want to see this game being played in the video below, jump to 34:00.
MaiMai Deluxe Plus (Sega)
For Sega’s part, they are not letting WACCA get by without some response from their own circular music game. This new update features a “partner function” (some kind of co-op play feature, although I don’t know for certain what it entails); stamp collecting (virtual stamps, I think), new boss battles, new songs and more. This one is also launching on the 23rd.
While I’ve read that Sega Amusements is supposed to ship this sporting game in the West in January, it has an official date of February 8th in Japan.
A number of games are going through (or will soon go through) the testing phase to determine viability, which may or may not result in their eventual release. These include:
Guilty Gear Strive – The latest version of Arc System Works’ Guilty Gear will see a release on the PS4, but it is also coming to Japanese arcades that have Sega’s ALL.NET P-ras Multi V3 digital distribution system this Fall. For those attending JAEPO, a demo will be available to play:
Space Invaders Counter Attack – First shown off by Taito at IAAPA 2019, this game just started testing at a Taito Game Station last week.
Ninja Trainer Arcade – The tests for this seem to have passed already, with the most recent one taking place this past Friday. I’m not sure how many more tests they’ll go through on this one, but it seems to be getting some attention.
That’s all I came across for now, although with JAEPO approaching fast, there will be plenty of news to chew on in the coming weeks. Which of these games interests you the most?