We’re less than a week away from the next industry tradeshow, known as Amusement Expo 2020 (some still call it the “AMOA show,” just old habits). While some shows & events out there have been canceled due to concerns about the “Wuhan Pneumonia,” AE2020 is still slated to take place in New Orleans from March 9th-11th. For those who have already registered, the organization has sent out e-mails stating: “… The Louisiana Department of Health reports there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state of Louisiana. We have been monitoring updates/advisories provided by both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization.”
I think it wouldn’t hurt for attendees to take your standard preventive measures that you would for the flu (properly wash hands, cover your mouth when coughing/sneezing, obeying isolation orders if recently traveling in an affected region, don’t go around licking controls, etc). I won’t be offended if no one wants to shake hands – probably not a bad idea for us to all take to bowing instead (saw that on Twitter, but can’t recall the source, sorry). Although it wouldn’t be bad for sanitization wipes to be made readily available near machines so that controls can be regularly cleaned – particularly for VR headsets, where it wouldn’t be a bad look for booth runners to be a little more aggressive in keeping those things clean between uses.
To give you an idea of what will be at the show, here is what we know so far. Where there is speculation (due to the manufacturer not providing confirmation), I’ll be sure to say so. Same thing in the event that a developer is known to bring surprises to this show historically or not.
Booth #1139 – Adrenaline came to IAAPA19 (I’ll just say “IAAPA” from here on out) with two new pieces, Hot Wheels: King of the Road as well as Rabbids & Ladders. With both of those games in production, I would expect them to be there. Adrenaline has brought unannounced games to the event before, so we’ll see if they’ve got something new in the wings soon enough.
Booth #501 – With a 10×10 booth, American has less space than IAAPA, so I’m guessing it will focus on their two star pinball machines, Houdini and Oktoberfest, although they might be able to fit their redemption game, The Flying Dutchman in there. Not sure if their 3rd pinball title will be ready for this event or not…it should be for the Texas Pinball Festival which takes place later this month.
Booth #738 – Andamiro doesn’t tend to reveal new titles at AE, preferring to use this to help provide momentum to titles unveiled at IAAPA (some of which are released in the months between IAAPA/AE). As it is, I imagine they will be touting their Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, Basketball Pro & Ticket Man titles, with the latest version of Pump It Up around to play.
Bandai Namco Amusements America
Booth #139 – With Pac-Man Panic being available in a limited timed release (only available at Round1USA) form, I suspect that it will show up at Amusement Expo. At least, I’m hoping so, since this is Pac-Man’s 40th anniversary year, and it would be a shame if Namco doesn’t have anything to properly celebrate that in arcade form. Otherwise, Namco has been quiet about their developments and their plans. I expect Red Zone Rush to be there, along with Pac-Man’s Pixel Bash, Jumbo Jumpin‘ and Mario Kart GP DX. Do not get your hopes up for anything new on the Maximum Tune front, but that would make for a great surprise.
Barron Games International
Booth #461 – Barron has a smaller booth, but it should be enough to showcase their Koliseum VR Foosball table again. They are also debuting a Paw Patrol kiddie ride, as pictured:
Bay Tek Entertainment
Booth #739 – Bay Tek is always testing out new concepts and they’ve been known to bring these ideas to the AE show before (that sometimes don’t see a release), but outside of those surprises, I expect them to showcase the same games that we saw at IAAPA19, such as the new Skee Ball Glow & Classic models, Carnival Chaos, WIlliy Crash Mini, Connect4Hoops and so on.
Booth #439 – These guys recently updated their website, where it looks much nicer now than before. Per that site, they do have most of the equipment shown at IAAPA listed there, minus a couple of pieces (Treasure Hunt and Lucky Sevens). The most interesting piece they had at IAAPA for me was Wild West Shootout, so I imagine that’ll be at AE too:
Chicago Gaming Company
Booth #805 – CGC has fully embraced their positions as a pinball reproduction company, but I’m never able to predict what they’ll have on hand. I would expect the remakes of Medieval Madness, Attack From Mars and Monster Bash…it would be cool to see their next remake at this show. They certainly have enough booth space to make it happen.
Booth #149 – Elaut likes to show stuff at IAAPA that they don’t list on their website for a long time afterwards, so I imagine that this show will let us know whether or not they will be releasing Crazy Gem, Fast Gunman and Miner’s Gold or not. Apart from that, I would expect to see their latest crane and pusher titles, like Flintstone’s Quarry Quest and the eClaw titles.
Booth #729 – IT tends to skip IAAPA for whatever reason, but they always give support to AE. You can expect to find Golden Tee 2020 there, but they also should have the final release version of Retro Raccoons on hand. Here’s that from it’s debut at Amusement Expo last year:
Booth #413 – This new combination of Jennison and Family Fun Companies will likely be taking up much more booth space through future shows to be able to showcase their variety of titles. That said, they are not listing anything new on their websites, so outside of surprises, I expect they will have Cyclotron, Gum Drop & Kahuna’s Big Wave, among others.
Innovative Concepts in Entertainment (ICE)
Booth #421 – ICE has a good sized booth, where you can expect their IAAPA debut titles like All In, Centipede Chaos standup, Extreme AirFX, Snowball Toss and Hoop It Up. They will also be debuting their new take on Monopoly, which has been out there on the testing circuit. I might have more info on that one before the show next week, so stay tuned.
Booth #814 – From an email they sent out, they will feature a new Combo Boxer design by Kalkomat, a kids basketball machine and a clown-themed kiddie ride that they had at IAAPA.
Booth #205 – LAI had plenty of variety at IAAPA, and they will repeat that to a good degree, just with latest software in place for the different games: Outnumbered, Pearl Fishery, Toy Frenzy, Monster Munch, HYPERpitch, Prize Box and of course Virtual Rabbids. The latter they will be promoting The Big Expansion Pack, which they have also been touting on YouTube. Unfortunately, it looks like a couple of videmption games we mentioned in the past, Lethal Lawns and Beam Team are getting canned, so they will not be there.
Booth #300 – This European company has a much smaller booth for AE than IAAPA, so I imagine they’ll be using the space to focus on the titles that received the most attention from the previous show, namely Sweet Spinner, Lucky Numbers, and House of Zombies.
Booth #667 – This company was at AE last year, but I somehow overlooked them that time around. I made up for that at IAAPA, as you can see from this video below:
Booth #213 (Betson booth) – With one of the biggest booth spaces at the show, there is plenty of room for Raw Thrills to show off their latest games, which will include four new titles, two of which we haven’t seen in-person previously: Big Buck Reloaded (first time shown in the new 42″ Mini cabinet you see below; IAAPA just had Big Buck Wild’s running the new software), Bust-A-Move Frenzy, Nitro Trucks and King Kong of Skull Island. I also received this new Raw Thrills VR logo that goes with King Kong, as Raw Thills finally makes their Virtual Reality debut (after many years of rumors). I haven’t been able to confirm anything new about King Kong, but my best guess from what I saw at IAAPA is that it is like Jurassic Park Arcade motion, but with VR for the display. Clcik on any image below for a full size version:
Booth #539 – I’ve confirmed that Sega will have Mission: Impossible Arcade on hand, where this one should be pretty much ready to ship; they will also have a similar line-up to their IAAPA booth, with House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, ATV Slam, Mario & Sonic Olympics 2020, Power Roll & the Capto Crane. Of course, the company always could have something new show up at the last minute, as they have made such changes before. Hopefully I’ll be able to film Mission: Impossible this time.
While Pac-Man is celebrating 40 years of existence this year, it’s important to note that Sega will hit 60 this year on June 3rd. I’m not sure what/if the company has anything planned for that on the arcade side, but it would be neat. Granted, I’m sure the company is happy to have the Sonic movie still doing well out there…but given their arcade roots, it would be fun to have something celebratory along those lines.
Booth #639 – This crane focused company has been enjoying a lot of success with their Ticket Time & Ticket Ring cranes, so you can certainly expect those, and many of their other cranes on hand.
Booth #121 – March is a busy month for pinball, with the likes of Stern has confirmed that they will feature Stranger Things (Pro & Premium), Elvira’s House of Horrors, Jurassic Park, Guardians of the Galaxy, Deadpool, Iron Maiden and Star Wars Comic Art. Here’s hoping I get the Stranger Things premium I ordered before AE starts…another local bar already has theirs, so I’ll just have to hang tight (it might ship out today or tomorrow, at least).
The Really Big Crane Company
Booth #755 – This up-and-coming business surprised with Zombie Jam at IAAPA, so perhaps they will have the latest model/re-design on hand to show off, in addition to their crane machines:
Booth #644 – TouchMagix used IAAPA as a launch pad for three new games, so AE is looking to be a place to bolster those titles for anyone that missed them previously: SpaceWarp 66, Carnival Cups & Drift’N’ Thrift. I saw a Carnival Cups in the wild just the other day when I went to a bowling alley for a birthday party.
Booth #113 – Triotech likes to keep things a little more ‘low key’ for their AE appearances, so while I wouldn’t expect to find a big XD Theater setup, I do expect them to bring their new Storm VR ride, and perhaps their VR maze that was at AE last year.
Booth #251 – UNIS tends to keep AE more focused on their top performers, while IAAPA shows off the full variety. I do wonder how the virus shutdown is affecting them in particular. As such I expect them to bring Pong Knockout, On Point, Ultra MotoVR, To Tha Net, Treasure Dome, and Disc It – maybe Space Invaders Counter Attack. Pong Knock Out has been exclusive to Dave & Busters, but per UNIS at IAAPA, they would be launching it to the wide market in the Spring (On Point will also be launching this month or next, assuming manufacturing problems don’t cause delays).
Booth #567 – This Polish manufacturer was at IAAPA with some new videmption titles like Arcade Buzzz, Circus Jars and the EM ticket game Wild River, so I expect they’ll have a similar setup. They will also be joined by one of AH’s advertisers, PrimeTime Amusements.
Several VR-centric companies are set to show off their latest designs, including ARC-Studios, Boxblaster VR, Hologate, Minority Media, Rilix, Scale-1 Portal, Sektor VR, Virtuix, VRsenal, . The nice thing about LBE-VR at this event is that it’s usually much easier to get access to try something as opposed to IAAPA.
I am curious to see how the viral panic will affect VR interest overall, given that facial hygiene is a hurdle that the VR industry has had to grapple with over the years. Again, I think it would be wise for exhibitors to prepare both with disinfecting wipes as well as face masks, as otherwise I can see a lot of people avoiding those entirely. I’m not saying that to fan flames, it’s just what I see as being a natural reaction given how things are playing out right now, and that VR has you putting something on your face that is for use by the public. The same can be said for normal game controls too and touching your face afterwards. I still think that it’s not a bad idea for exhibitors to keep things clean even if there wasn’t something actively going around – I’m sure many of you who have been to trade shows and events come away with “Con Crud” afterwards. VR ZONE locations in Japan are temporarily closed right now as the country tries to get things under control, so it’s having a negative effect regardless. I suppose this all helps make a case for contactless controls like the Kinect, doesn’t it? 😀
Is There Anything That Is Not Going To Be There?
It does appear that we will not have as many indies showing up for this event as AE saw last year, such as Killer Queen, Black Emperor, Armed & Gelatinous, Galactic Battleground, DeathBall, Cosmotrons, the new Gungeon: House of the Gundead, and Exa-Arcadia. I’m not sure why that is, as I think that Amusement Expo is a much more affordable way for indies to get their games in front of operator buyers than IAAPA. I know that a lot of indie devs like to focus on collector events, but most collectors don’t buy new arcade machines – operators do. Also, Jersey Jack & Spooky Pinball will not be there, unless they end up being represented by a distributor.
So that’s our preview. What are you looking forward to seeing from my Amusement Expo coverage? If you’re headed there, what are you most excited to check out?