It’s hard to believe that it has already been a week since Amusement Expo 2020 took place. This post and editing videos has kept me busy, but finally it’s ready to go. The Expo was possibly one of the final trade events held on the planet before the situation around You-Know-What really went downhill (as I was getting off the plane at home is when the announcement that the NBA cancelled their season). This post was also delayed due to the earthquake that hit just a few miles North of my home this morning; while it was only a 5.7 (a moderate quake), being close to the epicenter meant extra shaking, lots of extra broken glass and picture frames, and stronger-than-you’d expect aftershocks. Apart from those keeping everyone on edge (had over 90 through the day, one was 4.6), we are all ok. No serious injuries were reported across the region, but some older buildings were damaged; at my arcade, there is some superficial damage to ceiling tiles and the like, but no games damaged as far as we could tell (didn’t turn them all on, but the mall was shut down for the day). Since things have calmed down over the past few hours, and power/internet was restored, I’ve been able to finish this up.
Getting back to the show. I heard that attendance wasn’t drastically down, and by Tuesday afternoon, only 8 badges were unaccounted for. While some of the games on hand were seen at IAAPA 2019, most of those that were had received big software updates to further polish the games and bring them closer to production. That said, You-Know-What is shutting down economies all over the world, including manufacturing, so expect delays on when games might normally ship, or expect limited quantities.
I have been uploading all of my AE videos to both YT and BitChute; redundancy never hurts, especially when the big guys might remove perfectly fine videos because I guess that’s what “machine learning” does, or something. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Let’s go by this in alphabetical order, the same as I did for the Amusement Expo 2020 preview.
Their booth was about the same as IAAPA, a little smaller and without the big Hot Wheels car. But they did bring the 4-player version of Hot Wheels: King of the Road; IAAPA only saw the 6-player version.
For the surprise of the show(as it hadn’t been directly announced that it would be there), American brought along their 3rd pinball design, Hot Wheels. This was prudent on their part, since it looks like there won’t be any events that it could otherwise appear at for the next while. Hot Wheels is a simpler design compared to Oktoberfest and Houdini, but it still has a solid and fun layout that garnered a lot of play from visitors. Not everyone is a fan of the spinning car, but they did say that what was at the show was “90% complete” and it was possible some changes would be made based upon feedback. At 90%, they were also saying 4-6 weeks on shipping, but who knows if all these forced & voluntary shutdowns of venues around the world might cause additional delays. This is definitely the most popular video I’ve posted from the show so far:
While I was on my flight home, I sat next to Jerry Johnston, former president of the AMOA and just retired from the AMOA board. He’s a big operator in Oregon (his company is called Amusement Connect), and as we talked shop, he whipped out a flyer from Andamiro, where I realized that I completely missed their new street piece, Soccer Safari. It was there, as were their other big redemption pieces introduced or showcased at IAAPA.
Bandai Namco Amusements
As mentioned in the preview, BNA had a similar setup to IAAPA with Red Zone Rush being their highlight. They did have a new redemption game called Ball Madness. They are working on other games that aren’t ready to be revealed yet, so keep an eye on them for IAAPA2020.
Barron Games International
I had a brief chat with the Barron team, where they had their Koliseum VR game (now with financing via Firestone Financial) and new Paw Patrol kiddie ride. They will be offering additional, licensed kiddie rides from their new UK partner (a product class they have always made available, although there usually isn’t much to say about such rides 😉 )
Bay Tek Entertainment
Along with their IAAPA pieces, they were demonstrating a new & colorful redemption (sort of videmption) game called Hypernova. You just use a lever to launch a propeller inside of a closed chamber. Where ever it lands along the vertical scoreboard is the number of tickets you win. The trick is using the right amount of force. They had two models, one of which had a holographic topper while the other didn’t (so I’m guessing it will be an option – if this ships). It’s not on the BT website yet, so may or may not be released.
I didn’t spend much time at this booth, as it was like the IAAPA booth, just a little more compact. As mentioned in the preview, their main video piece is Wild West Shootout, while most of their focus remaining on redemption pieces including Plinko and Boardwalk Spin.
No new revelation from this team, but if you had missed out on the Monster Bash remake, then this expo provided a great chance to check the different models out.
Elaut came ready with plenty of games packed into their booth; they were also joined by Team Play and their latest Pix Place photo booth (Team Play still working on some videmption content like Surfin Surfari, but it’s not ready yet). Apart from their cranes & redemption pieces, they also were showing a new videmption game by Ace Amusements called T-Rex Laser. It’s like most of these sit-down kid-friendly videmption games, but it does not have any water gun or ball launcher gimmick. It’s all about blasting dinosaurs though.
The star game of ICE’s booth was Monopoly Roll-N-Go. The game is essentially Big Bass Wheel in how it plays, but with the Monopoly motif and an enormous dice that you spin. Definitely an impressive looking piece that may be available by this Summer.
IT had their staples of Golden Tee and Silver Strike, although they were not the primary focus of the booth – the final version of Retro Raccoons was, with 3 units setup at the front of their booth. This is the release version of the game, which was initially revealed back in 2018 as Tipsy Raccoons; last year at Amusement Expo 2019 it turned into Retro Raccoons. As mentioned on the blog, this game is shipping now.
BTW – Incredible Technologies had a countdown going on behind the Retro Raccoons games. When it ends, it’ll land in June…what do you think it is?
I did not notice anything different from IAAPA for this company, although they were able to fit their offerings into a single booth space as opposed to it being two. The Wile E. Coyote Rocket Wheel and Kahuna’s Big Wave were the primary games.
I mistakenly thought that they brought their freshly announced “Mini” Virtual Rabbids piece, although it was the Compact model. Looks like we’ll have to wait a little bit before seeing the Mini. Otherwise, the setup was just like their IAAPA19 booth(Hyper Pitch won the AMOA Innovator Award; they had Pearl Fishery & Toy Frenzy on display), and I participated in the Amusement Expo tournament for Outnumbered, which awarded me some virtual items in the Outnumbered app (which is a nice touch).
I caught these guys literally as they were leaving the show. Sounds like it they had a good amount of interest in their platform; I’ll reshare this video I shot at IAAPA19 of it in case you missed it, which shows what the Polycade is all about.
As expected, Raw Thrills had a lot of new stuff to show off, so let’s break it down by game. I’ll just focus on the newest stuff:
King Kong of Skull Island – Their first foray into interactive VR rides did show up in all of it’s prototype glory, but it was emphasized that there is still work to be done on it. The cabinet looks nice, and is not all purple as I initially though (the LEDs are RGB, so it’s always cycling through). At first I couldn’t tell where the motion sensors were for detecting hand movement, but then I noticed that they are built into the handles in front of each player. Kevin Williams did suggest that the seats be raised up, and it’s always possible that some other changes will be made between now and the ride’s final release.
Bust-A-Move Frenzy – The latest addition to RT’s series of classic game reboots was on-hand, and it’s fun. While it’s perfectly easy to control, I do find the controllers to be a tiny bit of overkill, since a giant roller would do the trick just as well, and you’re not vertically aiming. The game is no longer built on levels, so the waves and types of bubbles get progressively harder as you play. There is an Amusement Mode, I just wonder what the ratio of redemption vs. amusement units will end up being out there.
Big Buck Reloaded – The new cabinet redesign was there, although it was still in need of a few finishing touches. The LEDs hadn’t been programmed and gun holsters are supposed to be green/orange, whereas they were black. Still, this is a massive update to Big Buck Wild, enough that the update cannot be handled online, so if you have an existing commercial unit, hang tight as kits are shipping out.
Nitro Trucks – Debuting at IAAPA19, this game has been polished up a little bit as the team behind it continues to prep it for a release. They modified how ramming works so that it connects more often, and they also spruced up the graphics and some of the effects. I didn’t focus on the cabinet for my capture here, as that will change from what they had the show (more lighting and some other minor aesthetic changes):
While their booth space wasn’t anywhere near as large as their IAAPA one, Sega managed to pack the major games into the spot and make the most of it.
Mission: Impossible Arcade – After some months of waiting, I finally was able to film Sega’s new shooter in action. As a 4-player Super Deluxe cabinet, I had already discussed how impressive it was to see in person, but the most important part is how it plays. I compare it to Target Bravo: Operation GHOST in some respects, but it has elements of Confidential Mission too. This should be available now.
Mario & Sonic At The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Arcade Edition – The dedicated version of this sports compilation game was on hand, looking nice and playing well. The software is complete now, where it picks three events out of a pool of twelve every time you play; pick what you want and go for it. While it is easy to play (just follow the giant prompts that pop up to show you what to do), I did notice people ignoring those enormous prompts and getting confused or playing wrong. Oh well. For those that pay attention and like mini-games, this one’s for you, and everything about it is improved over the 2016 edition.
They also featured their megahit redemption piece Power Roll, the Capto Crane and a single ATV Slam.
Smart Industries – In addition to their current crane line-up, they were also showing off a new game called Egg Saviour 2, which is a lot like the old Wacky Gators redemption game, but features snakes instead of gators.
Stern Pinball – As mentioned in the preview, Stern had a nice variety of titles to show off, with a Pro & Premium of Stranger Things serving as the highlight of the booth. This was the first time that I got to try either game. To help with the UV lighting and the projector on the Premium model, they did install a black canopy, but it’s always tough to block out lighting in a trade show environment. Because I received my Stranger Things Premium today, I will post this video; I did film an unboxing, but it’s going to take me a bit of time to edit that together, since I also did the UV lighting kit, and that took longer than I expected to take care of.
The Really Big Crane Company – When I initially heard about these guys a while ago, I kind of just shrugged them off as another crane maker, but then they made a video game and it drew me in. Zombie Jam was back, and much improved over the IAAPA build. This one is slated to release late spring/early summer and I think it will be a strong contender in the burgeoning video basketball space. Here’s Play Mechanix head George Petro showing off his hoop shooting & gaming skills on it:
Touch Magix – With one of the more varied showings, Touch Magix not only had two new games to show, they also had updated versions of recent launches like Drift ‘N’ Thrift, which was playing a little differently than the IAAPA build (it isn’t completely different, but it is an improvement that I found more fun to play).
Ticket Pinball – Sean McDermott mentioned to me that there was a SpongeBob redemption pinball machine released some years ago after he saw my vid, so apologies for that mistake. Still, videmption pinball is a pretty uncommon thing. This one needs some tweaking, particularly on the physics/gravity, but if they get it there, this could be a great way for redemption gamers to get their feet wet with pinball.
SpaceWarp 66 Amusement Edition – While all of Touch Magix’s games have been redemption games first, they say the popularity of this one at IAAPA and also knew that many venues out there don’t want to or can’t operate redemption, so they have offered this slightly adjusted amusement only version for the market. I should have checked at the end of the show to see if my record of 135 still stood.
TrioTech Inc. – It always feels a little weird to drop by the TT booth and not have the XD Theater around, but they do have products that work on a smaller scale for shows like this, including the Typhoon 10th Anniversary and their new Storm VR Ride.
UNIS – Also reduced in size from their IAAPA showing, all of the hits that UNIS had then were available to play, and this time without the lines. Crazy Ride was not there, but that also only shows under the “International” category on their site for now. Of course, the company has Ultra Moto VR & OnPoint that they are really focusing on. They also had their Atari Pong table (only the 2p verison; the Pong Knock Out version wasn’t around), Ticket Dome, Zombie Night and To Tha Net games on hand.
OnPoint – This is one that I will have video for soon, and will post here once finished. This was one of my wife’s favorite games, and like it has done at every event, it’s getting attention. The updated version has the On Point name (at IAAPA it was “GunArena”) and the side barriers that they had mentioned would be coming. Otherwise the software looked and played the same to me, but they also have really been touting the online tournament features for this one, as a real potential contender in the eSports space. The price point puts it firmly into FEC territory, but with the appeal it already has plus the online stuff, I think this one will be a big hit.
Space Invaders Counter Attack – I didn’t get much time on this one at IAAPA, so the smaller show was nice so I could really explore it. Like most IAAPA debuted games, this one was polished up nicely, and now the physical invaders you shoot are not to be trifled with. I also did record this one, but need to get to the editing part.
There were a number of VR setups at the show, beyond the King Kong of Skull Island (Raw Thrills), Koliseum VR (Barron), Virtual Rabbids Compact (LAI Games) and Storm (TrioTech). Some we’ve seen before, like VRsenal’s take on Beat Saber VR and Virtuix’s Omni Arena. I did receive a press release from the makers of HyperDrive VR, but I have to apologize, as I didn’t see it until after the show (access to my email was limited). Here’s a quick run through most of the VR setups:
Also, there was a re-appearance of a couple of Augmented Reality games that we had seen back at IAAPA 2018, but now with enhanced software and even linking ability between two very different games. One game involves bazookas and a tank (AR Tanks War) and the other is a sniping game called AR Super Strike. The games do link together, feature very realistic guns, although mediocre graphics. Still, the scope displays work just fine, and the multiplayer makes it cool. These were found at the Fun Hoops booth.
I still have some videos to post from the show, but it has been slow going for a number of reasons. Just stay subscribed to my channels, and you’ll catch them :). Apart from that, the arcade industry is facing an big challenge right now, with many locations having to close to help prevent additional route for infections. Here’s hoping and praying that it will all pass sooner rather than later – and that lenders will be willing to provide loan relief/pauses to help us weather the storm.
Outside of that, there is plenty of good stuff available for the industry