It’s been a couple of weeks since the last Newsbytes, but this has allowed for the curation of a little more material so that this post isn’t just doom & gloom from the pandemic. Fortunately enough non-virus related stories popped up this week to discuss, so lets go!
Sega Launches Transformers: Shadows Rising In Japan
It’s probably not the best timing on a game launch, since the country has gone into a deeper lockdown recently. That said, this is one of those uncommon instances where Western arcaders have enjoyed a Sega title well before their Japanese counterparts. Transformers 2 was released to Western arcades back in the summer of 2018, so I imagine that a few of you have seen it out in the wild already. Here’s one thing that is much cooler for gamers there though: the official Japanese TSR website is light-years better than the English site. This also makes me wonder – perhaps the upright version will come to IAAPA 2020?
TMNT Pinball Confirmed
Had things not been flipped over on their head, we likely would have received an announcement on Stern’s next machine, which has been rumored to be a new rendition of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Looks like that is the case per this tweet, where a corner of the new machine was spotted in Dwight Sullivan’s video of a recent Stern group video stream. I guess we’ll officially find out more some time this summer, assuming that Stern is able to be open by then:
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Pinball Confirmed!?
Sure looks like it!! Image shared by George Gomez and if you zoom in on Dwight Sullivan…surprise! pic.twitter.com/EroGYXu9v3
— This Week in Pinball (@__twip__) April 21, 2020
Motion Sphere Updates
A while back I had posted about a Brazilian company that was reviving the technological idea behind Sega’s R360 machine, bringing it up to date with today’s technology. When I discovered it, the company hadn’t updated their YouTube channel in over a year, but this week they suddenly revived their channel by uploading a dozen different videos to showcase their products. They have more than one application for these, including simulation of race cars, fighter jets, MotoGP and something like a virtual ride. One version of it uses curved dome screen technology (something that had been favored by Bandai Namco Amusements in the past), while another is using VR headsets. This video is all in Portuguese and showcases a new location in southern Brazil called EXCEED PARK that has several of these units on hand.
Where I am fluent in Portuguese, the gist of the video is getting testimonials from users who are impressed with how immersive the Motion Sphere experiences are, starting off by saying that the location is the “Disneyland of video games & gamers” since you are “inside the game,” “everything moves around,” you feel like you’re in control of the actual vehicles, etc. The older gentleman interviewed is either an engineer or designer(they don’t introduce him really), and he is also very impressed with the advances in technology that allow a place like Exceed Park to exist.
Steve Wozniak Talks Arcade Games
H/T to the KLOV Forums for finding this one. I had not seen it before, but if you want to get some arcade history from a first-hand source, it doesn’t get better than this:
Could Break Rooms Capitalize On Quarantine Cabin Fever?
I certainly think so. Once lockdowns are lifted, I do think that there will be a lot of desire to break that cabin fever, although with a lot of small companies and even some larger chains possibly going bankrupt and closing up forever, that’s going to have an effect on consumer earnings capability down the line. It’s one of those unknowns that we’ll have to wait for, but perhaps “Break Rooms” is one segment of the Location Based Entertainment business that stand to take advantage of any bounce back:
Vritria Hexa Update
We’ve got another Twitter update on the arcade version of an older STG called Vritria. The developer posted this brief video to the net back on the 21st, and we see some additions that the original game didn’t have – stage branching and some new voice overs. This one is looking better and better as time goes on:
VRITRA HEXAにステージクリア〜ステージ選択の演出はこんな感じ。スコアランキングはステージ毎の予定です。自分ではカッコ良いと思ってるけど、ちょっと見飽きたので変えるかも。 #VRITRA pic.twitter.com/wyOVHydONm
— h.sawatari@インディーゲーム開発 (@saddy575) April 21, 2020
Is MODE A Potential Replacement For A NAOMI GD-ROM Drive?
Maybe, per this thread. As a hardware-based disc emulator for the Sega Saturn & Dreamcast, the potential is certainly there. For those in the know, the Sega NAOMI is similar to, but not an exact replica of, the Dreamcast, but the aging GD-ROM drives haven’t had a nice plug-n-play replacement solution using a modern storage medium like an SD card. There is a netboot configuration of sorts, although I have had no personal experience with that to say more than that. I suppose we’ll find out soon enough once RetroHQ gets their hands on MODE to test it out; You can get one for yourself and your Saturn/Dreamcast here.
How To Change Your Car Color To Red In Taito’s Chase H.Q.
Here’s a cool little secret uncovered by an AH reader, ohfivepro. While it’s all aesthetic, this is how you change the color of the vehicle in Chase H.Q. to red. This makes me wonder if there are any secrets like this in Chase H.Q. 2 (that does have other paint jobs that you can choose from, but it would be cool if there were others that are secret). This also makes me wish that modern devs would put some secrets in their games again (if they have, they’ve been super quiet about it over the years and no one has discovered anything):
Speaking of secrets or fun little mini-games, here’s volleyball in Atari Games’ Primal Rage:
Batman Forever Color DMD
The latest from ColorDMD, the guys who colorize old pinball machines with new high-tech displays:
Playing Retro Arcade Ports
I’ll do some more of these with some games that I have if anyone wants them. Also been thinking about doing a VLOG.
Shutdown Related News
How To Support Closed Arcade Venues – Arcade Hunters
The Stinger Report This Week: Dealing With The “New Normal”
PrimeTime Amusements (an AH advertiser) Looks To Assist Companies In Reselling Product
Dave & Busters Selling Shares To Raise Funds
Kevin Williams: Surviving COVID-19 As An LBE Company
Here’s one measure being taken at an arcade in Japan (Imi Grande Hiyoshi center, Yokohama). H/T to Kevin Williams for this. TBH, I’m not really sure that such barriers are effective, but some measures might be more of a psychological benefit than a practical one. One thing I’ve been looking into and have heard other ops doing is getting their hands on sanitizer dispensing stations and looking to set them up all over their venues, although the trouble has been finding refills.
Let’s end this with a meme that I saw Arcade Belgium share, although I’m not sure who originated it as I started to see it pop-up everywhere. So hat tip to whoever it is that cooked this up:
It’s also possible to run the Naomi with a Raspberry Pi.