It’s been touted on the site here for a while and today, UNIS held their physical trade show alternative called the UNIS Showcase 2020 event. These games would have been a part of their IAAPA 2020 booth, but as you might recall, that was canceled. Due to such cancellations and a huge slowdown in news, this post feels a little odd to write, just because it’s been many months since we’ve had so much news to digest in such a short time.
Using the Accelevents platform, UNIS has been able to feature virtual exhibitors (sponsors that could highlight their business and products; as a note, Arcade Heroes is a sponsor, but I’m not being paid to post this), interactive polls/Q&A/chats, the ability to watch product videos, download brochures and more. They also did some chats with some operators to get feedback on what they’ve been doing to keep their facilities going (or surviving during extended shutdowns), and they did some prize giveaways.
I did miss a couple of parts at the beginning and after the lunch break, but I’ve otherwise been able to catch all of the important portions. The company did launch a new website called UNISElite.com, where you can not only see images of the games, but you can also go into a virtual showroom, walk around and see videos and or renders of the game cabinets (one was done from a real showroom with product there; the other is virtual renderings)
Let’s get into the stuff that you readers will likely be interested in:
It’s best to explain this before we get into the games, as it might cause a little confusion if I just throw the name out there.
UNIS has come up with a new modular cabinet design that will apply to many (but not all) of their games. All of their new titles except for OnPoint are using their new Android-based, online-connected hardware platform called UIGS (Unis Intelligent Gaming System), which has been designed to make it simple to update or change games, link games, upload leaderboard info and more. This system is also being made available to consumers for Trampoline games, serving as UNIS’ first foray into the game console space.
The Elite Park itself has been built for commercial locations (particularly FECs) as a way to truly highlight the titles and turn them into an eSports concept. This includes an enclosure structure with artwork (example pictured below), and a leaderboard kiosk that helps push the competitive/eSports nature of it. The leaderboards are a big part of the Elite Park titles, where operators can easily setup tournaments. The monitor portions of the games will operate for any number of the UNIS games, allowing you to change content down the road by changing out the controls:
Also note that some of the concepts, like Basketball, have a different name as a coin-op product. In the case of Basketball, the single version is To Tha Net:
By default, games classified under the “Elite Park” moniker don’t come with a coin-op kiosk, primarily being designed for card swipe use BUT a coin-op kiosk can be added if you’re interested. Games can also be sold separately as standard arcade games without any of the Elite Park setup. By themselves and without a coin-op kiosk, UNIS mentioned a price range starting at “$3-4000 a station.”
Pretty much any of their upcoming games can be put into the Elite Park configuration, but you’ll need to discuss how with your distributor on setting that up, pricing, etc. You can also have ticket/e-ticket redemption or not, it being optional to fit within the needs of the location.
Now, onto the games!
I covered this the other day, but they showcased this one in action and provided a little more detail on it. The game comes with 4 stages, and while it does have doors that open and close in front of the screen, it did not sound like it was integrated into the gameplay in the same way as Elevator Action Death Parade (which had sequences when a boss would open the doors or allow you to choose different levels using the elevator). The guns are new designs from UNIS, which we’ll have to wait and see how they feel and operate in practice. Also, while the game was shown in a 2-player upright, operators can link 2 machines together for 4-player fun:
Here’s a new trailer:
In addition to finding some inspiration from Taito, UNIS has often built on ideas from older Namco titles. Prop Cycle is one game in particular that wasn’t a smashing success back-in-the-day, but as time has gone on, it’s gained a kind of legendary status as one of the first exercise games (exergame) in the arcade biz. Hyper Glider is like a modern verison of Prop Cycle, sans the wind blower, but with bike pedaling action.
I posted a quick photo of the cabinet to this one this morning on Twitter and here’s that, along with the game in the “Elite Park” configuration. Note this is also available as a single cabinet, but if you want the coin-op kiosk, you need to purchase that as well to be included:
And as an extra treat, some quick footage of the game from the Showcase event:
Also from the “Inspired-By- Namco” camp is Rowing Champs. When I worked at an FEC back in 1999/2000, we had Rapid River. It did well, although thanks to the hydraulic motion system, it broke down frequently and was a pain for the tech to fix (not to mention it was always an expensive fix).
For Rowing Champs, there won’t be a hydraulic system problem, so that’s already a plus – it’s also setup in a different manner than RR was, as that used a single, horizontally set oar for single or dual player river rafting simulation, while this is designed as a dual oar, single-rider per boat system.
This one probably takes the crown for the most unique and innovative idea from the event. UNIS has taken air hockey and kind of an alley bowler (aka “skeeball”) and put them into one with a video game that is along the lines of Breakout. This allows for single player use of an air hockey concept, but of course there is competitive play as this comes with two monitors in the package.
Octonauts Kiddie Rides
Octonauts is an animated kids show, and now it’s coming to the kiddie ride scene via UNIS. There are three different themed rides that feature one of the Octonaut characters on the front, but each is also interactive and comes with it’s own unique video game to play. One even uses a joystick from the Midway/TRON days…
If you couldn’t tell already, UNIS is putting a huge emphasis on exergaming with their latest line-up. This one gets more physical activity out of it than some of the others, and it’s something that I imagine would do well at trampoline parks out there. It comes with two games by default, but thanks to the UIGS platform, more can be added to it down the road.
Along the same lines as Trampoline Double, but in a smaller format, is All Star Pogo, or Pogo Jump. The game itself follows the familiar pattern of a children’s racing game (like Duo Drive and the like), but your bounce is controlled by the trampoline controller. This one is definitely for kids, although teens/adults could play it without trouble.
There is also another variation of Pogo Jump is called Spin Racer, which has similar basic gameplay to Pogo Jump, but involves rolling a ball down the straight race course instead of a pogo stick. To control the action, you use this unique, giant ball controller:
UNIS has done a few fishing games over the years, most notably Pirate’s Hook and Treasure Cove. Fishing Derby is essentially an upgrade or sequel to one they called Strike Pro Fishing, combining elements of that with Treasure Cove and the new Elite Park setup idea. This provides for the most realistic fishing reel controller that the company has done, thus putting it in closer competitive territory with Sega Bass Fishing. It’s available in a dual screen, 4-player model, a triple screen 6-player model and in Elite Park configurations; The video below just shows the 4p:
There aren’t any videos of this one yet, but you’ll notice that it’s looking to bring some Formula-1 style racing back to arcades. Funny how that style used to dominate the business, but over the past decade or two it’s been virtually AWOL. It also will bring back something like Sega’s Indy 500. I have not seen any photos of a single cabinet on this on at the moment, as it looks like they are focusing more on the specialized simulator experience that this one can offer:
Elite Park Water Games (Star Crusaders)
Water cannon games have been a hot item on the market for a few years now, so it makes sense that there would be at least one of these to join the fray. While this involves something similar to the others – fire a real water gun at a screen, where there’s a water reclamation & filtration system – it ups the ante by coming with 4 guns per cabinet, and going up to 12 guns through linked cabinets. Here’s that model:
Elite Park Soccer & Boxing
I didn’t see footage for these, although it’s possible that I overlooked/missed it. I’ve seen things like the soccer one before, although they usually occupy a space of a large & expensive simulator (ala small-room golf simulators). The boxing one can come with a fence or not.
That pretty much does it – like I said, it was a lot to digest at once, especially where we’ve had a dearth of arcade news for most of the year.
Which of these games interests you the most?