Welcome to Newsbytes, a “quick” spattering of arcade news for your weekend, that often ends up with more commentary than warrants a “quick” post 😛 There hasn’t been a lot of arcade news this week, although a few things popped up over the past couple of days.
Fight of Gods Arcade Edition Now Available
H/T to Arcade Belgium for this one. Available on PC for a while now, this tongue-in-cheek religious & myth themed fighter can now be grabbed for arcades via the exA-Arcadia platform. Changes/enhancements include new fight balancing with low input lag play, a new character by the name of Beliar, new soundtracks from Go Sato and additional language support. They do offer to remove Buddha as a selectable character for customers in certain territories, although that has to be requested when ordering. The kit package comes with artwork and instructions, just like other exA titles do, and the cost is on-par with the two other fighters on the system, Chaos Code and Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ.
New Trailer For Heiyankyo Alien 3671/Cosmic Digger 3671 AC
It’s been quite a while since we heard about the remake of an obscure maze/digging game that was among the first titles announced on the exA. The last time was when I played it at CAX2018, but today here’s a new trailer posted on Twitter. The gameplay seen here is much faster than what I’d experienced; Unfortunately, Twitter’s compression makes some detail a little hard to notice with so much going on. Per the tweet, the game will be playable at some event in Japan on Sunday. Per the exA website, it will launch sometime next year.
マインドウェアはブース番号４９にてお待ちしております！平安京エイリアン for exA、数字の星のありすとゆーをプレイアブル展示します。是非お立ち寄り下さい。#ゲームレジェンド #ゲーレジェ pic.twitter.com/gl3NZtxFhW
— MickyAlbert (@MickyAlbert) November 14, 2020
DSM Arcade Launches Switch ‘N’ Shoot Mini-Cab
Speaking of indie games, if you are in the market for something that comes in a compact dedicated cabinet and is an indie effort, then Switch ‘N’ Shoot is now available in a “Mini” cabinet. This design hearkens back to the “cabaret” cabinets of old, and it’s pretty affordable too at $999 plus shipping (financing is available too). This game is a 1-button shoot ’em up, with the quirk that the direction of your ship changes every time you fire. The game is available on consoles too, although the arcade experience is always a little better 😉
More Atomiswave Titles Come To The Dreamcast
I’m guessing that everything that was released for the Atomiswave will soon be available to play on the good ol’ Dreamcast, as more titles make their way over. I’d still like to see some DC-to-Atomiswave ports though…
Round 1 Opens A Location In Moscow
Thanks to Toby for the tip; I’ll have to throw this into this week’s Location Watch post. Is this a harbinger of something to come in Russia and eventually Europe? Maybe. Website for the location is here.
Another Day, Another Poorly Researched Clickbait Video About The Status of Arcades
H/T to Kevin Williams on this one. I’m not going to dignify this Cheddar video with an in-post embed, but I’ll link to it in case anyone really wants to watch another piece of poor research that is trying to pass itself off as a final authority. None of these people ever bother to reach out to anyone in our industry for their information, they just go off of preconceived notions and a two-second Google search of articles written by similarly minded, but also wholly ignorant-about-the-industry writers. They don’t even mention the sale of Sega’s locations to Genda, which took place before this video was published, and that undermines much of the video’s premise (that Japanese arcades thrive while American ones haven’t since 1984). To be fair on one thing, they appear to reach out to one guy in Vegas, but if he’s the one that supplied them with data on the modern arcade industry, then he’s very wrong about it.
A lot of this is the typical drivel – American arcades were killed by the NES, but they’ve always done great in Japan, Japan innovates and is thriving, arcades are dead in America, but maybe “barcades” will keep nostalgia alive here, blah, blah, blah. Would it have hurt to reach out to anyone really in the industry – say someone at Raw Thrills, or at Dave & Busters? If they had, then they still would have had a video to make, that would be more interesting to watch. If I were Cheddar, I wouldn’t want to look so mind-numbingly ignorant on the subject, as I would think that can call into question your other content. They also get the thing about the coin shortage in Japan wrong – while a popular urban legend about Space Invaders, it’s incorrect and is easily learned by putting “space invaders coin shortage” in a search engine (the first results by what I see debunk the myth!).
Their portrayal of the Japanese industry is also very simplified. I give them kudos for at least mentioning Mikado arcade, various game safety measures in the face of COVID, and they did mention the closure of Sega’s Akihabara #2. Even within our industry here, most don’t realize the business model used by most manufacturers there.
Since the mid-00’s, revenue sharing has been the dominate form of equipment operation. This is where the operator has to purchase the equipment, then they have to pay a pre-determined cut of the revenue to the manufacturer. To give you an idea of how insane this can get, I was recently told about the pricing for the upcoming Gundam battle pod sequel. To purchase a pair of units+the payment kiosk, operators are looking at $150k at 20% revenue share; They also have the option of buying the same setup at $70k, but then the rev share goes up to 45%. This is also on-top of the new sales tax that arcades had to begin paying at the beginning of this year. Now, it’s true that most games don’t have such an enormous up-front cost, but this model of “buy, then keep paying” for your games is how the industry over there works. It’s why the exA-Arcadia has been growing in popularity so quickly, as it’s the only new option on the market where you buy it and you own it – zero after-market fees.
The reason that stuff like this grates me, is because it hurts business aka, the livelihoods of those of us trying to make a living off of this out there, especially now. I know a lot of you come from varied backgrounds and most here don’t operate an arcade – Can you imagine how it might affect your job if you had popular video channels telling their hundreds of thousands of subscribers/viewers that your industry is “dead” (and that pretty much every mainstream news service works off of the same premise every time they write about it)? It’s certainly not providing for a boost, particularly when many have been shut down for months or still are due to the pandemic.
Sure, producers of such arguments don’t think they’re causing harm by spreading misinformation, because they think they’re being accurate, but every time one of these videos comes out, it helps solidify the “arcades r dead, ‘cept in Japan where everyone plays Gundam pods and pachinko” notion in people’s minds. Instead, they could be using their platforms to help, but that would require an open mind that can be challenged from the pre-conceived notion, and takes more work than talking to a single person out there.
In case some researcher does stumble across this site when looking into such a production(my hopes are low as they never seem to, but hey, if you’re here, I’m glad you found us!), take a look at the different game release pages that we’ve maintained on here since 2009 and look up our many “Location Watch” posts. How exactly do those demonstrate a totally dead industry that just thrives off of old games? How has this website even existed since 2006 if we’re reporting on a business that only existed in the 1980s? Did Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, Area 51, Daytona USA, and DDR just simply not exist and not rake in billions of dollars at the arcade?
With that in mind, let’s end with a fatality and a promo for the Insert Coin documentary.
how it started: how it ended: pic.twitter.com/vZneCN7px0
— Insert Coin Documentary (@insertcoindoc) November 13, 2020
Deffo excited about Round1’s expansion. We remember the announcement but there were no pics after that, so super surprised to see it had opened.
Another example of strong arcade territories (India, Russia, Latin America) that get little to no coverage in US/EU Media.
Cabaret style cabinets are something I’ve always had a soft spot for, but typically when I see anything even remotely similar, it’s one of those slot machines you see in bars distributed by “Big Daddy Games”
If we had a shared system where games could be done between both consoles and arcades, I’d love to see an expansion on them to make them more viewlix like (lcd marquee included) and control support for 2 players.
While EXA-Arcadia is a great alternative, I got this fear that whoever is in charge of development on Taito based machines will insist on maintaining a strangle hold over developers to stay with their platform.
Greed runs pretty deep in all industries, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Shoutime smacked into a few walls already just getting this project off the ground.
They have run into some obstacles yes – they had a tough time at JAEPO 2019 due to Taito, and they’ve had to be smart about how certain sales have been done there. That said, NESICA is pretty much dead and with COVID, operators there are hating the revenue share model more than ever. ExA is the only non-rev share option and it’s not just selling, it’s earning, often beating out some typically #1 or #2 games for the industry there. The arrival of DoDonPachi in particular has given them a huge boost among operators and developers. Meanwhile, the best Taito can do is Levels VS, and Sega hasn’t been doing much better on APM3; I’ve also heard that Taito is looking at backing out of the coin-op market completely (not sure if true or not, but COVID is hurting them too and most of their talent left long ago)
This may be something of an issue to think about when we consider how important the type-x system is to the fighting genre. If Taito leaving does become true, what would it mean to developers when the viable alternatives are exa and the potential loss of that revenue sharing system they tend to rely on?