This is Newsbytes, a curated collection of news from around the world of arcade & pinball that I run every weekend. Once again there isn’t a ton for this edition of the post
James Games Arcade Closes After 43 Years In Operation
(Thanks to everyone that sent this to me this week.)
There has been no lack of sad news to happen thanks to the pandemic, and unfortunately, we have another casualty to report from the arcade world. James Games Arcade was a fixture of the arcade landscape in Southern California, having been opened by James Degner in 1978; Ownership changed hands in 1982, where it was sold to Rick Bakva, who had been running it ever since. The initial announcement of the closure came on March 24th via Facebook; Rick followed up with a deeper explanation on Facebook on April 1st. The short of it is – between a year-long lockdown that made it so that certain businesses like arcades could not operate (or operate at heavily reduced capacity) and a landlord who doesn’t seem to be living on the same planet as the rest of us (my interpretation, not Rick’s), they can’t continue forward.
Looking at their Facebook, the community has strongly responded to this news, as many have created great memories at their place over the years. The SB Sun article also mentions that the owners met at the arcade, and I’m sure many other relationships were forged within those walls. Even though they are closing, how long they stayed in business is another testament to how a well-managed arcade can thrive, barring extraordinary circumstances like what we’ve all seen for the past year.
And the Winner of the 2020 Pinball Game of the Year Is…
Guns ‘N Roses by Jersey Jack Pinball. In last week’s Newsbytes, I mentioned that This Week In Pinball was holding their annual awards, so this is the result for the GOTY. If you’re interested in all of the results for the other award categories, check here.
I suppose I should do an Arcade Game of the Year poll again, although the last few times there were a lot of complaints about how people didn’t have the chance to play the games. I do understand that, as in reference to the 2020 Pinball GOTY, I haven’t had a chance to play it (nor many of the others like AvengersIQ and TMNT).
On April 1st of all days, deeproot Pinball decided to send out an odd and serious letter to customers who have pre-ordered Retro Atomic Zombie Adventureland pinball. The letter laid out some additional delays on shipping the game, but some of the language in the last two paragraphs have garnered some strong reactions, particularly in regards to no big updates coming over the next 6 weeks, no “surplus machines” and the offer to refund purchases. I haven’t been following the situation much, but it does seem bizarre that the company made tons of vague but grand promises, yet seems wholly incapable of providing simple updates to even show that they’ve been building any machines. I don’t know if they’ll become the next Skit-B Pinball – hopefully not, as that kind of thing isn’t good for the hobby & industry in general – but they don’t seem to be doing themselves any favors at this point.
The Mini R360 Is Fully Operational
On a happier note, behold, a thing of beauty:
Sega Amusements Re-Launches Their Website
After going down for a bit last year, then returning with a “temporary website,” SegaArcade.com is back with a similar design to what they used to have, but with some various improvements. Note that when you go to the main URL, segaarcade.com, it automatically directs you to the European page, which is why you’ll see games from ICE and LAI Games listed in their games directory (Sega Amusements in the UK also serves as the European distributor for those particular companies).
I do like the revamped style, but it is odd that they list a few games that are out-of-production, although that might be highlighting used pieces (Except for Target Bravo upright, which I asked about a few times and was always told that it wasn’t available new or used). What is even odder though is that they do not list Mario & Sonic Olympics 2020 Arcade as of this time, a game that has been available since last year and they recently promoted on their social media. Either way, it’s nice to see the website back and in a form that’s much better than the temporary solution.
The StepManiaX March Update
I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but I hope to receive an SMX machine at one of my locations by the end of the month. It’s a done deal, I just need to wait on shipping, which is a bit of a challenge these days. That aside, more songs have been made available to the platform for free in the latest update, bring the total number of songs to 254. Chris Cotty with Step Revolution mentioned to me that the list will soon reach 300 songs, so I imagine that it should cover something for everyone:
A Full Look At Super Nintendo World
All of the videos I’ve shared regarding Super Nintendo World have been fairly brief, so if you want a full review-style look at Universal’s newest theme park, check out this one from Paolo FromTOKYO. Warning: May cause hunger 😉
Namco Museum of Art – Baraduke
Before Samus Aran, there was Kissy, in a game that is still fairly obscure when it comes to discussions of 80s arcade titles. I think it’s safe to say that Baraduke influenced Metroid in more ways than one:
Speaking of artwork, System-11 is currently undertaking a project to scan in arcade artwork – not just flyers, but also instruction cards. I’m not sure how much he has total, but it’s a lot of work!
Arcadia Obscura: Allied Tank Attack
Here’s my latest for the video channels, although my capture device has failed me, once again. That aside, I am curious – is there anything that you’d like to see me do for videos? I’ve been brainstorming a little, which is where recent vids have come from, but I am definitely open to suggestions. Unfortunately, we just aren’t expecting to come across new arcade games until the end of June (maybe), so it’s hard to say what more I can do aside from covering games you are already familiar with. Anyways, here’s Allied Tank Attack:
Hawt Pink Club Preps Spring Launch
I’ll move this from the April Fools Day 2021 Round-up and paste it here:
Hawt Pink Club has announced their first line-up of NC-17 adult arcade titles (WARNING – Link is very much NSFW!), including one game that is a beat ’em up that uses digitized actors, ala NARC or Judge Dredd. The game called Shakuga: The Excommunication looks like it is Splatterhouse, but even more violent and full of adult situations (by what I’ve been told, it has a bit more to it than they’ve shown – I’ve seen some additional screenshots). The first unit will be installed at a Hustler Club in Las Vegas “soon,” and will also debut in Japan before too long; The official website for the company was also updated to reflect this news and it shows the logos for the new titles.
Top Golf Moving Into The Mini-Golf Space – Not sure if they’ll be adding arcade machines though
A Drone In A Pinball Museum – Brief, but cool
On one last note, I have been doing some work on my arcade trivia game. I didn’t touch it for a good part of last month as the technical issues became such that I had to start over from scratch (apart from the questions themselves). Admittedly, starting over like this was rather demotivating, plus the fact that the developer of the kit goes AWOL every time you need him. I was so close to finished, the main thing holding it up was the leaderboards, but I tried 3 different board solutions and they just ended up breaking the game. Still, I am hopeful that by starting clean I can avoid that and still figure out something that works – an arcade trivia game without a leaderboard/high score table just doesn’t sit well with me.
Anyways, have a great weekend, and if you celebrate Easter, Happy Easter!