Welcome to Newsbytes, a post that curates quick news from around the arcade & pinball world and serves them up to you on a digital platter.
We’re in the post tradeshow news lull at the moment, so arcade news has been a little tough to come by, hence the gap in Newsbytes lately, but this weekend has enough to talk about, so here we go!
Also, I have updated the 2021 Arcade Game releases page with the AEI updates and some other recent news.
Minecraft Dungeons Arcade Unboxing & Gameplay
While the blog has been a tad slow for the past week or two, I’ve been pretty busy on YouTube – speaking of which, I hope to sit down with Eugene Jarvis this week to discuss the Cruis’n franchise, so stay tuned there.
Here’s my latest unboxing video, for the newest arcade machine on the market, Minecraft Dungeons Arcade. As a bonus, I’ll also include a playthrough to the final boss that I captured with my kids.
For a quick review of the game – I’ve been saying it’s “Gauntlet Lite,” and while I stick to that, I would like to see a future update make it a little less “lite.” What I mean by that is expanding what you can do with button combos – I heard someone say at the AEI show that MDA has “more strategy to it than TMNT,” but I really don’t see how they came to that conclusion – TMNT has different moves you can do by doing things like push jump then attack and such, while there’s nothing like that in MDA. The buttons just do what they say, which is ok, but as a gamer I want more. I don’t think it would scare any casual away if there was a kind of dash attack move that could be done by hitting dodge then attack, or something a little different if you push range & melee at the same time, or if you had charge attacks, etc. On the earnings side, it had a pretty good week (charging $1.50 to start, $1 to continue), although it didn’t beat out Jurassic Park/TWD and such (still, landed in the top 5).
For my kids’ part, they all enjoyed it, although they’re fortunate to have a dad who can let them play for free 😉
Arcooda To Begin Selling CRT Replacement LCDs This Week
It’s long been a hot-button issue between collectors and operators in regards to LCDs inside of games, one of the problems being that finding 4:3 aspect ratio LCDs (which fits with the 4:3 AR that most CRTs had) has been next to impossible in modern times, so ops have had to throw in a 16:9 or 16:10 AR monitor that stretches the image. If you can find a 4:3 LCD, then chances are it’s fairly old and misses out on many of the advances that LCDs have enjoyed in recent years, including lower response times.
Australia-based manufacturer Arcooda is coming to the rescue in this regard as they have teased that they will begin selling 4:3 LCD drop-in replacements this week. I reached out to find more info but no comment yet, so I guess we’ll have to wait – I’m mainly curious about the connections. The tweet indicates that these are “arcade ready” and come with VGA and HDMI support, although it’s rare to find a JAMMA game that used a VGA connection, at least in the US. Hopefully, they have some simple adapters or built-in connectors as I hate rigging games up using quick ‘n dirty methods. This also sounds like there will be more sizes available than just the 20.1″. I’ll be reporting back later in a full post when more details are available.
We are launching our range of arcade monitors next week. But in the meantime, here is a sneak peak…. pic.twitter.com/ajYbYRWLgd
— Arcooda (@arcooda) July 16, 2021
The SNK Millenium
For all my love of prototype hardware & games, I had not heard of this one before. I agree with VGE’s assessment that this was supposed to be a follow-up to the Hyper Neo Geo 64, but for whatever reason, it was dropped. Probably cost – this was the era where arcade makers were finding it far more cost-effective to adapt existing consoles or PCs into arcade engines than to keep making something up from scratch every few years. It sure would have been interesting if the Millenium had come along with a similar spec to the NAOMI though.
Oh, speaking of SNK, if you’ve ever wanted to work for them, they are now hiring (pretty sure it’s Japan-only though)
Hypernoid (NeoGeo MVS/ AES) Gets A Digital Release
I’ve mentioned this one a few times in the past, and now it’s available digitally via the creator’s Patreon page. A small run physical release is in the cards if there’s enough interest; Otherwise, the digital version works on real hardware when using something like the NeoSD or Darksoft Flash Cart. It looks like a lot of fun, I like the Alien Crush vibe that the art design applies to the Arkanoid formula.
Sega Amusements Sued Over The Old KeyMaster Merchandiser
Here’s a story that I almost did a post about this week, although there isn’t anything that I can really add to it, and speculating about legal matters is a dicey business. KeyMaster’s have been off of the market for a while (not long after that lawsuit in Arizona), and I think they’ve got the wrong target here since the game was designed by Komuse, while Sega just served as the sales distributor for it in the US. Granted, this does go to show why ops need to be smarter about how they use/setup these things (players know when the same item has been in the machine for a year or more – they know you’re just being greedy) – although personally, I just never play them.
WIK Is Back With Jeep Off-Road
If the name WIK doesn’t ring a bell, then let me introduce you to them. They are a game manufacturer based out of Poland, where before the pandemic, they managed to carve out a big enough name for themselves to set up a US office. I’ve covered one of their videmption games before, although I did miss mentioning a lot of their other titles. Most of their stuff has been sports-related, particularly with air hockey, and they made some waves with their Big Show Basketball game that was introduced at IAAPA 2018. and their Pac-Man Smash-like table Crazy Lab. In the post-pandemic times, they’ve been relatively quiet, apart from making some hand sanitizer stations and an RPG table, although this week they posted some new product videos, including this new kids video game called Jeep Off-Road. The graphics are on-par with Sega’s Hot Racers, a game I have that does pretty well week-in, week-out, and since it’s fully interactive, I think that elevates it from a simple kiddie ride to a kid-centric arcade game.
M2 Releases Senjin Aleste In Japan
Only available on Sega’s APM3 network, thus limited to Japan. That said, I heard that this game really wasn’t optimized for arcade play – on location test, players were getting 40 minutes on a single credit, thus making the wait times terrible for waiting players and the earnings dismal for operators (to the point that they wouldn’t even buy the game).
Looking Back At Nintendo’s First Arcade Effort, Wild Gunman ’74
I doubt that this will be coming to the Switch anytime soon, but if you want to see what has survived of their obscure 1974 arcade game WIld Gunman, then check out this great mini-documentary about it:
In Case You Missed It: Rival Megagun XE Pre-Orders Are Now Open
R-Type Final 2 In Arcades? The Devs Are Thinking About It – (Arcade mention is near the very bottom)
[Non-Arcade, Tech Related] The Last NTSC Transmitters In The US Finally Go Dark
Any op who has a car game with a stick shifter knows this pain, but it’s particularly bad with Maximum Tune 5…
That’s all we have for today’s episode, see you on the next post!