The modern arcade has been full of games that blur the line between a video arcade game and something else – that is particularly true of the genre I call “videmption,” and I think it will hold for the subject of this post. Although to clarify my stance on coverage – if a video screen is merely present for a scoreboard and not interacting with the game, then I don’t really pay attention to it (like video screens in pushers, cranes and some redemption games). You have to play a game on the screen for it to “technically” be an arcade game. Of course, there are games out there that blur that line some too, this being one of them.
Arcade basketball games are a staple of the arcade scene – it’s one of those things that players have come to expect to find in a venue like they do with air hockey. Since those types of games usually don’t include a video element I don’t discuss them often, but there has been a new class of arcade basketball games that popped up starting in 2019 that are technically video games.
When Sega announced their new Jumanji videmption game this morning, I didn’t catch mention of anything else, but in the process of checking their website for some details on that game, I noticed a listing for a game called Allstars Basketball. Seeing that it uses a giant 65″ HD backboard screen, I figured that I have covered some other video basketball machines, mainly on the YouTube channel, so here we are. This one is closer in gameplay to UNIS’ To Tha Net than some others I’ve looked at, some of which take a page instead from Bay Tek’s Connect4Hoops.
This isn’t the first time that Sega has used the Allstars branding though; There was Sega & Sonic All-Stars Racing Arcade back in 2011 and I think that they may have used that for their Sonic Sports Basketball games at one point, although presently those just have “Sonic Sports.” I imagine that if Allstars Basketball joined up with Sonic, then that would certainly raise the profile (probably the price too, which could be a downside – especially right now as I’ve been hearing that some games have skyrocketed in price recently. We can’t say that the average cost of an arcade game is $7500~ any more :/ ).
Of course, such games don’t need a character to improve the visibility, just the video backboard does that in this case. Still, a themed video basketball game using a Sega IP could be interesting depending on how it was handled and could make for some unique gameplay, be it theming after House of the Dead, OutRun, Golden Axe or Virtua Fighter. Although that might pain some fans who have been waiting for a proper arcade entry into one of those franchises (you got one with HOTD, at least). Although if you wanted to get really obscure, there’s always Hard Dunk from 1994…that probably wouldn’t add much to the appeal though 😛
Anyways, I imagine that this game will also make an appearance at Amusement Expo 2022 next month. I will be there to check that out, along with anything else that Sega – and other companies – bring to show off. If you’re an operator and interested in this or any other new games, you’ll want to place your orders sooner rather than later. I’ve been hearing from several ops who were looking into buying games right now were being told that they would have to wait until September – or some cases November – to get their hands on something.