This week will see the arrival of Amusement Expo International 2022, a tradeshow that typically takes place every March in Las Vegas. Every once in a while it is held elsewhere, such as New Orleans back in 2020, but this year it is in Vegas as usual. It technically started today with different seminars taking place, but the tradeshow itself where you can go and experience the products for yourself opens on Wednesday.
This post will preview what the different manufacturers will show off at the event, based upon what they’ve revealed publicly. I may have to guess on a few who have remained quiet but I’ll keep that to as minimum as possible. Also if you’re new to the site but perhaps are involved in the industry, I tend to place my focus on video games and pinball and not so much redemption. That’s mainly because redemption generally doesn’t need the signal boost that arcade games do but I also have to admit that as being a gamer before being an operator, I’m just not into those kinds of games. 😛 That said, I do cover what I like to call videmption (video redemption) pieces and when a redemption game does something fresh and creative, it’s worth acknowledging. Still, if you’ve wondered why I don’t really cover that stuff on the blog, those would be the reasons as to why.
Anyways, lets get to the preview, going in alphabetical order. I’ve done all I can to get everyone on here but if I missed you for some reason, let me know and I’ll correct it.
Adrenaline has a list of games on their AEI Exhibitor profile that appears to lay out what they’ll bring, and while they could bring a surprise that isn’t mentioned, it seems doubtful. Those games from a copy & paste: Hot Wheels – King of the Road, Rabbids & Ladders, Tomb Raider, Rabbids Hollywood, Spinner Frenzy, Crossy Road, Flying Tickets, and Blox Breaker. This list might be completely inaccurate though as it sounds like an old hold over – it doesn’t mention Twister or Hungry Hungry Hippos, so we’ll see.
I have not encountered a mention of Amusement Expo from their social media, but they’re on the exhibitor list. I imagine their booth will be similar to IAAPA with Legends of Valhalla, Hot Wheels and Houdini: Master of Mystery. Given the difficulties in production right now, and they’re focused on Valhalla, I don’t expect any surprises here.
While Andamiro has been rather quiet on their social media accounts as of late, there was a story that popped up the other day about their latest videmption piece, Bobblehead Baseball. That was also confirmed by Replay, which provides more details on their AEI booth, with the main focus landing on the new baseball game along with a new version of their Jurassic World redemption game and the SpongeBob redemption piece shown at IAAPA. They’ll have nine games total, but sounds like you shouldn’t expect any pure video pieces from them.
Bandai Namco Amusements
They have not revealed anything more than that they’ll be there, but we can safely assume that we’ll see the latest edition of Pac-Man Battle Royale Chompionship, Maximum Tune 5DX+ (no, they will not be surprise revealing 6RR for the US), and Pac-Man Baller, a new redesign of their Pac-Man themed basketball machines.
The new version of Pac-Man Basket has been revealed by Bandai Namco Amusement Europe at this year's EAG International Expo.
Boasting a new visual theme topped with an animated LED cage, the game has been rebranded under the name of Pac-Man Baller. pic.twitter.com/4JyR6eWMv3
— Daily Pac-Man (@DailyPacMan) March 8, 2022
Barron Games International
Barron is one that we haven’t heard much of in a while, but they were at IAAPA with Birdly VR and they’ll be at AEI showing it again. Their social media hasn’t mentioned if any of their other non-VR products as being there, just the Birdly, but they are still selling them as listed on their website.
Bay Tek Entertainment
It’s rare that Bay Tek announces what they are bringing to tradeshows and this time is no exception, as their social media has been relatively quiet as of late. Historically, they tend to show something new at AEI, but those prototypes don’t always reach production. As it is, I’ll expect a similar setup to IAAPA – Rock The Rim, Axe Master, Connect4 Hoops, Hypernova, etc.
I haven’t heard much about their Gold & Mace VR setup that debuted at IAAPA through Benchmark Games, in fact, it’s been removed from the Elaut website. That could mean it’s been canceled, delayed, or will now be handled by Boxblaster themselves instead of being done through Benchmark. Either way, the show will give us an answer in that regard and BB will certainly have their standard 4-player arena to show off.
While they didn’t have much to show at IAAPA as far as never-before-seen-games, AEI will be different as they will be bringing “Break the Plate, Ice Walker, Zombie Land 4 player and Seven Stars” to the show. I’m not sure what the last one is but the rest are all videmption games.
Creative Works has announced that they will have two pieces there – SquarePants VR: Dynamic Duo and Fury VR. Both games can be seen below, although at the time the SpongeBob game was going under a different name.
As a “group,” Elaut features products from themselves, Benchmark Games, Coast To Coast Entertainment and Touch Magix. Thus, they’ll have a fairly large booth along with a variety of products. Touch Magix has already announced the two street versions of their Hop ‘N’ Stack and Dicey Jump games, but at this point I have not heard what else they might have there. Surfin Surfari by Team Play/Benchmark Games is another given; One can also expect plenty of crane machines and coin pushers on hand as well.
Fish Game Kings
I’ve never really paid attention to these guys as so often these games are modified and used in illegal gambling operations, but I’ll check and see if they have anything around that’s on the up-and-up/interesting.
Having started as one of various VR arena companies, the success that Hologate has enjoyed means branching out into more product lines. They’ll have their staple there, Hologate Arena, along with the Blitz simulator, a free roaming version of the arena experience called Hologate X, and their first foray into mini-golf called Hyper Golf. That was announced around IAAPA but I don’t believe it was at the show; This video also appears to show pre-production prototypes, so perhaps the production models will be at AEI:
While IT usually is just focused on Golden Tee, this year they’ll have three games to show off – Golden Tee PGA Tour, Retro Raccoons, and Arcade Collection. The first two are shipping; Not sure yet on Arcade Collection but I’ll check on that at the show. IT will also be showing off more courses for Golden Tee. Thoughts on Golden Tee PGA Tour’s cabinet seem mixed, at least from some negative comments that have popped up about it from fans on this video:
Innovative Concepts in Entertainment (ICE)
ICE always has a big booth which generally shows off something new, although without any announcement from them, I can only assume it’ll be similar to IAAPA. One strange thing that has been going on lately with their products is that various distributors have been listing new ICE products, yet ICE’s website makes no mention of them. Thus it isn’t clear if those are placeholders just for eventual shipping or if those particular games (like RaceCraft) are in production and are shipping and ICE just hasn’t updated their website to reflect that. Hopefully I’ll get some clarity on this at the show.
LAI tends to announce new products in advance and I’m not aware of anything getting new-new getting ready to roll out yet. As it is, I expect a similar showing to IAAPA, with Asphalt 9 Legends Arcade being a principle highlight of the booth. Apart from that, LAI has announced on their social media that they are doing some prize giveaways; Also their VP or marketing, Tabor Carlton is holding a seminar discussing VR, particularly how things have gone with their Rabbids VR game.
As always, Raw Thrills products will be at Betson’s giant booth. While some of their social media posts indicated that a new game would be on-hand, after speaking with them last week, it sounded like this might only be the 3rd chapter of King Kong of Skull Island. It would be great if they bring along the new Furious racing game that we’ve seen on test – or if not, at least the standard version of Halo: Fireteam Raven that was also spotted not long ago. The reason for the uncertainty falls back on the supply chain & production issues, which can be trouble when your other products are already in high demand.
Really Big Crane Company
Again, I usually don’t focus on crane/redemption companies, but they’ll likely have the latest version of the video basketball game Zombie Jam on hand, which had changed significantly in the version they showed off at IAAPA:
Retro Arcade LLC
I met with these guys at IAAPA and got to see their official and licensed remake of Taito’s Ice Cold Beer but unfortunately, the models at the show were not fully functional yet. Hopefully what will be at AEI will be production grade stuff.
This Brazilian VR roller coaster company was at IAAPA, and I expect a similar showing this time around:
Usually corporate booths at IAAPA are much larger than AEI ones, but from the info on the exhibitor profiles report, Sega’s AEI space is the same size or larger than what they had at IAAPA. The game mix will be similar too, with the exception of Jumanji being on hand, as well as the production version of VR Agent.
Where IAAPA was the first time I’d come across Godzilla, AEI will be the first time I’ll come across the new RUSH. I’ve heard a rumor that they may be delaying some of their upcoming releases so they can catch up on what is already in production – I’ve heard some extreme lead times from people out there on new machines (not just from Stern but from others – one op I know said he ordered Weird Al but ETA is March 2023). I’ll ask about it to confirm when there.
Triotech tends to have massive booths focused on their dark rides and interactive theaters for IAAPA, while at AEI they ditch that and just focus on their FEC arcade solutions, such as the Typhoon.
UNIS was absent from AEI last year but they’re back and have a bigger booth space than they had at IAAPA. I haven’t seen any mention of what games will be there, but they’ve been promoting their new crane/merchandiser game Fantastic Prize a bit lately, along with the standard version of Elevator Action Invasion and Wicket Tuna. The latter two were not at IAAPA (although the DX version of EA was), so if they are there it will be good to see them in action. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Rowing Champs, a rowing simulator game they teased back in 2020 but has possibly been canceled.
I’ll mention the company names here of the various companies whose booth will just be their take on VR arenas, as I was sounding like a broken record on the descriptions. 😛 While each of these arenas varies in things like content and sometimes some other minor aspects, it’s fairly repetitive to talk about in a post like this since it’s essential just “<x company> is repeating their IAAPA booth with <y arena>.
Those companies: Boxblaster VR, Inowize, Meta4 Interactive, Phenomena, SPREE Interactive, Springboard VR, Valo Motion (one exception on them from these others – they say their “XR Arena” requires no wearables), & Virtuix
I haven’t heard any announcements on new-new content, so I expect a similar setup to IAAPA with Vader Immortal, Rhythmatic and Space Pirate Trainer.
Not there this time
Amusement Source International & Wahlap
Present at IAAPA with a very sizable and packed booth space, these companies will not be at the expo. That said, I’ve seen ASI promoting a lot of new redemption games on their LinkedIn and they have quite a bit of stock on certain games available – on game with tons of stock is Speed Driver 5, a technical racer in the vein of Maximum Tune that I played back at IAAPA 2019. They’ve got 60 units currently available and at a really competitive price (below $10k), so perhaps it will soon become easy to find that game out there.
Chicago Gaming Company
Chicago Gaming has generally gone to AEI, although I don’t think they were present last year. They were at IAAPA with the new Cactus Canyon remake at least:
Unlike last year, exA will not be present at the show. While they have games in-development and such, the continued supply & production issues have meant that they’ve decided to focus on a different event in Japan called ShooterFes, instead of spending some of those resources on AEI. There they will make some new announcements, so hang tight if you’re interested in them. They also announced that starting on April 5th, pricing on both hardware and software is going up, thanks to the increased costs on components. They certainly aren’t the only ones who have had to do this under the present economic conditions, which are the things that will have to change for pricing to come back down across the board. :/
Indie Arcade Game Devs
Back in 2019, Amusement Expo hosted several independent arcade game developers such as BumbleBear Games (Killer Queen Arcade and Black Emperor), Glitchbit (Retro Raccoons, although that will be at expo thanks to Incredible Technologies), and Slackerz Inc (Galactic Battleground). Unfortunately due to how things have changed with the pandemic, none of these companies will be present, but hopefully by 2023 or ’24, they’ll be able to come back.
Jersey Jack Pinball
To be fair, I can’t remember the last time that JJP went to AEI and the last time they went to IAAPA was in 2019. I can guess as to why they’re eschewing these operator and FEC events in favor of pinball collector ones, but without hearing from them exactly why they don’t come to these shows anymore, I’m not sure. The same can be said for Spooky Pinball, although they’ve never gone to anything like this, preferring to focus just on collector shows. It’s too bad in JJP’s case as I remember when they first got off the ground, they were just talking about features for the operator, which is what an operator wants to hear over just focusing on collectors.
They had attended AEI in the past but it’s also been a while; They were at EAG in London this month and were also at IAAPA. It’s possible that Step ManiaX could be at a distributor booth but I’ve not seen any mention of it out there so far.
The crew at Unit-e used to attend the expo up until the pandemic; They were at IAAPA but weren’t really focused on arcade machines and were looking at some other avenues such as lockers, slots and a card payment system. Here’s the last time I filmed them:
So that’s that! As usual I will be there and will be shooting entire booths as well as individual games. We’ll see you then!