Bowl Expo 2022: The Preview

arcadehero June 23, 2022 0

Another amusement-related trade show is upon us and while this one has generally not been given high prominence among our industry in the past, this year is very different. I’m not sure why that is exactly, although judging by the amount of new equipment I’m anticipating at seeing during this Bowl Expo event, it’s looking like this is being treated with more importance than AEI was. I suppose we’ll see for sure when the trade show side of it starts next week but here is a preview of what will be there in Las Vegas:

What is this event?

The official name of this show is International Bowl Expo 2022; The website for it is here. Their main focus as you might have guessed through the name, is on bowling and bowling centers. The arcade/amusement industry has often given some support to this event given that many bowling centers feature an arcade game room of some kind, but given the increased importance of such centers on today’s markets (due to the fact that they tend to be strong buyers of equipment), it’s become bigger than ever.

The Arcade-Related Exhibitors

I’m not going to cover everyone that’s on the exhibitor list but mainly those that I will likely be covering in video & blog footage from the event. I am going, assuming that my flight doesn’t get canceled, and I’ve gone before although I’ve never heard of so many new games showing up at BE before.

Andamiro USA – Andamiro debuted a new videmption game at AEI22 by the name of Bobblehead Baseball and at this event they’re going to show off a new SpongeBob-themed redemption pusher called SpongeBob Pirates of Bikini Bottom.

Bay Tek Entertainment – I have not heard about anything that Bay Tek plans on bringing but they’re not ones to announce these things in advance; They have a busy R&D department though so I would not be surprised to see something new from them that they are trying out. They did recently trademark some new names such as QB Throwdown and Big Ticket Drop though, so we’re sayin’ there’s a chance on something fresh.

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Elaut Amusement (Benchmark, Coast-To-Coast, Elaut, Touch Magix) – Elaut used to not be on my radar for shows since I don’t really cover crane machines but since they now represent three other companies including themselves(sometimes four), they tend to have some kind of video or videmption game on hand. I’ve not heard about anything new from most of those entities, AH advertiser Touch Magix did send out a press release detailing what they would have on hand:

TouchMagix will be showcasing the superhit Mega Blaster, the all-time favourite 43″ SpaceWarp 66, the viable street version of Dicey Jump and much more at the upcoming show.

The street version of Dicey Jump was supposed to be at AEI but thanks to shipping problems it missed the show. I imagine that will have been resolved this time. I haven’t seen much mention of their Wacky Tracks game that debuted at DEAL a little while ago but perhaps it’ll be there too.

HOLOGATE – While Hologate was at AEI, they did not have their arena or other products to try, it was just a small booth with a couple of reps. That might be what is done here or they might have their arena system setup. If the latter, not sure what it might be running; They did recently announce a new Ghostbusters VR game for it but there was no mention of Bowl Expo in the release (they usually hype up upcoming trade show appearances in such things) so we’ll just consider it as a wild card for now.

ICE – ICE will be there showing off their current line-up although they were coy about any never-before-showcased pieces making an appearance. Perhaps there will be a surprise – if not, I’d expect it to be similar to what we saw at AEI.

IGPM Group – The US distributor for Polish game maker Kalkomat will be there; They don’t usually have any video or videmption games around but they still carry popular sports games that you’ll likely find alongside video amusements. They had an interesting physical game at AEI called Hit The Green, although that title still isn’t on their website so I’m not sure what the status is of that one at this point.

Jennison Entertainment – Here’s another game maker I generally haven’t covered since they’ve been mostly focused on redemption and kiddie rides but they did surprise at AEI by bringing the new video/videmption game Quick Shoot along. I’m not expecting a different booth from AEI but you never know.

Komuse – This redemption and merchandiser producer will be there with their latest pieces, in a booth that I also expect to be similar to their AEI one.

LAI Games – This will see the debut of the “Ultra HD” update to Virtual Rabbids: The Big Ride; I’d also expect to see a similar setup to AEI with the likes of Asphalt 9 Legends Arcade and their various sports/redemption games.

Raw Thrills – Located at the Betson booth, Raw Thrills will be showing off a new-new game, the first that they’ll have demonstrated since Amusement Expo 2021 when Minecraft Dungeons Arcade made its debut. There also is a possibility of seeing a new series of cards for both Injustice Arcade and Minecraft, although such a thing hasn’t been confirmed by Raw Thrills; I only make that guess as Jdevy saw that there’s a Series 4 Injustice out there with a new marquee. This brings IJ’s card count to 260; This is also possibly one of the “10 new games of summer” that Dave & Busters has been talking about but I imagine the rest of the industry will see it soon…Injustice Arcade Series 4

Sega Amusements – Sega will have a similar booth to AEI although they will be showcasing the new Allstars Basketball. That wasn’t at AEI so I’ll check it out – that and the new Crazy Rafting if it’s there. Not sure that I would expect to see Storm Rider 2 yet since that hasn’t been announced and it isn’t on Sega’s website yet but maybe that could always be another surprise. If not though, it would be understandable for them to be holding that for IAAPA’22. Sega also posted a new promo video for Mission: Impossible Arcade the other day so that game will likely be around to enjoy:

Team Play Inc. – They did debut a new interactive kiddie ride/photo booth at IAAPA’21 but now they have a big, flashy piece to show off to the industry in Carnival Wheel. This certainly could be their next Fishbowl Frenzy by the looks of things and possibly the first wheel redemption game to finally nab the crown from Big Bass Wheel too:

Trio-Tech – I wouldn’t expect them to take an XD Theater setup to this event so it will likely be focused on their Storm VR ride.

UNIS – UNIS always seems to come along with a different configuration, along with a surprise or two, so I’ll assume it will be similar to the AEI booth, with some possible additions. They definitely should take the PONG game since it’s Atari’s 50th anniversary next week, but I’m guessing it will be closer to this setup:

Special Mentions

These might not be video arcade manufacturers, or they focus on products like cranes that I usually don’t pay much attention too but they are related so I might be checking them out

501Fun – Augmented Reality (AR) darts and shuffleboard

Smart Industries – Long-time producer of cranes

St. Louis Gaming – I really need to find out if this crane-focused company is supposed to be called S&B Toy or St. Louis Game Co….it’s always so confusing 😛

Valley-Dynamo – Leaders of air hockey & pool tables

Valo Motion – Creators of physical, Augmented and Mixed Reality experiences, relatively new to the industry by my understanding

Virtuix – Creators of the omni-directional treadmill and the Omni Arena VR setup

You might have noticed that there are no pinball makers slated to be there – while there’s no official representation of a booth by the likes of American or Stern, there are several distributors with booths so there’s a chance that a pin or two could pop-up in the mix. I won’t bank on seeing something like Toy Story 4 though unless I’m able to find the time to visit the Pinball Hall of Fame. I’m also guessing that bowling centers and related FECs just haven’t traditionally been big buyers for pins to warrant the cost for the manufacturers to go in on an event like this. Bandai Namco also won’t be there, so it looks like I’ll have to hit up a Dave & Busters to see that 8-player Pac-Man Chompionship game in person.

So there we have it. I will be there – unless I’m among the many unlucky flyers out there who has seen their flight recently cancelled. Again, I’m a bit taken aback by how much new stuff is going to be there, since we normally have only seen one or two new pieces at any BE show but I think it’s just how timing has wrung itself out on these development cycles in lieu of the pandemic and plethora of other market issues that have come to bear since.

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