Welcome to Part #2 of my IAAPA 2022 review; If you missed it, here’s Part #1. This post will repeat much of the first part for the games lists; Then I’ll continue thoughts on games starting with titles in the M’s. If you don’t care about the games lists, then just scroll down to where it says Thoughts.
Before I get to all of that though, I wanted to take a moment to recognize that today is Arcade Heroes’ 16th birthday! Now we can drive all these racing games that are out there 😉 A very big thanks to the original founder “PointyThing” for creating the site and getting the ball rolling; I’m glad that I’ve been able to carry that torch for the past several years.
In case you stumbled across this at random and have no clue what an “IAAPA” is, it’s a giant trade show that takes place annually in Orlando, FL and is focused on the amusement/arcade/theme park sectors of business. It’s essentially the e3 of the arcade industry, hence my interest in covering it but it’s been held for 100+ years at this point.
New Game Announcements
In alphabetical order and something that was NOT at IAAPA 2021 or Amusement Expo 2022 (or, the game appeared in an entirely new cabinet at this show) – if there’s a hyperlink, it’ll take you to a video of said game but I am not done with my videos as of this writing so many of these will have videos posted soon. I have some additional thoughts on most of these games to share at the bottom. If I missed anything, it’s accidental – please let me know in the comments and I’ll correct it!
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Bond 007 (Stern Pinball)
Carnival Cups Street (Touch Magix)
Dinosaur Era (Coastal Amusements)
Gold & Mace (Boxblaster VR)
Hawt Pink Club Cabinet w/Bad Ass Babes Kiss
Pac-Man Chompionship DX (Bandai Namco Amusements)
Playbox 4-player (Playmind)
Spongebob VR Coaster (Rilix)
Synth Riders (VRsenal)
Virtual Rabbids: THe Big Ride Ultra HD (LAI Games)
Zombie Bowling (Amusement Source Intl)
Zombie Land (Coastal)
For those who may not frequently read the site, I don’t generally spend a lot of time/focus on ticket redemption games. In part its’ because they’ve never been my thing but the other part is that they tend to do just fine on their own – signal boost or not, they’ll usually make plenty of money. Still, I know many out there like the genre so here’s some coverage on it; If it’s a redemption game with a video screen, I call those “videmption.”
Allstars Basketball (Sega Amusements)
Avengers Infinity Stone Challenge (Andamiro USA)
Bop It! (Sega Amusements)
Big Ticket Drop (BayTek)
Carnival Wheel (Team Play)
Cosmic Digger (UNIS)
Dodgeball Arena (ICE)
Dragon Treasure (Coastal)
Emoji Roller (UNIS)
Emoji Party (UNIS)
FGTeeV: Out of Time (LAI Games)
MVP Basketball (Smart)
Over The Edge (UNIS)
Pac-Man Baller (Bandai Namco)
Pixel air hockey (WIK)
Power Puck Fever (UNIS)
Rick & Morty: Blipz ‘N Chitz (LAI Games)
Road Trip (Coastal)
Roll ‘N Jump (Wik)
Shooting Madness (JET)
Slide Up (Coastal)
Sync Pong (Komuse/Sega)
The Hand (UNIS)
Wheel of Fun (Coastal)
Work Zone (UNIS)
World Football Tour (ICE)
Larger Scale Attractions (VR/MXR)
This stuff may or may not be suitable for a typical arcade, although most of the time it is the latter. Much of this is geared towards Family Entertainment Centers (FECs) and theme parks. Sometimes it may just be something cool, like the He-Man Vs. Skeletor laser tag experience pictured above.
Augmented Reality Darts (501 Fun/Sega)
F1 Racer (Unsure of the company and the exact product name but it was quite impressive)
FlashPads (Battle Company)
Ghostbusters VR Academy (Hologate)
Limitless VR (Creative Works)
Sisyfox ball game (Sisyfox)
Zombie game on Hyperdeck
Continuing my thoughts from last time, here are titles M-Z. As before, since I didn’t partake in any VR amusements, my thoughts will be limited to observations of watching other people play or what others said at the show. Also, I might be blunt in some of these opinions but my goal isn’t to tear anything down – it is better for all of us if these products are bringing their best. But if the devs don’t change anything when there is a problem, then it’s better that any operators or players be aware of what they might be getting into.
As an update to the VR thing, it turns out I just had a sinus infection, nothing contagious. So I could have played the VR, although I probably would have had quite the migraine afterwards.
MegaBlaster & SpaceWarp 66 Linked
I’ll lump these two together as they are similar – both are titles which started out as videmption pieces but now offer linked played. I think the link is much more compelling on SpaceWarp, since you’re really racing the other user in real-time, whereas MB you’re just blowing up buildings. Still, the link does provide for bigger bonuses, and that’s what all the redemption kids crave. For non-tickets though, SpaceWarp Vs. is a lot of fun and I could see that boosting how the game earns.
Minecraft Dungeons Arcade Series 2
Series 2 is finally here for the arcade version of Minecraft and instead of just throwing new cards at it (38 new ones to be precise), they also took the trouble to create a new level for the game, Hidden Depths. This under-the-sea level has a nice mechanic of twirled swimming when you dodge and it looks nice (for a Minecraft game). I still would like to see the addition of new attacks by combos (say like dodge+melee, or press melee 4x then dodge for some kind of special attack) to give it a little more depth, and things like breakable jars to get more gems, but overall it’s an improvement to the existing game and I’ve already ordered my kit so I can upgrade; Also, operators with an MDA should already have the software running (mine does).
Moto GP VR
MotoGP is back and now it’s in first-person. From those I asked, they seemed to enjoy it but as noted by viewers on the video, graphically it looks no different than the original release (excepting the ability to look around) and that’s disappointing. They did mention that some things to the courses and rosters changed, and they obviously had to put more powerful graphics hardware in there to handle the VR. Maybe by the final release in the Spring we’ll see some visual improvements. Otherwise, it was a nice touch to allow it to be played with or without the VR. The bike seat is the same as the original and those were always some of the most detailed bike seats on the market.
This was a solid arcade basketball game, eschewing the current trend of putting a giant LCD screen into the back. As such, it should be one of the more price competitive games in this class on the current market.
NFS Heat Lockdown
As one of the bigger surprises of the show (I learned about it just a few days beforehand but details were sparse), this marks the most recent console-to-arcade port out there, although I’ve not played a new Need For Speed game in almost a decade. As I don’t follow the series, I don’t know how the console version is looked at by players out there but this has obviously received changes to make it work as an arcade game. Does it work? Yes – and it benefits greatly on the graphics from that too. I wouldn’t mind it if there were some evening courses so you could see more going on but I imagine the game’s MO is racing at night, so oh well. One thing that stood out about this, apart from the marquee LED screen, is the sound – it uses a “rump thump” subwoofer in the seat and the surround mix is really well done. It’s good enough that you’ll immediately notice it missing from the many other racers at the show; I also prefer this one’s narrator over the one used in Dead Heat Unleashed. For improvements, it’s possible there are changes coming as this still has about six months left of dev work – one thing that would be nice for operators is for the game to better mention “Need for Speed” as so often the header doesn’t mention what the game is (it’s on the cabinet but you kind of have to look for it). I also wonder how many people know that NFS is Need For Speed, so I’m not a fan of the acronym being so prominent, but again, that might have to do with EA and how they’ve marketed the game. Overall, fun game with great graphics and sound, almost like a reverse Chase H.Q.
Over The Edge
This new merchandizer from UNIS has you playing a video game to try and win the prize. It’s a simple game of course, where there’s a cursor moving quickly around an isometric playfield with prizes on it and you have to press one of the two action buttons to stop it at the right moment.
Pac-Man Basketball is back and better than ever, now sporting a nice LED display for the backboard to show animations and the like. The listing for this one is found here.
Pac-Man Chompionship DX
Also speaking of Pac-Man was the Deluxe model to their new Pac-Man Battle Royale Chompionship. This has been out for some months but it wasn’t present at Amusement Expo and I haven’t had a chance to see it prior. The game is basically an air hockey table with a huge marquee but since I have the original PMBR cocktail, I’ll likely be grabbing that upgrade at some point, instead of going DX.
Pixel Air Hockey
This is one that’s been out for a few years although it’s had a facelift once or twice now (here’s an earlier version). It is produced by a Polish company called Wik and it’s their ‘answer’ to Namco’s old Pac-Man Smash air hockey table, which mixed mini-pucks in with big ones for a chaotic take on air hockey. Still, one thing this table does that’s rather distinctive are the LED animations built into the sideboard – the edition that was at IAAPA’22 was rather impressive to see, lacking the overhead piece seen in the video. If you hate RGB LEDs being used in games though, this table won’t make a convert out of you.
Playmind was demonstrating their smaller edition of the Playbox, which is functionally the same as the original model just…smaller. If you missed that from last IAAPA, it’s a giant ball toss video game that uses a huge LED screen and features multiple video games, all of which are pretty sharp looking.
Power Puck Fever
This is UNIS’ take on the multi-puck air hockey concept but it’s more restrained than either Pac-Man Smash or Pixel as were mentioned – at least from what I observed. I did not see a bucket load of mini-pucks spilled out onto the playfield but around 3 or 4 standard sized pucks find their way into play.
Pump It Up XX
Questions had been swirling around the future of Andamiro’s signature dance game since the pandemic affected PIU’s development (with rumor’s suggesting that the game was done) but this IAAPA saw a return of the game with some new software/music. We’ll have to wait until next year to see what the next PIU will look like.
Rick & Morty Blips ‘N Chitz
I pay little attention to pushers but the Rick & Morty license will certainly give this one a boost over a generic pusher that plays the same way. I didn’t notice this doing anything new or unique with the pusher concept like Angry Birds Coin Crash had done but I don’t think it needs to.
A new redemption game where it’s like a lot of those slide the object by being “just right” instead of too hard or too light (like Andamiro’s Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom game), but it uses a wheel.
Sailor’s Quest VR (UNIS)
UNIS’s both was mainly focused on their new redemption stuff like Emoji Roller but it wasn’t difficult to find their take on a pirate light-gun game. The main thing to set this one apart was the addition of VR, but if you were to remove that, it seems like it would be a solid mounted gun pirate shooter. I did not play it so I can’t comment much more than that; As the video below shows, it’s kind of like Deadstorm Pirates meets Jurassic Park Arcade meets VR. The motion base seems fine but I’ll have to give it a spin at the next show I attend where I’ll be able to use VR.
This is a new videmption game that is similar to ICE’s All-In or Andamiro’s Jurassic World, but it uses the trick of mounting an LCD into the top of the cabinet and reflects certain info onto the screen, while the main game itself involves a pinball launcher+ramp and you’re trying to get the ball to the best ticket value possible. What makes it a little more interesting is that depending on the value you land on, it can play one of at least a few mini games (I saw two different ones in the short time I looked at it) to win more tickets.
Shinorubi Pink Label
This is a new edition of an existing bullet hell shooter that can be found on Steam; As you can see from that listing, the original version is a “verizontal” game, whereas the exA version has redesigned it to properly support vertical/TATE mode (changing this up requires more work than might be obvious at a glance):
Here was a new cabinet version of a game that I had seen at IAAPA before (I would have to recheck to see if the game software itself has changed in a major way), which is essentially Silent Scope for 4 players. Unfortunately, the graphics aren’t much of a step up on SS (it could use a lot of improvements there in almost every regard) but the cabinet is quite nice as this features some of the most realistic guns found on a modern arcade game. I don’t know if they are exact reproductions of a real-world weapon or not, but the look and feel is done quite well and you can even adjust the height of each gun as they are on a hydraulic mount. If the graphics & gameplay (the latter only suffering due to the former) could the same level of polish the cabinet has, then it would be a great replacement to aged Silent Scope games.
Spongebob VR Coaster
Brazilian company Rilix was at the previous IAAPA as well as Amusement Expo earlier this year, where they have been promoting their non-motion VR coaster experience. They’ve already expanded to feature a new SpongeBob VR coaster game, which I believe is their first license. The game is a virtual coaster with SpongeBob (so it’s under-the-sea) and VR.
Step ManiaX DLX
Step Revolution had a surprise, which was a giant Deluxe version . In some ways it has the feel of the big Pump It Up XX cab but certainly has a deeper contrast and stronger use of the LEDs.
Storm Racer 2
This sequel doesn’t have much to do with the original as far as I can tell but that’s just fine. It’s solid motorcycle racing that is fun to play, didn’t feel cheap (as in, “the game races itself and you just pretend you’re driving” kind of cheap) and has great motion. It’s not quite as over-the-top as something like Super Bikes, although with the stunts, it’s certainly taking aim at that series. I saw it listed online for around $36k, which puts it well above my budget but it will certainly work well for the FEC circuit. Some comments on the video criticize the graphics but I didn’t find them bad or poor.
I don’t have kind words for the other VRsenal game that was at the show but their rhythm game didn’t have any framerate issues and looks sharp. VRsenal has long been focused on licensing existing home VR titles and turning them into arcade versions, although I am not sure what level of changes have been made on each. Regardless, Synth Riders is a little bit of a surprise since they had previously been touting Rhythmatic 2, and now that has been completely replaced with Synth Riders. SR has you hitting the notes as they fly at you, although in practice it is more just following the flow of the notes/lines (users making a lot of swishing motions with the controllers instead of moving/thumping to a beat as you would usually see on something like Step ManiaX or Pump It Up above). This uses the new cabinet that was created for Football Frenzy and Zombieland (called the Monolith).
Touhou Perfect Sakura Fantastica
I’ve been told that in Japan, the Touhou franchise is like the Star Wars franchise is in the States – it has a very dedicated and enthusiastic fanbase. I really know little about it, apart from what exA has told me, but I did get to see it being played at the show. The guy I filmed playing it was an American who appeared to be familiar with the series and he was pretty good at it too – enough that I was surprised at how long the boss battle went on for. By all accounts this is selling very well in Japan but it doesn’t seem like the kind of game that arcade patrons will go crazy about here in the West (unless they happen to be a Touhou fan, but how many are out there outside of Japan?)
Toy Story 4
Like Guns ‘N’ Roses, the new Toy Story pinball table by Jersey Jack is quite nice to behold, with some high quality paints being used. The machine I played seemed to have a little issue on one of the ramps where a switch must have gone out but it wasn’t a problem on the other. The game has a nice flow to it and while it’s based on the 4th film, they have nods to the other films on the display (particularly the game over animation). The animations in general are quite good and it’s fun, but like pretty much every pinball machine at this IAAPA, the pricing on these new games far outweighs their earnings power on location.
Teased as a “revolutionary multiplayer coin-op game” just days before the show, I had been expecting something with Mixed Reality or something along those lines. That was my own fault for setting up that kind of expectation – what it really is is a multiplayer light-gun multigame with motion seats. Essentially, QUBE is a compact version of the XD Dark Ride, which has been plenty popular among FECs and theme parks where the ride has been installed. Here, you don’t need an attendant to operate it though, which is nice but it still comes with a hefty $100k price tag that puts it way out of the street operator’s budget (but is still doable for FECs). At least for that price it comes with 3 games with more coming to it later and the games are made in Unreal Engine 5. That plus the 4K screen means no one can whine that they look like “cell phone games.”
Virtual Rabbids: The Big Ride Ultra HD
The new version of LAI’s popular VR ride game (which has been competing in the same space as the Typhoon & Storm VR mentioned above) was there, bringing higher resolution headsets to the mix for a better user experience.
I really wasn’t expecting this game, as I had thought that Retro Arcade Remakes was just focusing on remaking Taito’s EM games like Ice Cold Beer, but it turns out they want to remake some classic arcade games as well. The general impression I get is that Atari is currently one of the easier companies to license these things for, whereas Midway/Atari Games (owned by Warner Bros.) is the exact opposite. Anyways, Warlords is one of the most entertaining multiplayer classic arcade games ever devised but it’s fairly difficult to come across. The cabinet is not a replica of the classic cocktail, instead allowing for adults to stand at it instead of hunch over. Bryan of RAR was talking about wanting to do an OLED screen for it and make it so that the background art which was present in the original 2-player upright model, but not the 4-player cocktail, would make an appearance. It wasn’t said when this will be available to purchase or for how much but hopefully it will be known sometime next year. For all those who keep asking where you can order the upcoming ICB (as well as Warlords), here’s their new and much improved website.
We’ve seen a few video bowling games since Lane Master came along a few years ago and this one was Amusement Source International’s take on the concept which turns the bowling pins into zombies (the kiddie green kind you often see in videmption arcade games, not the blood red gory kind of the grown-up games). I don’t recall seeing anyone else out there with a video bowling game like this, so they’re the only game in town and it’s a clever variation on the concept.
We happen to have two games with the same name at the show, although this one I prefer over the other if you made me pick between them. Zombie Land by Coastal Amusements is essentially Ice Man/Ice Walker without the water guns. Hordes of zombies approach the screen and you need to blast them. Fortunately the concept is more polished than Ice Man is, not just in terms of frame rate but also the camera moves around levels (like you are venturing through a town or some other setting) instead of just sitting there and slightly moving from side-to-side. That said the game play does get a little too chaotic with the zombie hordes at times and 8 levels does seem like a lot for a kids game, although I suppose it means some replay value. This also supports up to four players using mounted guns; Works for amusement only or redemption play.
Zombieland Headshot Fever
I hate to leave a negative comment for the last one on the list, but if I was to pretend that nothing’s wrong, I’d be doing a major disservice to my fellow ops. Apart from nothing about this port being original (licensed from home VR on the software; borrows the idea for the guns from Sega’s VR Agent on the hardware) the most shocking thing about this game was the atrocious framerate of 20-24f/s. At least that can be corrected although I’m still genuinely shocked that the game was presented like this anyways and ready to ship. If it was a silly kids videmption game then it wouldn’t be a big deal but where it’s around $30,000~, things like that matter – I would expect at least 60fps and some original content added to it. VRsenal’s website currently states that these are available with a lead time of 60 days from order. Hopefully they take that long lead time to fix the most glaring problem:
IAAPA 2022 was a great show, personally it would have been better had I not caught a sinus infection and lost my voice, but it was still good. There was a strong energy to show that was brought on from having a much wider variety of new products compared to 2021. It is a little too heavy on the racer side though although I am glad to see most of the racers trying out some different ideas from the norm (be it drones, missions, chases, etc). As I told some at the show, and heard from others, it felt like life was normal again and that was a good feeling. Granted, I wish that pricing on products was like 2019 and not what it is at the moment – hopefully we’ll see things come down, but general inflation an issue that our industry can’t really do much about.
I’m not in a buying mood right now due to my circumstances at the moment and closing down my 2nd location at the end of this month, but if I was, I would likely be grabbing: Bumper (Coastal); Pac-Man Chompionship SD (Bandai Namco); and P-47 Aces (exA-Arcadia).
If I had more of a budget, then it would be difficult to decide which racer I would grab – they all have their merits and I could see most earning pretty well. Almost all of them would be out of my price range (for a twin/pair) even on a good year though, so it’s hard to say what I would go for with so many choices – possibly the least expensive one, which ever that is (I heard a price here and there for some games, but not all of them). I also liked the new Halo model, although that’s another one where it’s really tough to jump on due to the price (around $24k from what I’m hearing).
If you attended IAAPA, then what are your thoughts on the show?