Welcome to Newsbytes, a curated collection of quick news items from around the world of arcades and pinball. We’ve had quite a bit of the latter this week and this post will be no exception, but there are some other things happening in the world of arcades worth noting, so lets get to it!
Galactic Tank Force Cabinet (Mostly) Revealed
American Pinball has pulled back a little more of the curtain on their 5th game, Galactic Tank Force, which has been designed by Dennis Nordman. In addition to it being an original theme, they are doing something very different with the cabinet design, where it looks like a ‘retro sci-fi’ tank (or a new retro tank – not sure what the correct term should be :P)
The reactions on Pinside are either positive or negative, with a few “I’ll wait to see the whole thing before deciding;” I always try to be more of the 3rd option here, as we need more info. Granted, those are mostly or all collectors, so they’re looking at this differently than I would. My gut reaction is – I like seeing someone trying something radically different for a change. I do like seeing new innovations on the playfield like has been done on several recent games, including Foo Fighters and that skilled ball drain save.
As I’ve said on video after video, but I know a lot of you out there don’t like to hear this – Pinball (as presently constituted) is NOT a money maker. It may have the worst ROI in the sector as far as products go. From a cold & logical business perspective, it’s making less and less sense to invest into one the higher that the base costs get. I want to see that change but the answer isn’t “mix it with alcohol” or “they should do x theme” because not every place out there can become a bar/arcade and when the world’s biggest IPs like Star Wars and Jurassic Park can’t perform any differently than a pin that’s 20/30 years old in most locations, then Taylor Swift or Harry Potter or Minecraft or Attack on Titan isn’t going to do any better either.
The issue, as I’ve talked about, is that casuals in your typical arcade don’t know what to do once the theme has drawn to put coins into it, unless someone is there to explain it to them. Most locations don’t have a Pinball Wizard sitting there like an NPC in a side quest to tell them how it works…you’re lucky to get a tech that even cares to keep the things clean, much less a teacher.
Now, is a cabinet that only looks like a tank when it’s folded down, when pins are almost never folded down, the answer? Based on what I just laid out, no – I would like to see the top turret fold into a topper when the backbox is up but it doesn’t have any hinges that appear to do such a thing. But there is one issue that non-licensed themes have and that’s drawing people in. My Dialed In did terrible because no casuals knew what it was and it didn’t have characters that sold them to at least try. This kind of design could be one way to solve that (in retrospect, DI’s backbox should’ve looked like a smartphone and not just another HD backbox)
But again, I want to see what else that American has in store here before going all Judge Dredd on it.
Here’s hoping that it has some other things in the game that keep people coming back for more and helps casuals get into it without needing a pinball coach standing there explaining everything.
On the subject of pins, here are some thoughts on all these new pins (filmed before the teaser above)
Big Buck World Championship XVI Qualifiers Are Now Open
The image below should fill you in on the main details but in case you are into Big Buck Hunter and hadn’t heard already, the qualifiers for the next BBH World Championships have opened, which means that if you want to be a part of the elite group of competitors going for the Big Money and Big Prizes, you want to start playing at a local online BBH Reloaded machine. The qualifiers are open until September 4th but the sooner you start, the better your chances at landing a spot. Visit the main BBH website for more info.
DEAL 2023 Gets Underway Next Week
The “Dubai show” as we like to call it in the biz, is taking place next week, with many exhibitors and visitors from the US already on their way to get things set up.
Valo Motion, Spree Interactive, Apple Industries, Digital Centre, EMBED, Paradrop VR, ASI & Hero Zone VR, PrimeTime Amusements, and many others from our industry will be there. If I find out about anything new-new, I’ll be sure to share.
Speaking of tradeshows, I haven’t seen much out of the GTI Asia China 2023 Expo, except for this:
Vader Immortal Units Lose The Gantry
JDevy reports that Dave & Busters who grabbed the Lightsaber Dojo Vader Immortal arcade game from VRsenal have converted their units to get rid of the overhead gantry that would retract the headset on a cable,bringing the cabinet more in line with their current “Monolith” design. It is still slightly different than that, using a metal fence structure around the sides with hooks for the controls and headset:
I know that the guys at VRsenal probably loathe me when I open my mouth about VR at this point but I still detest the idea of allowing the headset even the possibility of being dropped on the floor. I’ve had to replace enough broken light-guns over the years due to floor-drop damage that I cringe at the thought of having to do so with a VR HMD. To be fair to them, I understand why this change is happening as the cost of having an retractable, wired headset makes the initial cost of these games immensely higher. But I hope that a better solution can come along in the near future that finds a better middle. I’m also a little perplexed by why D&B would make this change when the gantries were already in place, but I’m sure they have a good reason.
LAI Games Opens ArcadeXR Consumer Division – A few of the guys involved in arcade development transferred over
The Games Page On exA-Arcadia’s Website Has Received A Post-JAEPO Update – No new info from what I reported about
[Console] Making Mario’s Boots
[Console] Mario Unofficially Back On Atari With Jumpman – A Game that’s only 10 lines of (compressed) code
That’s all for this week, have an awesome weekend!