Happy Memorial Day to my fellow American readers – here’s a story I had meant to get to on Friday but it’s important to get some details in place before publishing.
By all accounts I’ve heard, Asphalt 9 Legends Arcade has been a success for LAI Games and Wahlap. It was one of the first major releases that the arcade market saw coming out of the post-lockdown/pandemic period, although it had the challenge of also being among the first titles that saw price increases thanks to the combined effects of rising inflation, production costs, and freight issues. Despite those, the game sold very well and seems to be relatively easy to find among FECs out there.
Now, the two previously released models will be joined by a third, which adds VR to the mix. We first saw the game at IAAPA 2022, but after some testing and tweaking, the production build of the game is ramping up to ship, with units being available once the International Bowl Expo 2023 event kicks off in Orlando, FL on June 28th (the Expo starts on the 25th, but the trade show portion is just the 28th & 29th). Here’s the IAAPA prototype, then after the video we’ll discuss differences:
LAI has listed the game on their website where you can look over the features, but the most sensible change I notice is that they dumped the useless second small monitor on the dashboard (useless as the player can’t see it when they’ve got the VR headset on) and replaced that with a face mask dispenser. They’ve also changed the general cabinet design by adding more flash to it, reducing the size and changing the shape of the front windshield, adding an LED wheel to the back, and a few other aesthetic things. To be fair though, the version seen at IAAPA was the Chinese build; They’ve adapted it for the West, as is usually done. It is also available in a twin model configuration, although operators can grab a single if they so desire.
The website says it’s a “Premium VR headset” but didn’t mention the model – I asked about it and it is using an HP Reverb G2. This seems to be an increasingly popular option for arcade VR.
Also of note for both players and operators – this version comes with a unique game mode lacking in the other models called Hunted. It’s a police chase mode where you need to stay ahead of “SECURITY” and not get caught. In total there are 4 game modes but this one is aiming to be the ultimate edition of the game.
Pre-orders can be placed already but note that shipments won’t be taking place until Bowl Expo time. There might be some small exceptions to that on test units, so if you’re in the right place you might be able to play one before then, otherwise, expect to find this at interested FECs in July.