Newsbytes: Mystery Game; Bay Tek Buys MajorMega; RIP Mike Jang; Headlines & Much More

arcadehero February 24, 2024 0
Newsbytes: Mystery Game; Bay Tek Buys MajorMega; RIP Mike Jang; Headlines & Much More

Welcome to Newsbytes, a post that curates arcade and pinball news from around the world. After a slight prolonged new year lull with one or two notable exceptions, we had a sudden burst in content with no less than five posts on the site over the past few days alone – and there is still much more to cover here. One or two of these even involve further announcements coming very soon…

As always, thanks to everyone on the AH Discord and across other social media platforms for sending some of the below stories in.

UFO Spotted At Dave & Busters It’s Just Guitar Hero Arcade

UPDATE: Turns out that it is just an unofficially modified Guitar Hero Arcade. Great work to Jbean and Alessando for finding a better pic:

No, this is not a location test of a new version or a return to Guitar Hero Arcade by Raw Thrills. They did release this game way back in 2009, but this just happens to be a very nice looking conversion of an old cabinet into a new one with a giant screen.

It is surprising to see this at a new Dave & Busters, since they haven’t generally done such conversions, but at least whomever they contracted out did a nice, professional job.

Original story: Well, make that a UAG – Unidentified Arcade Game – but UFO sounds better. 😛 As posted by Jdevy on our Discord server, there is a new Dave & Busters in Schaumburg, IL, replacing a former GameWorks location. With it being Chicagoland and all, that GW was always a big location test hotspot, and this D&B seems to be no different already. Spotted in the background from footage is what seems to be a new arcade game. However, it’s so out of focus that the only thing we can tell is that it does not appear to be something widely available on the market:

The monitor is on a stand, and if you look behind the guy’s raised arm, it also appears to have a seat. Is it a new game on test? Or something that already exists and has received a special custom build? The latter seems somewhat unlikely for Dave & Busters to do (although the GameWorks there before them did do this for certain titles, e.g. Super Monkey Ball Ticket Blitz), so I’d lean towards a new test game.

What do you think it is?

Bay Tek Buys MajorMega

Bay Tek Entertainment continues to grow, acquiring another amusement-related company as they expand their portfolio. You might recall that back in 2016, they acquired Skeeball – now they are fully embracing Virtual Reality with the acquisition of MajorMega.

I was wondering about this at IAAPA 2023, as there was a peculiar addition to the BayTek booth of MajorMega’s Spongebob Squarepants Dynamic Duo VR game. That and MajorMega’s other VR piece, the HyperDeck, had previously been showcased at the Creative Works booth. I figured it was just a change in distribution support, but it seems that someone at BayTek was impressed with what they offer. It also allows them to jump into the VR amusement sector, perhaps we’ll see an arcade version of Skeeball VR in the future.

exA-Arcadia Updates

For those who have missed it, exA-Arcadia held their first exALive stream recently. We did cover most of the details on it in our post about Touhou Scarlet Diabolique Fantastica, which propped it up, but this is a fresh livestream initiative by them to communicate new information and announcements in much the same way as a Nintendo Direct. Unfortunately this first one was held at a much more convenient time for Japanese audiences, and only in their language (not to mention on the same day as a Direct, albeit only a Partner Showcase edition), but things can still be gleaned from it:

Other than the new Touhou game, topics discussed on the stream included exA’s achievements so far, details on their input lag-reducing JVS dash standard for the main compatible cabinets (Sega Lindberghs, Namco Noirs, and Taito Viewlixes) and a runthrough of all games available. This notably featured a tease of two new exA Label titles still to come (as seen below). It’s worth adding that outside of this, there have been more plans to shake up their marketing strategy – for AH’s part, there should be some video content on the way involving an ARC-1 cabinet and some different games soon.

As covered in the aforementioned Touhou post and on stream, additional future exA Arcadia plans include their official presences at Amusement Expo and EVO. But they were also represented very well by someone else at the recent 2024 edition of GENESIS, the competitive Super Smash Bros tournament event. Game Saru have brought their fair share of officially purchased exA hardware and games along to the various expos and conventions they feature at for a while now (much like our good friends at Arcade Belgium), but this year’s showing saw a great increase in what was available to play:

Though traditional fighting games have been doing much better on console in recent years, in terms of sheer recognition Smash Bros definitely remains one of the biggest forces in competitive gaming, even if not regarded a ‘proper’ fighter in the minds of most. So it’s good to see exA Arcadia getting some decent representation in front of that sizeable audience now. Let’s hope it continues as exA attract more and more appealing games for said crowd, specifically including that upcoming fighter IP – even if not quite on the scale of Smash. You may also remember a certain April Fools joke we once did related to the latter…

Mike Jang Passes

This past week, news sadly broke of the passing of Mike Jang. In case you have never heard of him, Jang was possibly Atari’s most prolific industrial designer, creating and conceptualizing eye-catching cabinets for scores of its most loved arcade games. He was there from the early days in the mid 1970s right into the 80s, and his design DNA is seen in many machines; from Stun Runner to RoadBlasters, from Star Wars to Missile Command Deluxe, they all have touches from him, even if these are usually taken for granted and unrecognized by the masses.

Jang didn’t stop creating after the old Atari imploded in 1984 either, and perhaps one of his most widely-seen latter day designs was the seat originally used for San Francisco Rush. If you’ve set foot in an arcade during the past few decades, chances are you’ve seen this on at least one game, as many other manufacturers adopted it in the subsequent years. Its concept artwork, like numerous earlier creations of his from between 1978 and 1991 which were made available for research at Stanford Libraries, was later kindly shared by him with us:

Jang will be greatly missed by his former Atari colleagues, his family, and everyone at AH. Tony Temple at The Arcade Blogger has a fantastic dedicated post about him if you’d like to read more.

StepManiaX Coming To Round1US

In some good news for rhythm game fans, StepManiaX finally seems to be rolling out across more Round1 locations in the US after a couple of tests last year. Their social media pages made the official announcement a few days ago, and some have started appearing at locations already… although not all have been set up in desirable places out of the gate. Nonetheless, this is great for SMX’s ever-widening accessibility in the States and elsewhere. Dave & Busters have been adopting it at one or two of their new locations as well, though obviously not yet quite as widespread as R1US.Over in Europe there seems to be a lot of movement surrounding the game too, both good and bad in this case. For the good, Belgium got its first ever location with a cab recently at the S’pace bowling alley in Malmedy; for the bad, the UK quickly gained and then lost one in the space of just a few weeks when Bandai Namco removed it – and the entire arcade area altogether – from their newest Cross Store opening in Brighton. It’s a slight shame they aren’t placing more emphasis on the arcade aspect of this concept, but the gacha and merchandise sales must be making more money…

IAAPI & DEAL Coming Soon

While we tend to focus on tradeshows like IAAPA and Amusement Expo (AEI), a couple of others are taking place here over the next two weeks that might show some new titles: IAAPI (India) and DEAL (Dubai, UAE). IAAPI will be next week, while DEAL is being held the week after.

LAI Games have indicated that they will debut the new Smash DX racing game at IAAPI, while AH advertiser Touch Magix sent in a press release about their presence at DEAL. There isn’t any new-new title mentioned in that release though, so I’ll hold it back until closer to the show (or for the next Newsbytes).

ICE Launches Two New Sports Games

One is for kids called Double Dribble (it reminds me of the mini Sonic Basketball machine that Sega have had for some time), the other is the American football-themed Quarterback Pro. Both can be setup for amusement-only or redemption play.

Team Play Is Hiring

Looking for a job in the arcade/amusement industry? Then you might be in luck as Team Play Inc. is currently hiring for an Assembly and Engineering Tech in Elk Grove, IL. You’ll need to be adept with electronics, along with drafting technical documentation. Seems like a good place to get in on the ground floor with creating arcade games, just note that it is not remote. If you apply, mention that you saw it on AH.

Talking 2023 Numbers

I meant to have this up in January, but a nasty cold put my voice out of commission for 3-4 weeks, and other things kept me busy. But for anyone interested in how my games did last year – with a focus on pinball – here you go:

On a related note, here’s an image of a poll that site friend Kevin Williams recently did on Facebook (behind a closed group, which is why I’m sharing here), that is polling VR amusement center locations on how business is going. While this isn’t scientific, it’s reflecting what I’ve been hearing for the amusement business since September/October last year. That said, I believe most of these respondents are purely focused on operating VR equipment, as opposed to an FEC that has a few VR options available.

Like Kevin, I’ve been seeing quite a few VR arenas (stuff like Hologate or the aforementioned MajorMega Hyperdeck and similar systems) being put up for sale since the end of last year, so it’s something that makes you wonder. I’ve shared my thoughts on VR before and one thing that has always given me pause are the extremely high prices. When there’s an economic downturn, as there always is with how business ebbs and flows, those $50k~$100k systems are the riskiest purchases of the bunch.

Writing A New Arcade Book

On one more note related to the above: due to a slight life circumstance change that also happened last month, I’ve been able to start tackling my next arcade book in earnest. This is a sourced history book that covers all fifty years of the video arcade industry, with sections broken out by decade and chapters that focus on each particular major company.

I’ve reached out to a few industry people to ask for info and feedback, albeit there are more I will ask – once I get to certain companies/eras. Unfortunately, as alluded to earlier in this post a lot of people who were around in the ’70s are no longer with us; I have completed that section though and am slowly getting through the ’80s. Emphasis most definitely on the slow part there… researching and cross-referencing everything is taking a lot more time than the actual writing process.

If anyone has information on original sources that aren’t Play Meter Magazine (or have access to Play Meters that are not found on – a lot of issues are missing from the late 80s there), please hit me up. I’m also keen to get access to any original documents that might be available, while preserving them (memos, charts, other uncommon items that can help establish authenticity of the past).


XEEN Corporation Is Bought By An XR Company – If you haven’t heard of these guys, they were responsible for dev support on recent arcade games out of Japan by Bandai Namco and Sega

Arcooda Release Arcade Gun Game Pedal Assembly Video

New Trailers From Bandai Namco Amusement Europe

Eight On The Break In NJ Gets Some New Attention

A History Of Pirated Street Fighter II Versions In China

Arcades In Osaka Benefit From The Retro Gaming Trend

Anyone Want To Listen To More Arcade Galactic Ambience?

Eurogamer’s Five Best Arcade Machines Inside Video Games

Former Sega Engineers Interviewed On Early VR Projects By Beep21

Virtua Fighter 3tb Online On APM3 Featured At A VF eSports Event

Marvelous Are Secretly Testing Out A New Pokemon Kids Arcade Title

A Rare Tokimeki Memorial Arcade Control Panel Up For Sale, Via Beep Shop

New Code For JAWS Pinball Is Available

Keri Ann Hoskins (Actress in NBA Jam, Mortal Kombat, Galactic Tank Force) Celebrates Her Birthday

It’s Already Been 12 Years Since Midway Filed For Bankruptcy – As I constantly have to remind people, Warner Bros. bought them up and owns all of the Atari Games & Williams IP (on top of Midway)

[Console] Hop Top, A New Arcade-Inspired Game Is Releasing Soon For Steam

[Console] Fans Are Not Very Happy With The New ‘Atari Presents’ Rereleases

[Console] Legendary Bad Game Sequel Death Crimson 2 Gets Fan Translation

[Console] Sega Developers Say New Sapporo Studios Lead To Better Lives

[Console] Bandai Namco Cancel Five Games That Were In Development

[Console] Want To Get In On The Waitlist For An AI Game Maker Called Rosebud? – Remains to be seen if it’s decent art or more AI content slop

[Console] Sony Is Testing The PSVR On PC – You have to wonder if one day it’ll just be one platform to rule them all

[Console] Want To Convert Your NES Homebrew Into A Steam PC Release?

That’s all for this time. Did any of this news (e.g. the exA Arcadia updates) interest you?

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