Archive for the ‘Arcade Simulators’ category

Location Review : Phoenix Arcade @ The Summit

May 27, 2008

Here in Niagara Falls, NY there is a mall called The Summit and in addition to the Krow’s Nest with the bowling machines there is another arcade called Phoenix arcade. They have 2 storefronts in the mall. They have a wide variety of games between both their storefronts including the original Outrun simulator, classic games, some modern games, prize cranes, foosball, air hockey and much more. Their newly opened arcade is decorated very nicely on the outside. Here is a video of the newly opened arcade.

Overall the location is very clean, the games are priced cheaply at 25 and 50 cents per play, however this location suffers from many of the problems that classic arcades suffer from such as dead games and lots of monitor problems on the games. The phoenix arcade has quite a few games though and keeping up with them must not be that easy.

A video of their other storefront in the mall will follow in a short while.

Go Go Golf from Sega – junk the Wiimote, play with a real club!

April 9, 2008

I remember not too long ago when Bill Gates was asked about the motion-sensing controls of the Wii he mentioned that he saw the day when you could do something like pick up a real tennis racket and use that for your controller. Well now you can with a real gold club and golf balls with Sega’s Go Go Golf, a new coin-op golf simulator. (OK before I get too far along, I know that someone else had already has created a golf simulator that uses real clubs and golf balls, I’ll have to find the link – so no, Sega is not the first in this regard but they might be for a coin-operated setting). By using a series of sensors, the game detects the angle and velocity of the ball and translates that into the virtual world that you see on the screen. In addition to standard golf long-driving practice mode, it also features several mini-game modes where the player tries to break different targets using the ball including floating colored panels, colored balloons, bingo and more. Graphically it looks pretty slick and this will obviously appeal to many venues beyond arcades and FECs including gyms and other health clubs, golf shops, etc.

As always we don’t know if this will have an international release but with as popular as golf is worldwide, I’d say that it’s a safe bet to say that we could see this one being made available outside of Japan.

[Via ITMedia and DengekiOnline] [Discuss on the Forum]

ASI 2008 – my view (part 2)

March 29, 2008

Continuing on with my ASI 2008 coverage is a continued look into products that one could find at the show.

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Coastal Amusements had their new Sea Wolf game on display which received a lot of attention(they also had a number of redemption games there too). They had six units setup that were constantly being played and I could tell why – it is a very fun game. The gameplay is quite simple like a classic game – the only thing I don’t like about it is the price tag which I guess in the redemption sector is where they’d like it but for the video sector is a little high. A video of this is coming up in a post later today.

Trio-Tech had their UFO Stomper on display (which I also have a video of) along with their Motion Wave Theater and Jett Rider. UFO Stomper is a lot of fun with many mini-games built into the unit that really can give you a work out. It was fairly popular from what I saw and I wore myself out going through the adventure mode. You might be able to find this at an FEC but for a couple of reasons (size and price) it is impractical for small locations. Great attraction though. I was hoping to see a Wasteland Racer there but it looks like they have dumped it (as it even isn’t on their website).

Andamiro had three Pump It Up games setup – all looked quite nice and I saw people playing them everytime I walked past the booth. They also had a fun video redemptionphto0002.jpg game called Hammer 2 where the players use soft mallets to smack video images on the table, sort of like whack-a-mole but more advanced. It was some nice fun for two players.

Beyond that the floor featured many redemption items and a few touchscreen devices, including new tabletPC-like models from Touch Tunes (pictured) and Merit. There also were a number of air hockey tables on the floor, each with some new ideas that mostly involved sound. My brother and I played a coupletouchtunes.jpg of games at the Barron Games booth, including a match where you could have four players to a table or each player could “dual-wield” (OK, my term, not theirs) the hockey puck deflectors. It also had a bumper in the middle of the field. I saw another air hockey table(it might have been at the ICE booth) that had a shield in the middle to avoid flying pucks and also used some new ideas with sound. It had been a long time since I had played air hockey, I forgot how fun it could be so I will have to look into one of these for my own arcade.

While it’s not a game, I did come across a booth where they were demonstrating some LCD monitors to go into standard arcade cabinets. The monitors were made by Ally Star Technologies in Taiwan and overall I liked the quality of what I saw. They had several sizes of monitors and most on display had a widescreen display ratio and good contrast ratios and options. They make screens from 8.4″ in size to 47″, each size improving in technical specs (the 47″ screen can do 1080p). I am thinking about one of these widescreen displays for my conversion of a cabinet into The Act – the actual model that Cecropia made had an LCD widescreen monitor so I’d like to get something like it.

Finally I did come across one new development in the redemption sector that is interesting. It takes the self-redemption concept to the level of not needing employees at a desk to count tickets and grab prizes for people. Called the Database Prize Center by Smart Industries, the redemption counter is basically transformed into some cabinets where the prizes have the value printed on a sticker – the person feeds their tickets into the machine and it lets them choose what they want (as long as they have the tickets to afford the item). It does essentially replace redemption arcade employees with machines but there are some types of locations that may not want to run a redemption desk or can’t do it at all that this is useful for. If it grows (initial reports state that it’s already proven to work successfully in a number of different venues) it could become a standard thing in the industry so I thought that it was worth mentioning.

So that was ASI in a nutshell. Today they are having the show open to the public and we’ll see how that goes and what people think of the offerings there. I also stopped by The Star Trek Experience at the Hilton hotel – for a Trekkie like myself it was awesome. I even bought a “KHAAANN!” t-shirt which looks great. Stay tuned for some ASI videos!

[Discuss on the Forum]

ASI 2008 – my view (part 1)

March 29, 2008

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As previously stated I was able to make it down to ASI 2008 and it was a fun experience – I was able to play a number of games that I have only heard about or seen online. But what was disappointing is that the selection of video games was relatively small compared to what could have been seen and there were almost no new announcements for games to come along later in the year(I could only find one). Still it was fun and it was great to meet up with a few people that I have talked with online before. I was told that Nolan Bushnell showed up very briefly at the show, it’s too bad that I didn’t get a chance to meet him and at least thank him for giving us Atari.
While I did take a number of pictures and video, for some reason several of the images and a couple of the videos became corrupted so I have less to show. I do apologize for that, it really disappointed me as one of the reasons I went to ASI was to get many pictures and video but this will have to do. I think the problem is the digital camera I have, so next time I’ll make sure to have a decent one. Click on the thumbnails for a full view.

I’d also like to thank the AAMA for accommodating my brother and I, they were very nice and friendly and I appreciate the opportunity that they gave me for interviewing both Micheal Rudowicz, president of the AAMA and Frank Cosentino of Namco, which I will be transcribing as time permits (I made a voice recording of the interviews but the audio isn’t too great thanks to the ambient noise of the show).

First off, Namco. As mentioned in the previous post, they have a very small video presence – while they had a large booth, a vast majority of the games there were of a redemption nature that I did not spend much time looking at. However they did have a couple of games that I wanted to see – Maximum Tune 3 (four units which were almost always occupied) and Mario Kart Arcade GP2. They also had a Pac-Man/Galaga unit, a tabletop Pac-Man combo and a Bowl-o-rama machine. I was able to interview Frank Cosenteno of Namco and we had a good discussion about the industry along with some of Namco’s plans (I will post a transcript of that interview soon but it will take some time). While he wasn’t able to divulge much about their future plans, we did discuss a little bit about Namco’s plan to use the Wii in the arcade development scene, Tekken 6 and the possibility of Pac-Man CE coming to arcades. I managed to recover a picture of Wacky Races (which wasn’t at the Namco booth but was close by – the lever was removed and replaced with a giant button) but everything else Namco related is lost.

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GlobalVR had a large booth showcasing most of their current games – they had 10 NASCAR games hooked up which received a lot of attention, including several standard and deluxe cabinets and two motion cabinets. Playing on that large of a network was quite fun. They also had several Blazing Angels units setup which also received a good deal of attention and praise; a Global Classics cocktail cabinet, two America’s Army units and two Paradise Lost (standard) units. I know it’s older but it would have been nice to see an Alien: Extermination Deluxe setup at the show. I didn’t hear anything about their new NFS: Carbon title or anything about the new Signature Devices titles that were announced earlier this week.

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Betson/Raw Thrills also had a large booth on display with several Big Buck Hunter Pro and Big Buck Safari units setup for play. They also had the new tournament edition of BBHPro there which is using some cool ideas for playing online. Big Buck Safari is a lot of fun, I think I like it more than BBH to be honest for it’s variety in levels and challenges and some of the new bonus rounds. Many people in the booth had BBS clothes on (including a couple of booth babes). The Big Buck Safari Deluxe still needs some work though – they said that it was only about 60%-70% complete as there are problems with the light guns and the LCD which I could tell – my shots didn’t register 80% of the time. Hopefully they iron this out before the final release. Nice cabinet though. They also had several Tokyo Drift cabinets setup and were demonstrating the new Drift kits in some Crusin’ World and USA cabinets. They looked pretty nice actually and the price is competitive (between $2200 and $2600) for what you get. They also had a couple of Super Bikes machines and one Konami game, DDR Supernova 2 which didn’t get much attention. I was told a little more about more Raw Thrills developments – nothing detailed but there are several teams in the company working on several new games. I hope to hear more soon.

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Next up is Sega. In perhaps what is an indication of their recent troubles, Sega didn’t have a large presence at ASI – in fact their booth was tucked away and relatively small. As Kevin of the Stinger Report mentioned, they only had two videos there, Primeval Hunt and RaceTV. I enjoyed (and finished) Primeval Hunt and to an extent RaceTV but I could see where it had received some criticism. They also had their Shoot This! Win This! and UFO Catcher video redemption games as well as some new Spongebob SquarePants redemption game setup. We had hoped to see some indication of new developments from Sega such as Sega Rally but to no avail. Unfortunately both the pictures I took of the Sega booth didn’t survive, but I do have a video of the booth to make up for it.

Stern Pinball was located next to Raw Thrills and was quite popular as the day went on. They had two Indiana Jones pinball machines with what looked to be the finalindyjones.jpg playfield art ; Shrek pinball, Wheel of Fortune and a few other recent hits of theirs. I was able to briefly meet Gary Stern which was cool and I congratulate him on Indiana Jones pinball – I thought that it was a lot of fun and I had the chance to play it a couple of times. Shrek pinball was also pretty good and I can see them producing more than 250 of those. I did take a video of Indiana Jones pinball being played which I will be posting later today.

iMOtion had their Panzer Elite Action game setup at the Mountain Coin Op booth (which also had the SpongeBob SquarePants Digital pinball table). I talked with them for a little bit and saw a video of a new game they have developed that involves boat racing (this was the only brand new game announced at the show that I know of) called Power Boat. From the brief video I saw of Power Boat it looks really good, it reminds me a little of HydroThunder but it uses motion (and more advanced graphics). Their reps have the right idea – that arcades need different kinds of games that fit more into the simulator experience. I can only hope that soon they’ll make a mech based game, which was an idea they seemed open to. We can definently expect to see more from them in the future. If you haven’t seen the iGO motion cabinet yet, click here for a cool 3D interactive demo of how the machine works.

More coming up!

[Discuss on the forum]

Sega Opening a ton of Amusement Parks in the Middle East

January 17, 2008

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Via GamesIndustryBiz

Sega will be opening amusement parks and arcades similar to Joypolis in Japan in the Middle East. The first location set to open will be in the Dubai Mall in Downtown Burj, Dubai. It will be 76,000 sq feet and will feature simulators, a roller coaster and of course many arcade games. The complex is set to open in late 2008.

Unfortunately these complexes will not be opening anywhere in North America.

(Thanks to The Stinger Report for the image)

The Max Experience

January 11, 2008

Here is another early motion simulator, the Max Experience. It was produced around 1984 or 1985 by a company called Amusement Technology (Amtech) out of Asbury Park, NJ. This strange device designed for both adults and children contained hydraulics and lifted you into the air. The game that came with the cabinet was a racing game however other games were promised for the cabinet including games based on a speedboat, motorcycle and submarine. The games were changed by changing the board and one microprocessor chip. It is unknown if any of the other games were actually produced.

I know of at least one instance of this cabinet existing at one point and that was in the Half Moon Arcade located in Weirs Beach, NH. The Half Moon Arcade is still in operation today. The Half Moon’s website still lists the Max Experience as being in their arcade however that website was not updated since 1999. Provided that the list is accurate it is amazing that a simulator like this even lasted until 1999. I made several attempts over the years to reach the Half Moon about this rare simulator but have had no luck. I seriously doubt they are still operating this simulator. If you made a visit to the Half Moon arcade prior to 1999, you may have seen this machine. You can find the Half Moon’s website here:

http://www.weirsbeach.com/halfmoon/arcades/familyfuncenter.html

Pictures and more info about the Max Experience here, the pictures are a must-see as this is truly a bizarre looking simulator!

 Max Experience 3 Max Experience 4

Max Experience 2 Max Experience 1

The Hot Seat Arcade system of the 1980s

January 8, 2008

Here is another obscure simulator to ponder. The Hot Seat was a motion based simulator produced in the mid 1980′s. This simulator did not come with any dedicated game, its intention was to be a multi-game simulator (in that you could install any existing arcade game in it) and turn that game into a motion simulator to generate more profits. It was made by a company called Balance Technology – Colorado Game Exchange out of Denver, Colorado. The examples mentioned in the article were Williams Blaster and Atari Star Wars and the simulator would be best used with flying or driving games.

I do not have any other information on this simulator other than the article but the article does mention the AMOA and is from November of 1984 so I can only assume if you were at the 1985 AMOA show you may have seen this simulator. There must have been at least 1-2 units of this simulator produced for the AMOA Expo but it is unknown if it even went to locations or into full production which is unlikely. I seem to remember a rumor about one of these popping up on ebay with Star Wars in it but I have never seen it myself on ebay.

I don’t know about you but the idea of Blaster or Star Wars in a simulator game sounds pretty cool to me! Here’s some pictures of the machine:

Hot Seat - Front Image

Hot Seat - Back Image

The Zamperla Telecombat – The ultimate Game/Ride simulator

December 9, 2007

In continuing with my efforts to inform the public about different simulator games today I will discuss an unusual piece, the Zamperla Telecombat.

This machine is an unusual combination of Amusement Ride crosses arcade game. I have always thought this was quite a nice combination because if your an amusement ride enthusiast like me, and also like arcade games, then this becomes the ultimate, perfect simulator for you. I only know of one instance of this ride existing, and that is in the Amusement Park Marineland, which is located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. There are other rides called the telecombat but they are not the same as this particular ride. There is little information about this ride however I believe it was installed in the park in the late 1980′s. It definitely has the late 80′s or even early 80′s type graphics so it is a classic machine and not something modern.

This is technically an amusement ride, so it has multiple ride vehicles, probably about 10-12 2 person pods. The ride accomodates both children and adults. Once you get into the ride and strap yourself in you are faced with a joystick similar to Space Harrier with a trigger on top. I haven’t been to Marineland since about 8th grade so my mind may be a bit fuzzy on some of these details. When the ride starts you see the other pods on the screen, which correspond to the actual pods on the ride. The object of the game is to shoot down the pods on the screen, and when you hit one, the actual pod is sent spinning and it lowers to the ground to indicate a hit. If someone else hits the pod you are in on the screen, then your pod will descend as well. The pods spin around and raise and lower with movement corresponding to the way you move the joystick. From what I remember this ride does not work very well and its quite complex to maintain. The monitors are also difficult to see in the sunlight so the experience is hampered a bit. Its very cool and unique though and has that great late 1980′s feel to it. I am actually surprised they are still operating this ride, and I hope they don’t decide to get rid of it for something newer. Here are some pictures of the ride. Click the link and picture to see them.

If anyone can elaborate on this ride, such as year of installation and futher details on its game play I welcome any comments about it.

Zamperla Telecombat

Zamperla Telecombat Ride

The Exidy Vertigo Simulator

December 7, 2007

This post will be part of my efforts to inform the public about some vintage simulators that are relatively unknown. There is some debate over which motion simulator was actually the first one ever produced for the video arcade for use by the general public so I will cover a few of them that I know of that were made around the same period. Its no surprise that there is debate over this matter as there were quite a few small companies trying to produce something for the arcade scene that was new and different to help arcades recover after the big arcade crash.

The first one I would like to talk about is the Vertigo, made by Exidy in 1984. Most people don’t know that Exidy, manufacturer of games like Mouse Trap and Death Race, actually produced a full-sized simulator at one point. There is little known about this rare game, and I have not heard of an instance of this game existing today in the full-motion cabinet. These games were mostly placed on test location in the Southern California area, so if you lived around there during the mid 80′s, you may have encountered an Exidy Vertigo in an arcade. I know a person who trashed about 20 of these Vertigo machines in the 80s (ouch!), so there must have been at least around 20-30 of them produced, maybe a few more. Like most early simulators, they were around for a short period of time then disappeared due to failure of the machine or low earnings. The gameplay was a sort of a flying game with vector graphics.

If you have played or remember the Exidy Vertigo, feel free to leave your comments.

Also here is a picture and a link that gives more information about this rare, elusive game.

Exidy Vertigo at Trade Show

[Arcade Flyer Archive]    [Discuss on the Forum]

Pro Golf Simulator

December 2, 2007

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(Click on the images to enlarge, images via Gizmag)

This is a bit old already but since Arcade Heroes wasn’t around when it came out so it’s better late than never. This Pro Golf Simulator can be used anywhere including the home and retails (or retailed in case it is no longer available) for between 1,500 and 19,000 Euros (depending on the model and size you want).

According to the website, Pro Golf Simulator is quite accurate in the simulation of the aforementioned title where the player can use real clubs and real balls where the computer calculates the results based upon the movement detected in the chamber as well as where the ball hits. Results can be projected to the main screen or to a separate monitor on the outside of the enclosure. On top of this one can build their own golf course for the ultimate custom experience. In addition to providing a fun simulation, it can also be used to help buyers decide what kind of clubs work best for them and help them improve their game, all before they get out to the courses.

This seems similar to Konami’s MoCap Golf although it’s better since you can use real golf clubs/balls if you wish. Could something like this become more common on the arcade scene? Only time will tell.

[Pro Golf Simulator @ Gizmag.com] [Discuss on the Forum]


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