Archive for the ‘arcades’ category

Big Buck Hunter Pro iPhone app (with an arcade finder) UPDATED

October 27, 2009

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While there have been many new games on the Apple iPhone which are conversions of an arcade game in some form or another, we have not seen many modern arcade ports to the platform. That is about to change with the release of Big Buck Hunter Pro for the iPhone by developer Super Happy Fun Fun. In this handheld iteration of the coin-op title, you take your shots by simply touching the screen and the rules work out just like the arcade version by shooting three bucks while avoiding the does. It also includes some of the mini-game bonus rounds where players can practice their skills. arcade game finder

UPDATE: Super Happy Fun Fun elaborates on the similarties and differences between this and the arcade version in how the game plays:

The big difference is the controls but beyond that Play Mechanix provided SHFF the actual assets from BBHP arcade game. All of the models, voice and music is exactly the same. The 30 different sites were custom edited to better fit the pacing of the finger shooting style of the iPhone/touch.

The iPhone/touch version features the Whitetail Adventure and 3 of the arcade version’s bonus games but we have plans for releasing additional content.”

One very interesting aspect of this game that will set it apart from other arcade ports is the Arcade Finder function. By using the GPS capabilities of the iPhone, players will be able to find a Big Buck Hunter Pro Online unit near them, which could potentially lead to new players finding their way to the full-sized coin-op version. It also will allow players to create or update their BBH online account and they can even track their standings on both the iPhone and arcade leaderboards. As far as I know, this is the first time such functionality has been featured in an iPhone app (or at the very least, within a game) and I am trying to find out if this feature will be expanded to include Big Buck Safari and Open Season online units as well. The potential for this reaching new demographics via the iPhone user base is pretty high and on top of that the online features could prove to be a popular thing with BBH fans who may want an easier way to keep track of their online standings and that is a great thing for arcade operators.

UPDATE:  Super Happy Fun Fun confirmed to me today that the Arcade Finder feature is actually capable of finding all Big Buck units connected to the Coin-Up network, so yes, that will include online versions of Big Buck Safari and Big Buck Hunter Pro: Open Season. Also, the game is now available on the iTunes store today, so you can pick it up and see for yourself.

For a few more details on the game, including in-game screen shots, hit the link below.

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Insert Coin 2009 – UK public arcade expo launches!

February 10, 2009

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It’s a great day for arcade gamers in the UK, as the Insert Coin 2009 expo has been announced! The show will run on July 18th and 19th at the Northampton Saints Conference CentreThe difference between Insert Coin and other arcade exhibitions is that the event is open to the public, with a great deal for any enthusiast to enjoy. The show will contain over 100 video games and pinball machines set to freeplay, including some that are extremely hard to find in the region, such as the hot fighting game Street Fighter IV, Cave’s new shoot-’em-up Death Smiles, and the cult Japanese fighter Melty Blood: Act Cadenza ver.B2. Additionally, nine tournaments will be running throughout the weekend taking in various genres and offering prizes for extreme displays of skill.

As well as being able to play games, enthusiasts will be able to bring and buy arcade PCBs and parts, attend tech talks and order games and cabinets from suppliers attending the show. Of course, if you’re lacking the kind of room or cash to make your dream arcade at home there will be arcade T-shirts and posters for sale too. Finally, if you’re feeling lucky there will be a raffle for two candy cabinets imported from Japan, an excellent prize for any fan of arcade games.

Tickets are available now and cost £10 for an under-16s weekend ticket, £15 for an adult day ticket or £23 for an adult weekend ticket. If you are interested in attending or exhibiting, visit the Insert Coin 2009 website (link below). Expect more news about the event in the weeks and months ahead, which we’ll be bringing to you right up until we hit the show floor. Until then, hit the post break in order to read the full press release!

[Insert Coin 2009] [Discuss on the Forum]

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Tokyo Game Action closes

February 10, 2009

bigtgaIt’s always sad to see an arcade closing, but this one is particularly heartbreaking. Tokyo Game Action of Wichendon, MA has been forced to shut down with immediate effect, with a liquidation sale to be held in May in order to secure as much cash for the creditors as possible. The arcade opened in 2003, but has had problems operating for roughly two months due to constant flooding, causing a massive shortfall of income while bills have been mounting.

The worst part of all this is that it has happened to a genuinely nice team trying very hard to offer a great experience to players. The arcade was an archetype for modern amusement operations – it was community driven, willing to buy new games and experiment with different payment models, and offered a range of services beyond arcade games, such as a bowling alley and unique food service serving Japanese and American dishes.

Keep an eye on the Tokyo Game Action website for details of the liquidation sale, as maximum revenue is required to help keep a roof over the heads of the team (sadly, this is no exaggeration). We at Arcade Heroes wish you guys the best of luck in the future.

[Tokyo Game Action][Discuss on the Forum]

A tale of two cities

January 19, 2009

It’s another one of those days, as contrasting stories emerge about the health of arcade gaming. Badness abounds as New Orleans CityBusiness is reporting that the original Fun Arcade in New Orleans is closing down after 37 years, leaving no traditional arcades in the area. The owner, 69 year old Jack Boasberg, blames the rise of game consoles and proclaims that “The traditional arcades will go the same way that drive-ins went“. Interestingly, the site of the second Fun Arcade (which closed in 2003) now hosts a LAN centre. The owner, 27 year old Michael Wagner, highlights an important problem with the expectations of those who would visit arcades: “When they make a new machine and it costs the arcade $20,000, people expect to pay a quarter to play it [...]

Elsewhere in the USA, Dallas Morning News has interviewed Brian Ashcraft, regular Kotaku contributor and author of the book Arcade Mania: The Turbo-Charged World of Japan’s Game Centers. While the introduction to the interview is less than positive about the American arcade scene, Ashcraft provides some interesting insights into the differences between US arcade culture and Japanese arcade culture. It’s well worth a read for anyone looking to learn a little more about what is undoubtedly the arcade capital of the world.

[Home video games force arcades to pull the plug] [Dallas native chronicles Japan's vibrant arcade culture in book] [Discuss on the Forums]

City thinks taxing arcades is good idea for their local economy

January 17, 2009

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Kotaku ran a story today discussing a small shop in Hampshire Illinois called Name Your Game where they sold items like clothes and candy and they had a small collection of arcades there which brought in a bit of business. Unfortunately the city decided that it wanted a piece of the pie from any arcades in their zone and enforced new taxes (which they called “fees”) on arcades in the city, which proved to be too burdensome for

The owner of Name Your Game

The owner of Name Your Game

the small business in question and they had to pull the games.

It’s unfortunate that this is still going on in some cities and it is still common to find such burdens placed upon arcades in many cities in the US and elsewhere – most are holdovers from the old days when arcades could be found everywhere. When I opened my own arcade last year I shopped around the different cities to see who would treat my business the best in this regard. While I could have gone to a city with a higher earning population, I choose not to as the fees they would apply on machines in that city would have been too great for me to bear, especially starting out. In the case of the business in this story, called I think it provides and excellent case for why this sort of thing does not work (which I also think can be applied to new tobacco taxes coming down the pipe). If you punish business, the economy will not prosper – we should have learned that lesson in the Great Depression but sadly most people forget or ignore history and repeat the same mistakes over and over again (on a reverse note, if you reward failures like we have been doing with bailouts, that will end up to be a dismal failure as well – free markets are about sorting out the winners from the losers and without that occuring, it will just cause more problems, in addition to the crushing debt we are letting ourselves get into).

Anyways, enough political ranting for now, I know that’s not what you come here for. I do hope that things can turn around for Name Your Game, perhaps the city will backtrack on their policy at one point or loosen it a bit. Hit the link below for the original source.

[Video Game Tax driving teens from their Hideout - The Courier News] [Discuss on the Forum]

Funland arcade in Toronto, Ontario closing in a few days!

July 10, 2008

Here at Arcade Heroes we like to focus on the positive of the arcade scene but I feel this needs to be announced. Funland arcade in Toronto, Ontario (Canada) will be closing sometime next week so if you want to play something there, take pictures or relive fond memories of the place, better hurry because it will be gone soon. The arcade is located on Yonge Street. To my knowledge this arcade has been in business since at least the 1980′s so it will be very sad to see it go. Last I heard a very rare, F-Zero Super Deluxe cabinet with motion resides in this arcade. I cannot confirm if its still there but if you want a shot at playing one of these in the full deluxe motion cabinet and live near Toronto, you better hurry. I have wanted to visit this arcade but I was never able to get there.

Funland arcade on the verge of closing

Funland arcade on the verge of closing

Exclusive: A look inside the Flora Print Club, London

June 20, 2008

The machines in all their glory. Pink, and glory.

It looks like something you might expect to find in Tokyo, but the print club you see pictured above is actually located in the heart of London, being situated in the popular Covent Garden shopping area. Flora is billed as “London’s first print club”, dedicated to providing photo-sticker machines that have proven popular in the Asian market. I’ve only ever seen these machines located in arcades amongst the regular video games, so it should be interesting to see how this new venture fares in the UK. Here’s the full rundown from The Stinger Report:

The Stinger Report was lucky enough to be one of the first to visit the new ‘Flora – Print Club’ venue. The latest attempt to bring the phenomena that is sticker-booth entertainment to the international scene.

Located in the heart of London’s trendy Covent Garden district, the Flora store has been open for over four months, with an inventory of six of the best Print Sticker machines. Proclaimed as the ‘1st Photo Club in London’, the venue brings the unique experience of the genre to the UK Capital.

The Sticker-picture booth machines contain a digital printer, PC, digital camera and a LCD display (t see what you have shot) – as well as an external second display for the user to modify the group of images taken. The user can play wit the CGI backgrounds, overlaid images and incorporated effects. One machine at the venue also includes image manipulation with special lighting to change the users’ looks.

For those not familiar with the genre; the Japanese urban landscape is littered with venues that wholly run sticker-booth machines. Since Atlus originated the ‘Picture Club’ (Purikura) in 1995 – supported by Sega – the mega-concept has evolved into the imposing booth systems. One of the best examples of this is the Shibuya’s ‘Purikura no Mecca’, in Tokyo – filled with hoards of giggling school girls and teenagers, taking snaps – sharing images, and gossiping; an example of one of Asian amusements unique female appeals in recent years (along with ‘Love & Berry’).

For London, this will be an unusual new addition to the changing amusement landscape (previously covered in an in-depth feature in the Stinger Report). Speaking to one of the founders of the store, he revealed that the site was only now out of development and that the Flora team were just starting to advertise and canvas users. Other than word-of-mouth, the owners were starting to hand out flyers at the local colleges and universities.

The venue was hoping to promote the Purikua spirit, with the inclusion of t-shirt and other printed image services for the generated images. At this site the machines were a mixture of old and new versions – brand new to International shores. The site is an initial push by investors towards ascertaining the interest in this market towards future sites (encouraged by the international adoption of Hello Kitty stores in the West).

The UK trade had dabbled with the original sticker-machines from the 90’s with some success – however the expense of importing the latest Sticker-picture booth had been ignored by all manufacturers and distributors in the local market. The big question must be has the time come for London (and the rest the World) to get stuck on sticker booth?

[Discuss on the Forum]

Location Review: Bowlplex, Basingstoke

June 1, 2008

As you might imagine, Rambo wasn’t the only thing I played on my trip to Basingstoke’s Bowlplex last week. Having spent something like £20 on the return train ticket, there was no way I was ever going to do that. In fact, it wasn’t just the train journey – as I found out, the Bowlplex is located in a busy leisure district, and walking there from the train station was ever so slightly ambitious. Bang goes another £5 on a taxi. Being in a leisure district, the Bowlplex is surrounded by a variety of other things, including a swimming pool, an ice rink, a bingo hall, an Odeon cinema (which contained a Time Crisis 3 cabinet) and two food outlets, a McDonalds and a KFC (which is where myself and Overlord chose to eat).

Upon arriving in the Bowlplex, you’ll immediately see all the arcade machines contained within. At the time of visitng, this one contained Time Crisis 4, Mario Kart Arcade GP, an OutRun 2 cabinet which appeared to have been upgraded to OutRun 2 SP, Rambo (which was on test and will soon be gone), The Fast and the Furious Superbikes, House of the Dead 4, two Dancing Stage machines of forgotten version, and a Grand Prix pinball table from Stern (which was a pleasant surprise). Additionally, there was a pool table and an air hockey table. It’s a good variety of games, as you’ll see that the games cater for all ages and levels of interest in gaming. The machines were clean and seemed to be maintained well, which is always crucial. The one unexpected twist was the use of tokens rather than regular coins for payment, which is something that I’ve never seen in the UK. Each token is worth 50p (unused tokens are non-refundable) and every machine took two tokens per game, with the exception of Rambo which took two tokens to start and one to continue. There is only one token dispenser and this results in the occasional small queue. However, at one point the machine seemed to run out of tokens and though the problem was quickly rectified, this does call the use of tokens into question – the credits follow standard pricing and using regular currency would have required no extra outlay as the token machine already gives change.

In terms of other activities available on site, the name of the site makes it obvious that 10-pin bowling is the primary activity taking place in the building, and there’s a large number of lanes available. The site also offers a bar and grill, and while we didn’t sample the food due to the KFC consumption earlier, the bar was nice (if somewhat expensive – £1.50 for a large coke). The seating area for the bar has a large projector system for showing sporting events, and the League One playoff between Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United was on at the time we visited. The diverse range of activities on offer attracts a wide selection of people, ranging from families on the arcade machines to men who were there for the football, and the atmosphere was pleasant at all times.

The Bowlplex in Basingstoke is open seven days a week and has long opening hours. It’s a great place to visit when you’re on a family day out, and the leisure park location makes it very easy to slot in some time after seeing a film or going swimming. However, with the location being relatively out of the way, it may not be somewhere that you’ll visit regularly.

[Basingstoke Bowlplex] [Discuss on the Forum]

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.

A 2nd look at GTI Expo 2008 (w/ a few new games to look at)

May 21, 2008

A few posts below we ran a post on the little-known GTI Expo 2008 that took place a short time ago in Taiwan. It looks like it was a fun show but in addition to what we saw in the previous post, it looks like there were some extra goodies at the show including two new deluxe cabinets by GlobalVR for Aliens and Paradise Lost that I have never seen before. (as always, for the full sized image just click on it)

For the new deluxe Aliens cabinet it almost looks like they just added a new shell to their current deluxe model but I have not seen this configuration for Paradise Lost before (not that it would help that game out much). It could be that these models are only for Asia but we’ll keep an eye out for any of these making it elsewhere.

There are a couple of more Power Boat shots here too, including the ones we have already seen but also a slightly different blue cabinet that has some fencing around it. I’m not sure what the difference between the white and blue cabinets is but I noticed that the blue ones have fencing around them and the white ones don’t, so maybe they have different motion abilities? In taking a closer look at it, the white ones may only have the seat move where the blue ones have the seat and monitor move with it. Time will tell I guess, I wonder which one eases the motion sickness feeling.

There are a couple of drumming games here, one may be a new Percussion Master but my Chinese sucks (OK, it’s non-existent) so I’m not sure about that. One of the two has you pounding those larger drums that they always play in movies when the scene is supposed to be getting your heart racing. That would be a blast to play next to someone who is playing really hard on a different game nearby but I digress.

And to top it of with the “I’m not sure what the frak it is” category, these two games. One is obviously based on those old wooden marble balancing maze you may or may not have played as a kid (I did a couple of times so am I aging myself here?) but I have no clue what it’s called – it has a huge bowling ball sized trackball though and I’d be happy to see it come overseas. And the other one is something called ESP Agent, which looks like it might be a light-gun-esque game but I have no clue (or no frakkin’ idea – sorry I just watched a few BSG episodes the other day) what those things hanging off to the side of the cabinet are. The cords are flimsy like Wiimore Nunchuck cords but those black objects almost look like purses. Is it a game where you use ESP to discover what’s in someone’s purse? Why is it that the JErry character in the background can do an absurdly flexible high kick? I’ve seen stranger games before but I’ll stop making up stuff that it may be until I found out more. There also is a game pictured on the page called Jungle Adventure that has the same setup as one of those games where you throw balls at the screen and for some reason they have flower displays that belong at a wedding reception. It’s either a new direction in marketing coin-op games to wedding receptions or someone forgot to order the right display and they went with it anyways.

<- Make sure you cover up the game with the wedding flowers!

[Full collection @ Nippo-Tusho via AM-Net] [Discuss on the Forum]


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