Archive for the ‘Sega’ category

Sega reveals specs on it's new arcade hardware, RingEdge and RingWide

February 20, 2009

ringedge

(image via AM-Net)

The hardware which caused some to erroneously think that Sega was jumping back into the console business has been revealed and we now see that there are actually two configurations, thus the use of the two different names. Not surprisingly, the hardware is PC-based, just like Lindbergh and Europa-R. But how does it stack up? Check it out:

Ringedge:

Intel Pentium E2160 CPU @ 1.8 GHz

1GB of DDR2 PC2-6400 RAM

An “nVidia GPU” w/ 384MB of GDDR3 RAM and supports Shader Model 4.0 and “two 1920×1200″ which probably means it has ports for two monitors and can support up to that resolution. Also as of a note, it says “nVidia GPU 2″ on the document up higher – not sure if that means

5.1 ch HD Audio

Onboard Gigabit LAN

A 32GB SSD drive for storage (finally, flash storage instead of a standard HDD which will likely fail soon)

Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 2009

ALL.Net

Ringwide:

An Intel Celeron 440 @ 2 GHz

1GB of DDR2 PC5300 RAM

“AMD GPU” with 128MB of GDDR3 RAM, supports Shader Model 4.0 and also has two ports to handle 1920×1200 resolution video

5.1 ch HD Audio

Onboard gigabit LAN

An 8GB Compact Flash for storage

Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 2009

ALL.Net

So there you have it! Ringwide is obviously not as powerful as Ringedge and thus should cost less – which is the point. Ringedge will be for games that Sega wants to push the envelope, Ringwide for games that won’t be as graphically pleasing but at the very least a little more inexpensive for arcade operators.  It also has been revealed that Border Break is among the first games to use Ring Edge, stay tuned for details on that in a moment.

Once again, I cannot stress enough that  Ringedge and Ringwide are NOT new game consoles. There seems to be a small effort online to convince people that RingWide is for arcades and RingEdge is some mythical new system but that is simply not the case. You can see a list of arcade titles which use both hardware configurations below. The specs, the pictures and the official word from Sega makes it very obvious that this is arcade hardware, as the design of the case looks somewhat similar to their arcade hardware called Lindbergh. The launch of the Lindbergh was similar to RingEdge/RingWide but to this day, Sega has not developed that into a console. The existence of patents for controllers is not an indication that they will turn this into a game console as they can use new control methods in the arcade – case in point, Border Break the first RingEdge game, uses a unique joystick/mouse control method that is seldom seen in arcades.

Sega has also pointed out their plans for RingEdge/RingWide in plans for arcades through 2010 and beyond. Talk of connectivity through ALL.NET is solely for arcades, which still lack many online titles. With Sega’s upcoming Sega Card Gen MLB game, it features online connectivity, the first game to do so by Sega in quite a while in US arcades. Hardware for Sega Card Gen hasn’t been confirmed yet but it fits into the RingEdge/RingWide plan and this is very exclusive to arcades.

I know that won’t stop fans from hoping for a new Sega console but at the moment, and I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade but there is an uptick of misinformation being put out there on the internet (which isn’t unusual in and of itself) regarding this hardware. I have talked directly with several reps at Sega about the rumors and they have stated very directly that these are simply arcade boards. I know that there are bloggers out there claiming to talk to Sega reps who supposedly “confirm” that Ringedge will be a console but if that is the case then it’s the first time a game company has decided to reveal a multi-billion dollar investment of their business to anonymous people who run random Sega fan blogs. I highly doubt that such would be their strategy in a business that is as competitive and risky as the console hardware realm, which is being dominated by the Nintendo Wii.

There are several games already available in arcades using the hardware spoken of here, as you can see below.

Current games using the hardware in arcades, some of which are already available in different areas of the world:

RingEdge

Border Break; Shining Force Cross; Project Diva Arcade; Let’s Go Island

Ringwide

Sega Racing Classic; Tetris: The Grandmaster 4; Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code; possibly Tetris Giant.

[Ringedge document via AM-Net] [Discuss on the Forum]

Sega reveals specs on it’s new arcade hardware, RingEdge and RingWide

February 20, 2009

ringedge

(image via AM-Net)

The hardware which caused some to erroneously think that Sega was jumping back into the console business has been revealed and we now see that there are actually two configurations, thus the use of the two different names. Not surprisingly, the hardware is PC-based, just like Lindbergh and Europa-R. But how does it stack up? Check it out:

Ringedge:

Intel Pentium E2160 CPU @ 1.8 GHz

1GB of DDR2 PC2-6400 RAM

An “nVidia GPU” w/ 384MB of GDDR3 RAM and supports Shader Model 4.0 and “two 1920×1200″ which probably means it has ports for two monitors and can support up to that resolution. Also as of a note, it says “nVidia GPU 2″ on the document up higher – not sure if that means

5.1 ch HD Audio

Onboard Gigabit LAN

A 32GB SSD drive for storage (finally, flash storage instead of a standard HDD which will likely fail soon)

Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 2009

ALL.Net

Ringwide:

An Intel Celeron 440 @ 2 GHz

1GB of DDR2 PC5300 RAM

“AMD GPU” with 128MB of GDDR3 RAM, supports Shader Model 4.0 and also has two ports to handle 1920×1200 resolution video

5.1 ch HD Audio

Onboard gigabit LAN

An 8GB Compact Flash for storage

Microsoft Windows Embedded Standard 2009

ALL.Net

So there you have it! Ringwide is obviously not as powerful as Ringedge and thus should cost less – which is the point. Ringedge will be for games that Sega wants to push the envelope, Ringwide for games that won’t be as graphically pleasing but at the very least a little more inexpensive for arcade operators.  It also has been revealed that Border Break is among the first games to use Ring Edge, stay tuned for details on that in a moment.

Once again, I cannot stress enough that  Ringedge and Ringwide are NOT new game consoles. There seems to be a small effort online to convince people that RingWide is for arcades and RingEdge is some mythical new system but that is simply not the case. You can see a list of arcade titles which use both hardware configurations below. The specs, the pictures and the official word from Sega makes it very obvious that this is arcade hardware, as the design of the case looks somewhat similar to their arcade hardware called Lindbergh. The launch of the Lindbergh was similar to RingEdge/RingWide but to this day, Sega has not developed that into a console. The existence of patents for controllers is not an indication that they will turn this into a game console as they can use new control methods in the arcade – case in point, Border Break the first RingEdge game, uses a unique joystick/mouse control method that is seldom seen in arcades.

Sega has also pointed out their plans for RingEdge/RingWide in plans for arcades through 2010 and beyond. Talk of connectivity through ALL.NET is solely for arcades, which still lack many online titles. With Sega’s upcoming Sega Card Gen MLB game, it features online connectivity, the first game to do so by Sega in quite a while in US arcades. Hardware for Sega Card Gen hasn’t been confirmed yet but it fits into the RingEdge/RingWide plan and this is very exclusive to arcades.

I know that won’t stop fans from hoping for a new Sega console but at the moment, and I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade but there is an uptick of misinformation being put out there on the internet (which isn’t unusual in and of itself) regarding this hardware. I have talked directly with several reps at Sega about the rumors and they have stated very directly that these are simply arcade boards. I know that there are bloggers out there claiming to talk to Sega reps who supposedly “confirm” that Ringedge will be a console but if that is the case then it’s the first time a game company has decided to reveal a multi-billion dollar investment of their business to anonymous people who run random Sega fan blogs. I highly doubt that such would be their strategy in a business that is as competitive and risky as the console hardware realm, which is being dominated by the Nintendo Wii.

There are several games already available in arcades using the hardware spoken of here, as you can see below.

Current games using the hardware in arcades, some of which are already available in different areas of the world:

RingEdge

Border Break; Shining Force Cross; Project Diva Arcade; Let’s Go Island

Ringwide

Sega Racing Classic; Tetris: The Grandmaster 4; Melty Blood Actress Again Current Code; possibly Tetris Giant.

[Ringedge document via AM-Net] [Discuss on the Forum]

Storm-G, Sega's latest amusement attraction game ride

February 17, 2009

storm-g

stinger11

If there is one thing Sega loves, it’s making arcade titles that are also amusement rides in and of themselves. They are continuing this trend with their latest offering called Storm-G, a bobsleding game “of the future” where you can reach high speeds and the seat can spin around in 360° on one axis. The unit uses two joysticks and can apparently can seat two people in one unit, which are labelled as “SG-360″, probably a homage of sorts to the old R360. The in-game graphics look excellent and while there is no indication of it, I wonder if this will be one of the first games to use the new Ringwide or Ringedge hardware (whichever it is supposed to be called).

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

8 of these will be installed at Sega’s Joypolis in Tokyo, and I imagine it will be made available to other amusement parks down the line.

[Via Gpara] [Discuss on the Forums]

Storm-G, Sega’s latest amusement attraction game ride

February 17, 2009

storm-g

stinger11

If there is one thing Sega loves, it’s making arcade titles that are also amusement rides in and of themselves. They are continuing this trend with their latest offering called Storm-G, a bobsleding game “of the future” where you can reach high speeds and the seat can spin around in 360° on one axis. The unit uses two joysticks and can apparently can seat two people in one unit, which are labelled as “SG-360″, probably a homage of sorts to the old R360. The in-game graphics look excellent and while there is no indication of it, I wonder if this will be one of the first games to use the new Ringwide or Ringedge hardware (whichever it is supposed to be called).

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

8 of these will be installed at Sega’s Joypolis in Tokyo, and I imagine it will be made available to other amusement parks down the line.

[Via Gpara] [Discuss on the Forums]

Sega prepping new arcade hardware?

February 5, 2009

logo_sega.jpg

It certainly looks that way. The guys at Siliconera caught a set of patent trademarks for something called “Ringedge” and “Ringwide”, which are both listed as having something to so with arcade game boards. Interestingly enough the trademarks also mentions “prerecorded magnetic data carriers featuring arcade game programs” which could be a fancy way of saying a hard drive (although seriously ot those of you in the arcade hardware industry – why are we still using hard drives which will break down in a few years? I know that the new SSD drives are still expensive but flash memory isn’t that bad, I’m just saying!) or maybe it’s something else. Either way it looks like their powerful Europa hardware is not going to be getting much love and perhaps this Ringwide/edge will be what Sega is going to use to replace Lindbergh. We’ll have to wait and see.

Slight update: I’ve read online that some are thinking that this means that Sega will be getting back into the console business but it seems to me that such an idea is wishful thinking. This hardware rumor is pretty much the same thing we saw with Lindbergh and that did not lead Sega into creating new console hardware (because Lindbergh and their most recent arcade hardware Europa were modded PCs) and I have not seen or heard anything about this new hardware that indicates that it has something to do with consoles. It’s likely that the Dreamcast 2 will have to wait a bit longer.  

[Via Kotaku that was via Siliconera] [Discuss on the Forum]

Sega releases Harley Davidson and Hummer to the US

February 4, 2009

harleyhummerlogoThe supposedly “dead” arcade industry has two more game releases to add to the list of what’s new in the US as several distributor websites are now listing the games HUMMER and Harley Davidson: King of the Road as available for purchase. I even picked up the flyers for both games although I don’t have a scanner handy at the moment to upload those in case anyone wants to see them. Both games have been shown at recent events such as IAAPA and ATEI and with this availability it won’t be long before some locations should have them around to play. The only thing I cannot find when scanning through several distributor sites is a price for either game although with Harley Davidson having a standard and a deluxe model that should vary a bit between the two and I’m not going to guess at how much they will cost.

Naturally, we will be moving both of these games from the “Upcoming” column to “Already Released” on our Master Arcade Release List for 2009.

[Sega Amusements USA] [Discuss on the Forum]

ATEI 2009 – Full Report

January 30, 2009

ateiFollowing TwistedSupreme’s initial report yesterday, I got my chance to attend ATEI today. And, armed with a camera, a keen eye for games and a beard that makes small children cry, I decided to capture as much of the show as was practical in order to relay it to loyal readers such as yourself. Here follows a lengthy post with lots of pictures!

Sega

The first stand I took an in-depth look at was the Sega stand, with many thanks due to Patrick Michael for showing me around. The line-up showcased by Sega this year certainly leans on the conservative side of video games, following market demand. The showcase games were Harley Davidson, Hummer and R-Tuned, all of which are racing games catering to slightly different audiences. The other games shown were mainly of the lightgun genre.

harley-davidsonHarley Davidson is very much as you might expect – the legendary motorcycles race on a variety of circuits. It’s aimed at the more casual end of the market, though it attracted a wide audience at the show and was popular throughout the day. Collecting tokens to get your bike to maximum performance is the key to the game (a concept familiar to Mario Kart Arcade GP players). The game looks good and is running on the Lindbergh board, with the version show being a deluxe motion model. This meant some excellent “engine” vibrations and leaning action. At this time, it’s uncertain as to whether a standard model will be produced. Licensed music is in from bands such as Deep Purple and Steppenwolf, in order to really get your motor running (You’re fired – Ed.).

hummer1Hummer is based on the well known gas-guzzling vehicles, as you might have guessed. Wanton destruction plays a major role in the game – you smash objects to get boost power, meaning that the typical racing line might not always be the best route. Additionally, the pair game mechanic from OutRun 2 SP SDX has returned – for those unfamiliar with it, this is where two drivers alternate control of a single vehicle, switching when the current player either reaches a checkpoint or crashes. It’s another good-looking Lindbergh game, and uses a motion platform similar to the OutRun setup mentioned above.

r-tunedR-Tuned is a street racing game from AM2, going into direct competition with older games Need for Speed Underground and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. It’s another Lindbergh game (in my opinion, the best-looking of the three) and runs in the same cabinet as Sega RaceTV. In this game, players race heavily modified cars from real manufacturers around Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo (specifically, the Shibuya and Shinjuku districts). Taunts constantly come in from other drivers during the race, which is a neat atmospheric touch if you like that sort of thing. The game isn’t as hardcore as you might expect – boost is unlimited and drifting is done automatically, which gives the game a quirky handling model. However, this accessibility works for the game, allowing multiplayer games to get competitive quickly. The game has just started filtering into real locations – I saw a four cabinet linked set-up in the Trocadero after the show.

Other video games on display included:

- Sega Bass Fishing Challenge, which appears to be the old game reworked for trackball controls (and thus available as an upgrade kit for Golden Tee and Silver Strike Bowling).

- Sega Clay Challenge, a sports shooting game which seems pitched mainly in kit form, either as a full conversion or as an upgrade for the Atomiswave shooting games.

- Previous hits Sega Rally 3, Rambo, Primeval Hunt and Ghost Squad Evolution.

game-gate-uvMoving onto other things, the Game Gate VU (distributed for Quasimoto Interactive) was on display, as it seems that at last there is a legal pay-per-play solution for console games. The machines themselves were of a high build quality and all seemed to be working well, with specific problems such as dashboard access having been considered. Operators running these cabinets will pay a small licensing fee each month (if I remember correctly, this was $8) and are restricted to the use of licensed titles only. However, those games can be bought off the shelf by the operator as any consumer would. Despite my photo of a photo of a wall in Halo 3 being distinctly uninteresting, this could well be an exciting bit of kit.

brick-peopleBrick People was one of the most inventive games of the show. As we’ve seen before, the concept revolves around placing bricks to allow the little people to move about and grab items. Additionally, minigames between stages require you to build a certain shape within a time limit. The game dispenses tickets for each play. I learned that the technology utilised in the game is surprisingly simple – a rear projection display with brick recognition handled by an infra-red sensor. This caught a lot of interest, and is my pick of redemption games from the show.

missfitsMissfits is a brand new redemption title developed by Sega Amusements Europe. It’s a simple ticket vending game, with players attempting to match various parts of a person by stopping rotating reels at the right time. Additionally, there is a jackpot which can be achieved if all possible parts have come up in recent play. Missfits is a low-cost game and could be one of those redemption concepts which catches on.

Other redemption games and rides included:

- UFO Stomper (distributed for Triotech), which appears to be a neat piece of technology. It certainly looks a great deal more accurate than floor panels I’ve seen elsewhere!

- Spongebob Ticket Boom, a simple timing-based redemption game featuring one of my least favourite characters ever. I’m pretty sure I’m not in the demographic this game is aimed at, mind you…

- Shoot This Win This, a lovely prize-o-tron.

- UFO Catcher, the ever-popular skill based crane game. Prize items being promoted were the newly-licensed Hello Kitty plush toys, Sonic X plush toys, Paddington Bear plush toys and Sega Vision portable media devices.

- Mini Rider 2, a small motion ride, XD Theater (Triotech), a larger one with wind, lightning flashes and such, and Typhoon (Triotech), a sequel to the Mad Wave motion ride.

Konami

A highly impressive showing from the Japanese company, with a fairly diverse range of games that should capture the hearts of both casual and core gamers. As well as having the largest line-up of rhythm games at the show, the company had a strong racing game, a non-traditional “lightgun” game, and a unique redemption game. Thanks to James Anderson for taking some time to talk to us in what appeared to be a very busy day.

Guitar Hero

Guitar Hero Arcade took pride of place on the stand, and clearly showed massive earnings potential – I had some real trouble getting to play the game, and then more in getting pictures. Unfortunately, in what I could only assume to be a calibration error of some sort, the game seemed to be about half a second off the timing shown on screen. Once I had adjusted my play to compensate, the game was the Guitar Hero that players worldwide know and love. The song list featured most of the songs that players of the console series have come to expect, though it should be noted that certain songs weren’t included (a friend of mine at the show noted that they seemed to be harder songs, by bands such as Slayer and Dragonforce). However, as Shaggy has mentioned on the forums, exclusive songs and free downloadable content are on the horizon, so we will have to wait to realise the game’s potential – it could go on for years. For those wondering about the arcade game’s guitar, click here to see it.

UBeat

UBeat was on show, and is still the eye-catching and highly enjoyable game that it was while on test at the Trocadero. The distinctive cabinet design was certainly alluring, and it seemed to interest a number of visitors. For those who haven’t yet gotten a chance to play or read about the game, it’s a rhythm game, controlled by 16 buttons with individual screens. With such a relatively large play area, following the beat around the playfield becomes as much of a challenge as timing. The licensed songs are weighted towards the mainstream end of the market, with Scatman, Take On Me and YMCA likely to become the soundtrack to any arcade with this machine.

Dance Dance Revolution X

Dance Dance Revolution X is the final game in Konami’s rhythm line-up and celebrates ten years since the release of the original DDR (Dancing Stage here in Europe). The game seemed to attract a number of players over the course of the day, due in no small part to an impressive new cabinet. An impressive song list makes the game still more attractive. However, during the course of the day I had a chance to meet up with some cool guys from DDR:UK, who were left unconvinced, complaining of screen lag amongst other issues. As someone who hasn’t been able to regularly play a dancing game since Dancing Stage Euromix, I’ll defer to the judgement of hardcore players who know their game inside out.

gti-clubGTI Club was housed in the most unusual and striking cabinet of the entire exhibition – between this and UBeat, it looks Konami has a real talent for this right now. The original GTI Club was a very enjoyable game in the mid-90s, and this new version carries on the tradition of zippy little cars battling for supremacy. The racing component of the game takes place on the city streets of the UK, France, Italy and the USA, and has a distinct quirk. The higher your difficulty level, the more freedom you have to choose a route, which is essential to avoiding traffic jams and other hazards. The game also has some additional play modes such as “bomb tag” and “car football”, giving the game some variety and increasing casual appeal.

castlevaniaCastlevania was the aforementioned “lightgun” game on show, and being hidden on the reverse side of the booth with its screen covered didn’t seem to do the game any favours with visitors. This is a real shame, as the game is actually quite cool. In a complete departure from the console games, you choose one of two characters and head off on your first-person way. Each character has a standard projectile weapon, but the catch is that it has limited ammunition and thus you would be advised to conserve it in favour of your main weapon, the whip. However, this only hits at close range and swinging the controller is slower than pressing a button, so you’ll constantly be weighing up your ammunition, the enemy’s distance and the urgency of the situation. Give this one a look, it’s a pleasant surprise.

byon-byon1Byon Byon is Konami’s redemption entry for the show, and takes a curious idea to a mad conclusion. You know in old cartoons, where a character would open something only to be knocked out by a boxing glove on a spring? It’s that sort of thing. You take control of an odd pointer with two handles, which you pull in to trigger the on-screen glove. The games themselves are a collection of minigames in the style of the old lightgun favourite Point Blank, with things such as picking the odd one out from a line-up of animals. At the end of the game, tickets are dispensed.

Namco

This brightly lit stand was an interesting mash-up of styles. As Namco Brent, the company has a diverse portfolio of games, taking in Namco’s own Japanese games, the American-developed wares of Raw Thrills and many redemption titles developed in (or adapted for) Europe. Namco’s product manager John Brennan was particularly keen to emphasise the latter and felt that at least some people were failing to given them the attention they deserved, favouring video games.

h2overdriveH2Overdrive (Raw Thrills) has clearly been getting you guys excited, with many thousands of hits for our recent coverage of the game. I am pleased to report that having spent some time getting to grips with the game, it is a real winner. Everything that made Hydro Thunder great is back – the varied and inventive courses, the ability to smash other boats out of the water, and the simple throttle control. No matter if you’re playing in single player or multiplayer mode, you’ll gain an upgrade on the boat you used after each race. Players are able to store their progress with the PIN keypad, as in previous Raw Thrills games. H2Overdrive looks astounding, running at a solid 60fps on a nice HD monitor. As I’m a sucker for good water effects anyway, I was very impressed. I’d recommend that everyone try this game out should they get the chance.

nirinNirin (Namco) is a fast-paced motorbike racer, set in a Japanese environment (thus contrasting it with Sega’s US-centric Harley Davidson). The game was in an unifinished cabinet, with a sign assuring showgoers that the final version would have 42″ monitors. The game itself has a simple but effective mechanic. Your boost gauge is built up by leaning the bike in turns, and automatically utilised when you return to an upright position. However,  hitting walls or cars will drop the gauge, so adjusting the throttle to get through is the order of the day. The game is running on Namco’s System ESI board and looks good, though the bike doesn’t have the force feedback of Sega’s Harley Davidson model.

big-buck-safariBig Buck Safari was there in Super Deluxe form, with an absolutely massive display. Other than that, it seems to be very much the same as the regular game, but I gather that the regular game has been doing quite well anyway. According to Namco’s product catalogue, tournament play is “coming soon” to the UK – can anyone shed some light on this?

razing-stormRazing Storm was also at the show, though I didn’t actually have a chance to play it. This is sad, as it looks quite good and attracted a lot of attention.

Elsewhere on the Namco stand:

- The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which is still popular for whatever reason.

- Nicktoons Nitro, tucked into a little corner with other kid-focused products.

- Pump It Up Jump, in that same corner – a kiddified version of the popular dancing series.

- Pac-Man, in countertop form with an LCD display. It also included Galaxian and Ms. Pac-Man.

- A variety of redemption games, including the European-developed Knock Out Punch, the football-themed Hat Trick (adapted from a baseball-themed game, of all things), Deal or No Deal and others.

- The popular crane game Clena-Flex, which is in direct competition with Sega’s UFO Catcher line due to being a skill-based game. Right now, the Clena-Flex machines in the marketplace have been used in some pretty innovative ways – the idea isn’t always to use the crane to pick up the prize, but to push or apply leverage.

- A Doctor Who photo booth, based on the immensely popular and long-lived British sci-fi series. You can frame your photos with Daleks, Cybermen and the like.

Global VR

justice-leagueGlobal VR’s stand was largely focused around showing off the company’s existing product line, with NASCAR, Need for Speed Carbon, Paradise Lost and Aliens: Extermination all floating about. However, there was one new game up for play, which was Justice League: Heroes United. The game is attractive to operators thanks to a low cost, recognisable characters and decent technology – the LCD monitor was undoubtedly very nice. However, players have been critical of the graphics shown in screenshots. I’ll agree with TwistedSupreme in that the graphics have come under some undue fire – the game runs at 60 frames per second in HD, and the character models don’t look bad. However, the environments really don’t look great, and the enemies lack variety. The game is similarly not so bad, but there are noticeable problems – the lack of enemy variety (again), very few combo possibilities and some pretty ineffective specials. The game is okay, but it could have been a lot better.

Elsewhere at the show

street-fighter-ivHighway Games was showing two of the most popular games of last year, in the absence of official representation. Street Fighter IV and Tekken 6 were given their own low-key showings at this booth, and attracted a hell of a lot of attention. One run by the stand saw a number of non-trade visitors being turned away from the Street Fighter machine. Talking to one company representative, I discovered that both games are very popular and they’re doing a roaring trade due to the lack of official distribution. As the only fighters at the show (save for a BlazBlue I apparently missed), they represented a good boost for Highway Games. Despite my longing, I’m still going to have to wait to play either of these games.

dj-max-technikaAs well as a number of purikura photo booths and other such things, Daeseung Intercom were showing off DJ Max Technika (Pentavision). This touchscreen rhythm game is quite impressive! I’d not had a chance to read up on the game, so I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of play and high quality of songs and patterns. I was mainly confused by the line switching between the top and bottom of the screen. The unforgiving nature of the previous DJ Max games is most definitely there, too. It was also by this game that I had a chance encounter with a friend from another website, so a big shout to him!

piu-nx-absoluteThis friend was heavily interested in Pump It Up NX Absolute (Andamiro). Watching him and some other high level players from across the UK, I was amazed at the level of skill on show. The game itself is as high quality as players have come to expect, but Andamiro have take the concept one step further with some insane additions to the game. The “brain trial” mode has players solving sums, memorising number sequences and counting objects in the middle of songs, adding another level of difficulty to the game. It seems that in the opinion of the hardcore players, the Pump It Up series is forging the way ahead in dancing games and competitors have some work to do in catching up. The machine was tagged with a notice that said it had been sold to the Trocadero, so watch out for it!

pinballLastly, Electrocoin was showing the newest games from Stern Pinball, CSI and Batman. These appeared to attract a lot of interest too, as you can see from the problems I had getting a decent picture of them. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get a go on these either.

That’s going to be all for this show report, clocking in as it does at over 3100 words! Tomorrow, I’ll be back with some gossip and impressions from the show floor. Until then, enjoy!

Sega to reveal Border Break, a new arcade title featuring robot wars at AOU2009

January 30, 2009

robotasticnews

I read this earlier today on AM.Net that Sega has revealed a new arcade game that has something to do with robots but the details were so sparse that I didn’t want to post anything about it but Sega Nerds has a scan from some unidentified magazine discussing the game in Japanese. So there still isn’t much on this but the full name of the game is Border Break: Sega Network Robot Wars. Could it be a Virtual On type game or perhaps something else? As cool as these robot games are, it’s not often we see them outside of Japan anymore but we should know more once AOU rolls around next month.Sega will be showing off a few more games, including World Club Champion Football Intercontinental Clubs 2007-2008 which should be a good treat for football/soccer fans.

[Via Sega Nerds] [Discuss on the Forum]

ATEI 2009 Initial Round Up

January 27, 2009

atei

Now I know round ups are usually reserved for after the  shows, but I only have time to do a quick little in depth round up this evening. All my videos and photos plus further impressions will be coming at the weekend when I have the chance to put it all together. Also Heavy Electricity will be attending the show tomorrow so you should be getting some impressions from him as well.

In the short time that I had at the show I managed to play quite a lot of the games I wanted to. The layout of the show has changed some what since last year. All of the amusements has moved upstairs, leaving downstairs to be filled with fruit machines and a like.

Sega

So lets break it down by developers; Sega, now on a bigger stand than last year, had a lot to entertain me with. With regards to new games they had thier new special attraction; Hummer which makes much better use of the motion base than Outrun did. Mainly because of  all the crazy jumps and the off road nature of the game. Also on the driver front was R Tuned. Obviously we have had our fair share of street racers in the last few years but I really like this one. It’s a fast paced racer with unlimited boosts (I think) and the force feedback is insane but can be a bit brutal a times. The latest Harley game from Sega has taken a more extreme take on the biker genre. Using a boost mechanic that is built up by collecting coins(?) and overtaking other bikers. Track wise the game is typical Sega. My favourite being an airport where you have to dodge planes taking off and landing! Also I saw Brick People which we’ve seen at other shows.

Konami

Definitely a better showing this year from the kings of rhythm games. Thier were plenty of Guitar Hero Arcades to play. For anyone that’s played any of the console versions before there’s not much to report. But I can’t knock it! I play this game & Rock Band all the time at home but it won’t stop me slipping a few nuggets in to it when I see it at the arcades. Staying with rhythm based games, Konami also had Ubeat. For a game that is just essential tapping buttons to the beat of the music, it is pleasantly satisfying. You really have to be play to appreciate how cool it is. Castlevania was also present, which I had a chance to play a few months ago when I caught it on locatin test.  But by far my favourite game on thier stand was the new GTI Club. What won me over were the game modes available. There was the classic traffic dodging street races, car football (Top Gear fans will now how fun this is!) and a great pass the bomb mode. Which is absolute manic, crazy arcade perfection! I highly recommend it.

Namco

New games on show were Razing Storm which is the perfect next step in Namco’s great line of  pedal ducking shoot em ups (just made that genre up myself). The game looks fantastic and really makes good use of that PS3 based hardware. The game is non stop action. If your not taking out multiple grunts coming at you from all angles, you are taking out massive walking tanks. Be warned; this game is relentless! Nirin was on show also and although I’m not particularly good at bike games, I did enjoy this one, great cab, great graphics and flat out game play.

Global VR

Along with the the latest NFS, which has a fantastic cab, was the Justice League brawl em up. Loving the graphics but I found it all a little bit repetitive. I guess that’s how brawl em ups have always played and maybe I’ve played a few to many in my time but this didn’t really do anything for me.

Raw Thrills

The new games from the ever impressive US developer was the newly announced H2 Overdrive which was great fun and is a nice change from the usual racers out there. Bring on more aquatic racers I say. Also there was Guitar Hero Arcade which I’ve already mentioned. There was also a sweet BBH Safari special attraction. This was basically a purpose built room with projector displaying what had to be a about a 100 inch version of Raw Thrills’ popular shooter.

Capcom

Wasn’t expecting to see this at ATEI! But low and behold it was thier on Highway’s stand. Suffice to say there was a massive crowd around it and I got my arse kicked when it was finally my turn.  But it was great to finally play this highly regarded beat em up. Lets hope we see more of these sexy cabs over here!

Nanotech

The second newly announced title was Xtreme Rally from Nanotech. I liked the different approach this game took, with a free roaming style point to point racing, along with traditional style rally driving. I also got the impression this game had a few kinks to iron out before release. So I will look forward to any future improvements this game gets.

Blimey! There it is. Wasn’t expecting to get that much info out there. Hope you enjoyed it. Apologies if I missed anything, but it was some what of a flying visit but stayed tuned to Arcade Heroes for Heavy’s ATEI report, picture and videos from myself, as well as the opinions of the Stinger and any other ATEI news we can get our sweaty palms on :-)

[ATEI 2009 Discussion]

Sega releases R-Tuned: Ultimate Street Racing in the US

January 27, 2009

rtunedcabinet

Sega’s new drift racing game is now available for purchase in the US, according to several different distributor websites. I know that several readers here have been anticipating this one but in case you have missed out on info concerning Sega’s latest racer, you can click here for the post where we found out about this game back in June; here for a November update; and here for the appearance of the game at IAAPA. As a side note, Sega has changed the color of the cabinet from a mostly green color scheme to blue but we do not know if they have changed much on the game since there weren’t many reports on how this played before hand. The game does employ an IC card system, even here in the US so one can save their progress to a card. I wonder how many more games will be using Sega’s Lindbergh hardware and if they will start giving Europa some more love throughout the rest of this year.

From the looks of it, most distributors are charging about $7400 for the game but it always pays to shop around, even as an operator.

We have moved R-Tuned up to “Already Released” from “Upcoming” on our Master Release Game List for 2009.

[R-Tuned @ Segaarcade.com] [Discuss on the Forums]


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