Archive for March 2008

More details on arcade fighter Dark Presence (including new screenshots)

March 31, 2008

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(Click on the images to enlarge)

A little over a week ago we revealed some new information concerning a new 2D fighter that should come to arcades later this year known as Dark Presence. We promised that there would be more so here it is, a more detailed look at the games characters and move set, along with some never before seen screenshots.

I have said before that I am impressed with the level of detail that this game has received as I have learned about how much attention has been given to creating a very detailed and new way of approaching the 2D fighter. To start off each character has between 12,000-16,000 frames of animation for everything but finishing moves (with those it goes much higher). Where many 2D fighters are fairly static in their animation, Dark Presence is not. The high number of frames stems from some of the ideas that are in play for the game. For example, in most 2D games (if not all of them) when your character changes the direction that they are facing, the image is simply flipped which is good for saving memory due to the lower number of frames but it is not very realistic. Darkwilsonleftright.jpg Presence doesn’t use image flipping – both sides of each character were filmed separately and in fact the direction you face will determine the stance of the character as well as the moves that they use. This gives the game further depth as players will need to discover moves from each direction and judge on how effective they are in that situation.

To add further to this depth, the game goes beyond the basic and special moves and includes weapon entanglements, deflects, counter attacks and evasion moves. Speaking of weapons, they play an important role in the game – every character has a weapon and if they use a large weapon (say an ax) then the reaction of their opponent will be different than if that same person were hit with a sword. What the character is wearing will also affect how much damage they take (the less they have on, the more damage they incur) but Galloping Ghost has taken their time in balancing the characters out so that no one person is overpowering are unfair.

Reactions play a role in how the game plays – characters react realistically to where they were actually hit and depending on the reaction you can link moves together for more devastating attacks. This also brings us to the energy bars. For those that have seen the screenshots of Dark Presence, you may have noticed that there are four energy bars. The bars represent the state that the player is in and thus how they appear in the game. As an example if your energy hits the 3rd bar your character goes into a not well stance where they look a little beat up and hunched over; after that bar is up it gets more apparent that they are not well and on the last bar the character goes into a “Last Desperation” mode where if they choose to, they can throw their weapon (which can be picked up again) to inflict great damage on their opponent. In case you’re wondering as to how this will affect the length of the rounds, they are aiming at making this a one round match per fight although that might be adjustable in the options. I like the idea of one round where you have a good amount of energy. That way the fight doesn’t end too quickly and you’ll play smarter.

We’ll have more details coming along soon, including a video of the actual game in action (something that a lot of people have been waiting to see for a long time). Again, thanks to Galloping Ghost for the pics and information – it’s not often that we can talk about an upcoming arcade title with this level of detail as most arcade developers are quite protective about their new games.

[Galloping Ghost Productions] [Discuss on the Forum]

Videos from ASI 2008

March 29, 2008

In addition to a few pictures I also managed to get some video footage from the ASI 2008 show floor. As mentioned in previous posts I have had some problems with my digital camera corrupting many files so unfortunately some videos aren’t loading into my computer and I can’t get them to work but I am looking into a workaround at salvaging a few.

Indiana Jones Pinball @ Stern’s booth - this is a lot of fun and it was quite popular.

GlobalVR’s Booth. 10 NASCAR games linked = good fun

Sega’s Booth. I forgot to mention in the video that with Primeval Hunt it is very easy to see the influence that the Wii has had on this game – the guns use some sort of motion sensing control (which I believe works most when the touch screen is deactivated) and it also has a small speaker in the butt of the gun. It’s cool but whatever they did made the gun weigh more than it should and by the time you’re finished with the game your arms are tired.

Click on the post break below for videos of Sea Wolf and UFO Stomper (I had them on the main page but too many videos seem to be causing loading problems for the site).

(more…)

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]

The Stinger Report looks at ASI 2008 (part 1)

March 29, 2008

ASI ends today and with it of course we have updates from what has happened at the show. First, here is a look at the show from The Stinger Report’s point of view, then I’ll go on in the next post or two describing my experience.

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ASI opened to a greatly reduced show floor and major departures from leading corporations as Namco and Sega see executives move on.

Sega had a vastly reduced presence with only two videos to show: RaceTV’s latest build with password, and Primeval Hunt. The latest software release for both – and that was it! Their booth was hard to find off the show floor with no large banners up for display to help attendees locate them.

Namco also had a limited video showing, with no new releases – redemption reigning kingasimain2.jpg on their booth. The operation spoke off the record with The Stinger
Report about the Tekken 6 situation (not shown) and promised an official statement at the end of the show.

Global VR was a example of good video presence, with a large network
line-up of NASCAR, and the new Blazing Angels WWII flyer all getting major coverage in the video desert of the show.

Betson / Raw Thrills another major video winner – crowds flocking to blast the wild animals of Africa on Big Buck Safari – along with the launch of the kit from DRIFT, Raw Thrills rocked the show. Betson did confirm that they were still supporting Konami with one Dance Dance SuperNova2 machine on booth hidden away to one corner.

Andamiro had their latest Pump It Up Pro, and a new screen basher game (more to come on that later).

Finally in this brief run down of the video on the show floor TrioTech had their UFO Stomper, showing off the latest of the mini-games and drawing happy crowds to the physical stomper action.

Big anticipation to the public four hour session on Saturday, rumors thick on what can be expected.

[Discuss on the Forum]

Konami's new BeMani Slot – the videos

March 28, 2008

A short time ago The Stinger Report brought to our attention the new pachislot game based upon Konami’s Beatmania series and now we have videos of the game in action. Thanks to Arcade Renaissance for pointing these out.

[Youtube= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aOpBfls_i8%5D

[Discuss on the Forum]

Konami’s new BeMani Slot – the videos

March 28, 2008

A short time ago The Stinger Report brought to our attention the new pachislot game based upon Konami’s Beatmania series and now we have videos of the game in action. Thanks to Arcade Renaissance for pointing these out.

[Youtube= http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aOpBfls_i8%5D

[Discuss on the Forum]

What have we been playing…..

March 27, 2008

I hate it when I don’t have much time for gaming, but you can be damn sure I’ll be making time for GTA IV when it comes out! At least Shaggy’s making up for my lack of game playing.

Shaggy

 -Blazing Angels (Arcade)
-Paradise Lost (Arcade)
-Tetris (Arcade)
-Grand Prix (Atari 2600)
-Checkered Flag (Atari Lynx)
-Robo-Squash (Atari Lynx)
-Pac-Man (Atari 800XL)
-Berzerk (Atari 800XL)
-Pole Position (Atari 800XL)
-Donkey Kong (Atari 800XL)
-Earth Defense Force 2017 (Xbox 360)
-Asteroids Deluxe (XBLA)
-Carcassonne (XBLA)

Heavy Electricity

-Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution (PS2)

Twisted

-Burnout Paradise (360)

[Discuss on the Forum]

I'm headed to ASI afterall

March 26, 2008

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Well it wasn’t looking like I was going to make it to ASI this year but as luck would have it, things have worked out in the end (pretty much at the last minute) where I’ve been able to make the ends meet for it to work. I won’t be able to go down for the entire show – I’ll miss whatever happens tomorrow but I will be there for the show on Friday and Saturday. I’ll get as many pictures and video as my camera will fit an I’ll see about an interview or two as well.

[Discuss on the forum]

I’m headed to ASI afterall

March 26, 2008

asi08.png

Well it wasn’t looking like I was going to make it to ASI this year but as luck would have it, things have worked out in the end (pretty much at the last minute) where I’ve been able to make the ends meet for it to work. I won’t be able to go down for the entire show – I’ll miss whatever happens tomorrow but I will be there for the show on Friday and Saturday. I’ll get as many pictures and video as my camera will fit an I’ll see about an interview or two as well.

[Discuss on the forum]


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