Back from AMOA '08 – some thoughts, impressions and a fire (and my little part in all this) UPDATED
I’m back from AMOA 2008 and it was fun. I got to see many new games that are coming to the States, talk with great people and come away with video and impressions of what’s coming our way. I also got to see more of Las Vegas than last time, it’s only the third time I’ve been there and it was nice to see many things that I’ve heard people talk about like the Bellagio fountain show and more. I also dropped by Sega’s Gameworks and color me green with envy – just one of their Afterburner Climax Super Deluxe games is worth about everything I have in my arcade and they have two of them. 😉 They have a lot of great games there, including OutRun 2 SPX, HOTD4 Special (yes the one with 100″ screens), Jurassic Park Special (I never knew that this existed), Too Spicy, Lethal Enforcers 3 and lots more. I also was able to pick up a Tsunami TSUMO cab that’s in OK condition, that should arrive at my arcade next week and hopefully it will give me a boost in people coming in. I also might switch my Marvel VS. Capcom from 1 to 2 and upgrade my Drift games to use a keypad AND upgrade my Safari to online. More on that later.
So let’s get to it! First let me say that arcades are not dead. I say that all the time but I think that video developers came along with a strong showing to further prove that we’re making progress with arcades once again. Secondly, let me explain the part about the fire. Yes there was a fire at the GlobalVR and Trio-Tech booths yesterday. Fortunately no one was hurt and the damage was minimal. My little part – I was playing Need For Speed Carbon along with some other fellows at that moment and I think that everyone playing all the games at the GVR booth AND the Trio-Tech booth at the same time tripped something that started the fire. I’m not entirely sure of how it was hooked up and what happened exactly but the moment our games powered off the fire started. As you can see in the image to the right, it attracted the attention of quite a few people.
Beyond that though here’s a run-down of what I saw and don’t worry, I’ll get to posting videos of them all along with more specifics from each company as time permits. The first booth I came across was Raw Thrills’ and they had Nicktoons Nitro, Big Buck Hunter Pro Online, Big Buck Safari Online, Tokyo Drift and Super Bikes. Next to them was Sega with a much larger booth than they had at ASI and there they had Rambo (in deluxe and standard), Primeval Hunt, a new game called Sega Clay Challenge that uses the Atomiswave board (and we thought that the Atomiswave was dead), Sega Rally 3 in both configurations, a new version of Shoot This! Win This! and the Mini-Rider 2. Stern Pinball was behind them and while that rumor I mentioned a couple of posts ago about a Transformers pinball wasn’t true, they did have something there that surprised me quite a bit – a Spiderman Redemption game. I don’t know if Stern has ever done redemption before (you can hook ticket dispensers up to pinball games though) so this was unexpected. They also had Family Guy, Shrek, Batman and Indiana Jones there.
Moving further into the hall you next come to GlobalVR’s booth where they had four Need For Speed Carbon games linked (two deluxe, two standard, no conversions), four NASCAR deluxe games linked (with the new upgrade), a Blazing Angels, a GlobalVR Classics cab and Paradise Lost inside of a new cabinet design that was previously used with Aliens. TrioTech was next to them but I didn’t see anything new there. South of TrioTech was Andamiro and they had a strong showing with their Pump It Up Pro titles but the biggest surprise of all was they had two Arcana Heart 2 cabinets there! I had no idea that this was coming to the States but it is and soon, I’ll have more details shortly.
Incredible Technologies had a large booth with all of their current IPs on display, including Golden Tee 2009, the new Power Putt, Silver Strike Bowling, and Toss Pro: Bags. All of the games are using their new small footprint cabinet design, which does not include a monitor in the package which reduces the price for the cabinet but you’ll need to come up with an HDTV to mount on the wall or somewhere else. Namco was further south but had a small booth with only two videos, the PacMan/Galaga bartop and Rockin’ Bowl-A-Rama. I didn’t get a chance to talk with them and find out about MT3 DX or if they plan on bringing Nirin over.
And of course I was among the first people to check out Friction by Friction Game Studios. Many thanks to Juan and Jim for showing that to me and being courteous (and patient with all my questions). Having seen the game in person now I’m colored impressed. I certainly looks better live than in screencaps or the compressed video below. The power-up system hadn’t been implemented in the build I saw (which is why you see them seemingly gain power-up weapons at random) but the sound and physics are all there and they showed me a few interesting things with that (including how to make enemies fly towards the screen, which can be fun). There are a lot of things to break as well as to cause to explode and the levels were nice and long. There is also a bit of randomization as to how and what enemies will appear on your screen, determined by who you shoot first which can change the game everytime you play. Hopefully they were able to get what they needed at the show to bring this game to arcades soon so stay tuned for more. It was also flattering to hear that word about Friction was already making the rounds at the show as some people had read about it from the site, so I’m glad to hear how often people in the industry check out the site.
Unfortunately one game I did miss was Get Outta My Face! which was supposed to be at the show but I forgot to contact the author on where I could find him so I didn’t get to see it. If he was there then he wasn’t in a booth but I hope that he was able to show the game to the distributors.
UPDATED: I found out the unfortunate news that someone apparently died of a heart attack at the show on Friday. I don’t know who it was but it’s definently sad news to come over the show.
If you link to this particular post from elsewhere, just head to the main page for the several other AMOA posts that include more details and videos of most of the games I have mentioned above.