Archive for November 2009

Arcade Heroes Podcast #10 – IAAPA!

November 28, 2009

I’m not sure whether to count this as an “official” podcast or not as it’s technically unfinished but it is what it is and it’s the first time Kevin Williams and I had a chance to sit down together and do this without Skype. While we should’ve came better prepared, Kevin saved the day with his nice Palm PC device that allowed us to record something but we were interrupted about 15min. in by some guy in the press room who thought we were just sitting around talking and had to restart later which is why this is broke into two parts.

Still, there are about 40 minutes of talk here where we go over what we had seen up to that point at IAAPA and go over what we were thinking/feeling about the numerous games at the show. These are in .WAV format and aren’t very large – LMK if anyone needs MP3 instead.

Podcast #10 part 1

Podcast #10 part 2

UPDATE: Fixed the second link

Konami release Mocap Sports in Japan

November 28, 2009

(thanks to Aaron Auzins for the tip)

Konami’s return to the Mocap arena is finally here, with the release of Mocap Sports in Japan. We’ve discussed this particular game a number of times already and we all know how it’s supposed to be Konami’s answer to Wii Sports for arcades. How far we will see Konami push this game into other territories remains to be seen but I would surprised if it didn’t test well in territories where most people who bought a Wii bought it for Wii Sports and little else.

In the mean time Konami has released a video of how to use the controllers in each game, giving us a better idea of how it’s supposed to work. The graphics don’t look like anything special from the video although they are a step up from WS.  I still would like to try it out myself and see if there’s more to it than waggling the controller and it’s interesting to see that they include wristbands on these, just like the Wiimote. You can watch the promo video here.

[Official Mocap Sports website] [Discuss on the Forums]

Classic Cocktail gaming Arcade Tables

November 28, 2009

As a fan of classic arcade gaming one of those ideas from “back-in-the-day” that I like is the cocktail cabinet. While the idea has not been completely lose for arcades in modern times (as we saw at IAAPA with some new large screen cocktail cabinets) you really don’t see old school cocktail cabs at arcades these days. I have a Warlords cocktail at mine but the board has been dead for months so it’s not out for everyone to enjoy (and of course everytime I check eBay someone wants $200 for a Warlords pcb :( )

If you want to enjoy a cocktail cabinet for yourself and you don’t have the time/motivation/whatever to build one yourself then Arcade Tables could be a solution for you. We were contacted by one company who has been producing multi-game cocktail cabinets since 2001. Based out of Australia, Arcade Tables offer 60 classic games in a classic style cabinet that even can come with a coin mech. Admittedly I don’t follow how much multi-game cabinets go for these days so I don’t know how in-line these are price wise but they look pretty solid and you can check them out for yourself by clicking here.

[Discuss on the Forums]

STRIDE begins Save The Arcades 2

November 27, 2009

STRIDE gum is at it again and their Save The Arcades campaign has just entered it’s second phase. This time they are giving players out there a chance to nominate the arcade of their choice to be saved, as along as it follows four certain guidelines, which are:

Participants should submit their nomination in 500 characters or less (including spaces and punctuation) and write about an arcade that meets the following qualifications: Arcade should (1) have classic games, (2) be a business that operates in the 50 United States and District of Columbia, (3) have at least 15 arcade games on site, (4) be locally owned and operated and (5) have an affinity for classic games.

The period for nomination runs from now (well, it started on the 17th but I was in Vegas and didn’t hear about it) until January 7th, 2010. You have to sign up on the Stride gum website but it’s free and if you participated in the previous Save The Arcades promotion you should already have that account.  So go and nominate your favorite arcade and help them out!

[Save The Arcades 2] [Discuss on the Forum]

Could Ridge Racer see a return to arcades?

November 27, 2009

Ridge Racer V

Last time I heard anything about Ridge Racer, people were still poking fun at that Sony exec for saying “Ridddggee Raaacccuuurrr” at Sony’s e3 press conference a few years back. I wasn’t terribly interested in the game as I don’t care for racers on the consoles but Ridge Racer used to be in arcades as well. In fact the last time RR was in arcades was in 2001 with Ridge Racer V: Arcade Battle. Now we have word that Namco Bandai has trademarked the name Ridge Racer Accelerated in Japan. Link that up with a rumor I heard not long that Namco was working on a new racing title for arcades and you have to wonder, could Namco be planning on bringing RR back to coin-op land? It’s certainly possible, especially where it appears that companies won’t be letting up on developing new racing games anytime soon. What are your thoughts?

[Via Siliconera] [Discuss on the Forums]

IAAPA Pics by Kevin Williams

November 27, 2009

Now for our second-to-last post about IAAPA 2009 – the last one will be the attempt at a podcast that we did at the show although we were unable to finish it up for reasons I’ll explain later.

Kevin Williams of The Stinger Report (also a frequent contributor to Arcade Heroes) was at IAAPA and took a number of pictures, including a couple of games that I either missed or didn’t find the time to focus on. Check them out after the break, click on the pics for the full-view

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Last batch of IAAPA 2009 vids – Panic Museum, Silver Strike Live, Make Your Own Dog Tags, Animatronics

November 24, 2009

I’ve finally uploaded all of the IAAPA videos that I took and while I probably should have got a few more, I hope that everyone has enjoyed what I did put online. I know a couple of the videos have terrible sound and I apologize for that – the camera I was using was new to me and I didn’t realize how sensitive the microphone was at first.

Panic Museum – We first heard about Panic Museum as Haunted Museum some time ago and it had been previously seen in Europe. So when I heard that it would be coming to IAAPA I was surprised as Taito hasn’t been bringing most of it’s titles to the US. The cabinet (if you want to call it that) for this one is huge and it allows for an 80″ projected screen. As for the game itself, it throws a lot at you and the story is OK but the voice acting is terrible and there were a few points where I found myself bored with the game. I can’t really pin it down – there is no reloading feature so it seems a bit easy but I don’t know if that’s it. Overall I found it OK, the bonus rounds were fun and there are a number of hidden objects to find which could be added to your character. The graphics look dated by a few years but this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen that happen with a new arcade game. On the opposite end, Kevin Williams (of The Stinger Report) seems to have really liked this game but he played it all the way to the end.

Make sure the sound on this one is down when you start, it’s a bit loud.

Silver Strike Live – Incredible Technologies did have a booth at the show but it took me a little while to find it as they were downstairs mixed in with the novelty and amusement park area as opposed to the coin-op area. They had six games there, including the brand new Silver Strike Live which launches in Q1 2010. Here is a video of SSL below, I played it a little bit but I am not an expert on SS by any means (as you can tell in the video). Still it’s a fun game that should do well thanks in part to the online features it boasts, although those were not available to check out from what I played.

Make Your own Dog Tags – one trend at the show was for companies to produce coin-operated custom dog tag engravers. They are actually pretty cool but the cheapest one I found as seen below will set you back a mere $14,000 (another company had one for $24,000). By using a touch screen interface, you pick out what you want the dog tag to say, it engraves it and vends the dog tag and a necklace to attach it to. This particular engraver at the ICE booth was very popular as people were allowed to engrave their own dog tags for free.

Last of all we have one thing I decided to film that is not arcade related at all – a booth showcasing some cool animatronic figures.

We’ll be finishing up our IAAPA coverage when I hear from Kevin Williams next. We actually tried to record a podcast at the show but due to our ill-preparedness what we produced was incomplete. Partially due to the fact that we were interrupted by some guy who thought we were just sitting around talking and partially due to the fact that the device we were recording with ran out of juice. So we’ll see what we have to work with and if it doesn’t work we’ll have to try again the old fashioned way over Skype.

[Discuss on the forums]

Konami now testing DDR X2 in Japan, "Jukebeat" in the US

November 24, 2009

(Thanks to Eddie and Aaron of Bemanistlye for the info!)

I’ve been focusing so much on IAAPA news lately that I didn’t have much time to squeeze anything else in but there are some other arcade related thing happening out there. While Konami didn’t have anything to show off at IAAPA (they were at the Global Gaming Expo right next door however), they continue work on other projects out there such as the just announce Dance Dance Revolution X2, which is now testing in Japan. Details about what will make X2 different are scarce but I imagine that it will entail correcting concerns players had with the first game.

Also of interest to US players, Konami has brought uBeat back and they have renamed it to “Jukebeat”. The game is actually the latest update to uBeat: Ripples but as you can tell by the name change it appears that Konami will be positioning this game as more of an interactive jukebox than just another bemani game. Eddie over at Bemanistyle got a chance to check the game out on location test in Sherman Oaks Castle Park in CA and I still believe that this game would be a great US release but I guess it will depend upon the location test more than anything else. Here’s a video Eddie grabbed of the game:

Also Bemanistyle has a report on the recent DDR national competition in Seattle – as a reminder the finals are in Las Vegas on the 5th of December.

 

Konami now testing DDR X2 in Japan, “Jukebeat” in the US

November 24, 2009

(Thanks to Eddie and Aaron of Bemanistlye for the info!)

I’ve been focusing so much on IAAPA news lately that I didn’t have much time to squeeze anything else in but there are some other arcade related thing happening out there. While Konami didn’t have anything to show off at IAAPA (they were at the Global Gaming Expo right next door however), they continue work on other projects out there such as the just announce Dance Dance Revolution X2, which is now testing in Japan. Details about what will make X2 different are scarce but I imagine that it will entail correcting concerns players had with the first game.

Also of interest to US players, Konami has brought uBeat back and they have renamed it to “Jukebeat”. The game is actually the latest update to uBeat: Ripples but as you can tell by the name change it appears that Konami will be positioning this game as more of an interactive jukebox than just another bemani game. Eddie over at Bemanistyle got a chance to check the game out on location test in Sherman Oaks Castle Park in CA and I still believe that this game would be a great US release but I guess it will depend upon the location test more than anything else. Here’s a video Eddie grabbed of the game:

Also Bemanistyle has a report on the recent DDR national competition in Seattle – as a reminder the finals are in Las Vegas on the 5th of December.

 

IAAPA 2009 videos – Dead Storm Pirates, UNIS booth (w. Cooking Mama & H2Overdrive motion), Big Buck Hunter Open Season, Textminator

November 23, 2009

I have finally resolved the problem with Youtube not accepting the videos for Dead storm Pirates and the UNIS booth – convert them to AVI files. Unfortunately they become blocky and lose detail so I will be trying to find another way to get the better quality versions online soon. In the meantime…

Dead Storm Pirates (Namco) – I was surprised to see this game at IAAPA – we hadn’t heard anything about it possibly coming over to the US although it seemed like the style of gameplay would be a nice fit over here. The software was 60% complete so there were only a couple of levels to play but it was a lot of fun. There’s also more to it than being Let’s Go Jungle with a pirate theme, Namco is taking the time to help the game stand out on it’s own. The emphasis on shooting the targets at the same time is greater and if you both can keep your sights together long enough, the shots become more powerful. Another exciting part of the game I saw is when you man the cannons to blast another ship out of the water – hopefully there will be a few more scenes like that in the final release. Also the rudder wheel feature is pretty cool, with the game presenting you with so many seconds to turn the thing for a pass or fail event. In several wheel events the game goes into “bullet time”, slowing down just enough so you can attempt to turn. DSP is running on Namco’s System 357 hardware, which is PS3 based and is the same hardware used on Tekken 6 and Razing Storm. As such the game looks spectacular but unfortunately due to the uploading issues I have had with getting this on Youtube you won’t notice those details as nicely.

Universal Space booth – We broke the news about UNIS bringing Cooking Mama to arcades and I have noticed that a number of blogs have picked up on that news but unfortunately only one source gave us any credit for that (so we tip our hat to them GameSetWatch). Such is the nature of the blogging biz I suppose. Either way, one detail that needs to be emphasized about the game is that it is available in the US right now – and I already saw it’s appeal to younger kids. When I was posting the IAAPA pics at my arcade, a girl who was about 8 or 9 years old saw the picture of Cooking Mama and asked if we would get it saying she would play it all the time (right after my brother was saying that no one would play it).

Overall I was happy with the UNIS booth because there was a number of different and new ideas there that other companies don’t have.

One of those was Butterfly Garden – which is an interesting return to the tabletop game with four players. You control a net and you attempt to capture as many butterflies as possible. It’s another cutesy game that is something different. They had a couple of virtual bowling games which were fun and I was also impressed with Panda Family, a party game by IGS that uses a face avatar feature. There are a number of mini-games to pick from and movement is controlled by large buttons. The cabinet is really nice and this is one I wouldn’t mind getting for my arcade.

Of interest to Panic Park fans they also had a game called Ultimate. The control scheme works exactly like Panic Park does where you play tug-of-war on the controls in each mini-game. I was very impressed by the price on this one – only $4600 for a game with a 46″ screen. I couldn’t get a good feel for how the mini-games played in it however as you really need two people to get the full effect.

H2Overdrive fans will be pleased/surprised that UNIS had a new version of H2Overdrive at their booth. This version uses a motion base and it was a collaborative effort by UNIS, Tsunami Visual and Bandai Namco games. The motion version should be available in the US in 2010, with the game also going to Asian markets.

Apologies for the bad video and sound quality in this one, it’s another one I had to convert from MOV to AVI.

Big Buck Hunter Pro: Open Season – I got a chance to check this out but where I am more familiar with Big Buck Safari than I am Hunter, I couldn’t notice the differences in the update off the top of my head. I do know that there is more focus with online play via the Coin-Up network, like they do with Safari. I also found the mini bonus games to be a little more entertaining than what is in Safari (they even have an Asteroids bnous round, not sure if that is new or not)

Textminator – Strangely enough this game is attracting all sort of attention on various tech blogs all of the sudden, even though it has been out for a while. This was the first time I had a chance to play it myself and while I am not a texting person by any means, it was a decent game. Words fall from the top and you have to text out what it says before the word hits the bottom. One thing that could hurt the appeal to this is how many cell phones are converting over to full keyboards, making the old way of texting out-of-date but still, this is something unique and the cabinet catches your eye as well. The pads are interesting – it’s like using a payphone pad but it seems like they should hold up to the normal pounding found in your average arcade.

Yes, I still have a few more videos to go!


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