Archive for March 2010

‘The Office’ goes to the arcade

March 27, 2010

Because of my schedule, I don’t have a lot of time to watch TV. On top of that there aren’t many shows out there I would go out of my way to watch but I do enjoy The Office, which I usually catch after 10PM on a channel that shows re-runs. But when I started receiving some messages last night and today that the most recent episode featured the office crew at a Dave and Buster’s type place, I had to find a way to see it of course. The newest game I caught a glimpse of was Madden Season 2 (GlobalVR) but I could have missed a few. I also noticed how they covered up the names on a couple of games, like Daytona with something else. In case you want to see it,  NBC.com has recent episodes available for free viewing so  you can catch up by clicking the link below. It’s great to see some love given to arcades on a popular show, it’s stuff like this that can always help public perceptions bit by bit.

[Happy Hour – NBC.com]

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Transformers rolling out for Japanese arcades this summer

March 27, 2010

Via

Back in January, Sega Japan made an announcement that they would be producing a new arcade title based upon the cartoon favorite Transformers. No details were given about the nature of the game other than it would use cards, which is a popular feature for kids games there. Today we have more details on what Sega is doing with the license and it’s actually based upon another concept that they introduced to Japanese arcades last year, which we covered last September. You might recall a story on an effort by Sega to market coin-op games to kids with their Patrol Chaser and Battle Police cabinets and apparently the new Transformers titles will make use of these same kinds of cabinets. One is a dual racing game, the other a mounted light-gun title and both will allow players to use collectible cards (which are available now) to import different Autobots into the game to use. It’s a pretty good idea actually and it’s the kind of concept that I think could work outside of Japan but that being said it’s unlikely we will see it – Sega USA was testing out a card vending coin-op game called Sega Card Gen MLB out last year(which was not a kids game) but after it showed up at AMOA, we haven’t heard of it again which could mean either dismal testing or retooling. Then again I don’t think that the concept should be dead, Transformers is quite popular outside of Japan too so this would be a good way to test the “kid vending” card concept out a little more, especially where the controls use familiar items like light-guns and racing wheels. For now however, this is a Japan-only set of titles and the games will launch this summer.

More info:

[Transformers Animated Arcade @ AnimeAnime.jp] [Cabinets seen at Tformers.com] [Official Transformers Animated Arcade site]

Tech Radar takes a look at recent Japanese arcade releases

March 26, 2010

Via

When a mainstream website takes notice of current events surrounding the arcade industry, then it can go one of two ways – they get accurate information from people inside the industry and thus create an accurate report, or they go off of assumptions and little investigation (which is usually where you come across “arcades are all dead so what’s this new game doing here?” sort of articles or worse when they don’t even realize they are reporting on an arcade game). I always like to focus on the former and that’s what we have today with a new article over at Tech Radar discussing “The best and weirdest new games in Japanese arcades.” If you are not familiar with Tech Radar, they serve as an Engadget-style site for the UK.

The expert advice that they sought includes Kevin Williams (who provided me with the link to the story), Brian Ashcraft, author of Arcade Mania and Kotaku editior, and some unnamed industry sources. While the article won’t be covering anything new for regular readers of Arcade Heroes as far as new game content goes (a lot of it covers games found at AOU this year), they also delve into the current arcade scene in the UK where Kevin makes the great point about how you find coin-op machines in much more than arcade venues these days.Too bad they didn’t point out that the pic used with the Pac-Men playing Tank! Tank! Tank! was at Amusement Expo, promoting the international version of that game but it’s a minor thing really.

Head on over to Tech Radar for the full story

Revisiting Subsino's Kung Fu Ball

March 25, 2010

When I was at IAAPA last November, I came across a booth that had several head-to-head cocktail cabinets setup there which featured a new game I hadn’t heard of before called Kung Fu Ball. I hadn’t heard of the makers of this game either, Subsino Game Technologies but jsut the simple fact that they had a table top cabinet there was enough to pull me in. I recorded a video of the game in action but it didn’t get a lot of attention at the time – I’m bringing it up again today as I came across a US distribution company(BMI Gaming) that is listing the game as shipping in April.

In case you missed this in the IAAPA coverage, the game is essentially a glorified version of Pong. Instead of paddles you have blocks that work out like punching gloves to hit the ball back and forth on the screen. There are five buttons, each one covering a small area of the player’s goal. The longer you wait to hit the ball the harder it will smack it and faster the ball goes but if you wait too long, it will get past your goal. Come to think of it, the game also sort of reminds me of how Sega’s Flash Beats works, minus the musical mechanics involved, but both games have five buttons and both involve punching the ball at the other opponent. You can see the game in action in the two clips below, the first one is an official preview of the game, the second is what I captured at IAAPA last year.

[Subsino website]

Revisiting Subsino’s Kung Fu Ball

March 25, 2010

When I was at IAAPA last November, I came across a booth that had several head-to-head cocktail cabinets setup there which featured a new game I hadn’t heard of before called Kung Fu Ball. I hadn’t heard of the makers of this game either, Subsino Game Technologies but jsut the simple fact that they had a table top cabinet there was enough to pull me in. I recorded a video of the game in action but it didn’t get a lot of attention at the time – I’m bringing it up again today as I came across a US distribution company(BMI Gaming) that is listing the game as shipping in April.

In case you missed this in the IAAPA coverage, the game is essentially a glorified version of Pong. Instead of paddles you have blocks that work out like punching gloves to hit the ball back and forth on the screen. There are five buttons, each one covering a small area of the player’s goal. The longer you wait to hit the ball the harder it will smack it and faster the ball goes but if you wait too long, it will get past your goal. Come to think of it, the game also sort of reminds me of how Sega’s Flash Beats works, minus the musical mechanics involved, but both games have five buttons and both involve punching the ball at the other opponent. You can see the game in action in the two clips below, the first one is an official preview of the game, the second is what I captured at IAAPA last year.

[Subsino website]

King of Fighters XIII unveiled

March 25, 2010

SNK Playmore had been teasing a preview for the latest KOF for a little while now and today was the day they finally showed the game off in Japan. Fans who missed Mai last time will be happy to know that she is back (she’s on the main page for the KOFXIII site which is where the image above came from) and the game is already confirmed to be showing up at the next Arcadia Cup Tournament in Japan. AM-Net has a number of pics but at the moment it seems that their server is being overwhelmed so you may or may not see the pics. I was able to get a couple of them which you can see below, click to enlarge. Kotaku Japan has some shaky cam footage of the preview event though if you can’t wait.

KOFXIII is scheduled for a release in arcades this summer with a console version coming in a little too quickly after that (we had heard this summer but with the arcade getting pushed back, they are either launching both at the same time or the console release will be pushed back as well). I suppose the console release can help broaden awareness of the game amongst fighter fans and bring them in for tournaments if you have a large KOF fanbase in the area but operators are not quick to forget what happened with Tekken 5 where the console release came out a couple of months after the arcade and plays on the arcade dropped badly. If you don’t have that solid arcade playing fanbase then it’s hard to warrant spending all the cash on the arcade, unless you already have a GameGate of course.

UPDATE: The AM-Net Blog has added some videos of the event! the audio isn’t great but at least you can see the game in action. Graphically the game is fluid 2D just like KOFXII.

One more UPDATE: Famitsu has a bunch of details on how the game plays, mechanics that make it different from or similar to other KOF titles.  Apparently, infinite combos are possible in the game.

New pixel art Coin-Op Posters for charity are pretty cool + Pac-Man in Vegas pic

March 25, 2010

z

Thanks to for the news

Art and arcades have always gone together in some form and while this story doesn’t have anything to do with sideart, it does have something to do with arcades being portrayed in art and for a good cause.

This artwork, done by Gary Lucken, features eleven different cabinets drawn in “pixel art” style and you can pick up a poster (for the game room, arcade or just because) for $25. The proceeds goes to a charity that works as follows:

SpecialEffect is a charity dedicated to helping ALL young people with disabilities to enjoy computer games. For these children, the majority of computer games are simply too quick or too difficult to play, and we can help them and their parents to find out which games they CAN play, and how to adapt those games that they can’t.

The go-between the artist and the charity is the Poster Cause Project. We’ve actually covered a few instances before of arcade titles that have specific functions for helping disabled gamers play, such as this article discussing efforts in the 70’s to make arcade games more accessible; to modern functions found particularly in racing games from Rush 2049 to a modified version of MaxiTune 3 so players in wheelchairs could easily play.

Find out more at The Poster Cause Project

[Via GameSet Watch]

Also as a little follow-up to Amusement Expo on something that is sort of art related, Namco was handing out a bunch of Pac-Man Mardi Gras Beads and the necklaces turned up in places on the strip outside of the show. Might be considered NSFW so it’s after the break.

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