Archive for the ‘Console Hardware’ category

Another console based coin-op machine, PlayCoin

October 5, 2008

Well it hasn’t been long since we saw the demise of the Xbox 360 powered “Arcade Station T2” and here is another console-powered coin-op system, this time out of Greece and based upon the PS2. It doesn’t include a monitor or a base so it’s more of a tabletop type of device but I’m pretty sure this won’t see a wide-release outside of Greece.

This sort of thing reminds me of many places I saw when I lived in Brazil. While they have proper arcades there, it was a common site to find small places where they set up old game consoles for people to play and charged them per hour. I usually saw the PS1 and on occasion the N64 and once I saw them setup an Xbox. I have never been to Greece so I don’t know if they have similar places but I imagine that this is what this is what something like the PlayCoin is made for.

[The PlayCoin @ Electrop.gr] [Discuss on the Forum]

Xbox 360 kiosks brought to hospitals with pre-loaded games; coin-op version next?

May 6, 2008

Ever since Microsoft revealed the term “Xbox Live Arcade” along with the concept that has included original content along with remade classic arcade titles, people have thought of bringing the Xbox 360 into the arcade. While one might wonder the value in such a thing, it’s good advertising for Microsoft, it would advertise XBLA games giving people a chance to play the full versions at the arcade, thus seeing if the game is worth it beyond the demo and it’s not bad for arcades either which would have a platform for constant new content. One notable reference was the Fragisle platform that was demonstrated to distributors but has since disappeared.

Now Microsoft has revealed a specialized Xbox 360 kiosk that has been created for children’s hospitals across the US. It is connected to a specialized version of Xbox Live that has been created specifically for the kiosks and essentially keeps the kids separate from the standard XBL network (which sometimes isn’t very kid friendly). Says the source:

The customized and hospital-friendly Xbox 360 kiosks are pre-loaded with a variety of E and E10+ rated games, Y-rated television programs, G-rated movies, as well as Xbox LIVE Headset and LIVE Vision Camera capabilities, which enable patients to communicate over a dedicated Xbox LIVE network.

There also is this: a website dedicated to the”Xbox Arcade Machine“. One needs a password to get anywhere but you have to wonder, is this the next step, say an official Xbox Arcade machine??

[Xbox 360 Hospital Kiosks @ Pat LaFontaine] [Discuss on the Forum]

Closure of Japanese Arcades does not signal that the end is near

February 8, 2008

I can’t help but feel somewhat amused at all the attention online news sources are givingwhatthe.png to the news that Namco Bandai will be closing 50-60 of their arcades in Japan due to “high oil prices and the holiday success of the Nintendo Wii”. In fact on my Google News page the group of articles Google finds that the number of articles about the subject number at 300 – while right beneath it sits the Guardian article I posted the other day stating how good the arcade scene is doing, but there are only 4 articles about that subject. It just further proves that people enjoy negative news far more than positive news, especially where the arcade is concerned. So let’s rant about it for a minute!

I should point out that this is in Japan only. Namco still owns arcades in the States and I presume Europe but they did not say that they’d close any of those. And to be honest it’s not like Namco is the only chain of arcades in the world. Japan is a separate market for one and you haven’t heard news of chains like Tilt or Dave and Busters closing down due to the same reasons. Of course Namco is not the only one closing arcades in Japan – Sega and Square Enix are as well so the economic factors in Japan are obviously playing a role here but if you have to close 50-60 of your arcades (a fairly staggering number) you can point all the fingers you want but let’s be honest here – they obviously aren’t running their own business right if that’s the case. It’s funny that businesses are always quick to blame something out of their control but never themselves for poor performance. There’s no way that other factors could include lousy management of their own arcades or lousy marketing or maybe even the developer themselves not putting out compelling enough games to get people out of their homes and into the arcade. In the case of Namco people will be quick to say “Well what about Tekken 6?” and I’d respond “What about it? It’s the 6th installment of a series and it costs $15,000 per cabinet so who do you think has to foot that bill? There’s a reason you’re charged $2-$3 on a game like that.” I sure as heck have a hard time caring for a Namco title at the moment for my own arcade because A) They are all way overpriced which means I’d have to charge more just to make up for it and higher prices drive customers away B) Chances are Namco will release a console version shortly after the arcade release and it doesn’t matter if the arcade is better or not, sales drop. C) Sequels get a little tiring after a while – give us something new like you used to Namco. This is why I advocate developers looking to something new instead of the racer/fighter/light-gun combo cycle that never seems to end. When arcades were at the top of their game, they offered a variety of titles, not just a few types and called it good. At least it seems that a few developers are starting to understand that now and I’ve praised companies like Sega, Konami and GlobalVR for the strides they’ve been taking in changing things but I believe that every one of them can take it further. Hopefully Raw Thrills’ will join that soon with their new unannounced game that promises to be different and Incredible Technologies puts out some great sports titles at a low price that I can get behind. If I had the money, I’d make my own arcade game development company to join the chorus and lead the fight like I want to. But we have to take things one step at a time. I have more to rant about but I’ll cut it off here, hit the post break if you care to read more.

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Arcade game simulation for game consoles via Wii Fit

November 10, 2007

Remember Alpine Racer? If not it was a skiing game for arcades that used a unique control setup (movable skis) to simulate skiing. Now game consoles are catching up, with Nintendo’s Wii Fit board which features a skiing game that is reminiscent of Alpine Racer. I love how the mainstream game media keeps saying that arcades are behind but if that’s the case why are consoles trying to catch up with 10+ year old arcade titles?

[Video via Gametrailers via The Stinger Report][Discuss on the Forum]

Is it a console? Is it arcade? Is it legal?

October 8, 2007

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Now this is interesting, not necessarily because of what it is, but what this would mean if this kind of set-up was OK’d. Check out the video and read on for a run down of the machine. Also head to the Console Planet website for more info.

Personally I don’t see the appeal of putting £1 in a machine to play a game I have at home. At least with real arcade games you are getting an experience you can’t get at home; proper lightguns, proper steering wheels, and motion bases for example.

Also The Stinger Report has a big feature about the legality of this technology.

“FragIsle has patents pending on several technologies around the arcade style of console gaming which drive additional revenue through the cashbox, and beyond. Where arcades have had dramatic pains associated with console or in home gaming devices, we have embraced them and developed entertainment specific to the genre and social demands of a console gamer.

Featuring a high definition 42″ LCD screen in 16:9 aspect ratio is a requirement, and bundling with a premium sound system drives to the pulse of the console gamer. We also embrace their desired method of playing games with the standard game controllers. Sure, an arcade solution would seem to be better suited to joysticks, trackballs, and buttons. But one doesn’t need to look to far to see where this change had been attempted with limited success.

We further the experience by including a touch screen monitor to activate game play. However, this touch screen is much more active than just pushing a player button. Based upon Console Planet connected to the internet, this is the central location for maximizing the value to the customer, the location, and the operator. Those familiar with Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo, may be aware of the large segment of competitive gaming or tournaments. FragIsle utilizes the touch screen as a player interface to participate in online game play, and a central location for tournament registration, payment, and recording of standings.”

[via The Stinger Report]    [Discuss on the Forum]

Arcade Games in Your Hands – Part I – Atari Lynx

June 26, 2007

Ever since Space Invaders first came out for the Atari 2600, popular arcade games have found their way to virtually every game console on the market. As such itlynx.jpg creates an interesting look at the transition from arcade to console. It is without question that the arcade versions of the games themselves are superior – whether graphically or audibly or even with the way it controls. Naturally modern systems are able to recreate classic games without any trouble but we still enjoy the games on the original hardware anyways.

As it is special week marking the anniversary of Atari as well as arcades, I want to take a look at arcade classics brought to the handheld scene, specifically we’ll start with the Atari Lynx, undoubtedly the most powerful handheld of the 80’s and 90’s. Atari sought to bring the arcade experience to the palm of your hand and with the Lynx’ great hardware, it did it almost without a flaw. The Lynx was the first color 16-bit handheld which offered great graphics, sound, ambidextrous control and good networking options (generally referred to as ComLynx or ComLynxing). Let’s take a look at some of the arcade titles ported over to it.

Keep in mind I’m not looking to review the games overall, just look at how well they were ported over. Arcade screenshots courtesy of KLOV; Atari Lynx screenshots courtesy of AtariAge. PLEASE NOTE: Screenshots from these sources are generally taken from emulators as capturing good screenshots otherwise is somewhat difficult. As such the actual games up close and in motion look much better than the screenshots shown and they are only used as a general representaion (Lynx games generally appear less pixellated in real life than they do in the following shots). Arcade shots are on the right and Lynx shots on the left. Also stay tuned in the future for a look at arcade titles on other handheld systems including the Game Boy and Game Gear. Just hit the link below to begin!

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Southern California Classic Collector's (SC3) Meeting on 5/12/07

May 11, 2007

Every time I hear about groups of arcade collectors coming together to play, it’s always far away from where I live. These events are always great fun though, allowing you to get together with real enthusiasts and not just whoever, to play and discuss your favorite games. While this primarily covers classic arcade gaming, they will also have many game consoles on hand. What’s cool is that collectors will be bringing their own arcades to the meet, so it’s like building your own huge classic arcade game room for a day. Here are the details straight from their website:

” Southern California Classic Collectors (SC3) is hosting its next collector’s meeting on Saturday, May 12, 2007 from 6:00 PM ’til 11:00 PM. Once again, the gathering will happen at Steve Hertz’s home in Claremont. If you attended last October’s meeting, we’d love to see you again. If you weren’t there, we hope you can make it this time!

What can you expect at this meeting? Steve’s incredible coin-op collection is once again going to be the centerpiece (you can’t have a garage full of dozens of top-quality cabinets and expect it not to be). Steve’s busily cramming even more machines in there even as we write this, if you can believe it. But we operate on the philosophy that “more is better,” at least where games are concerned, so we’ve also arranged to have a full complement of MAME titles playable on a 65-inch HDTV screen. We’re also keeping the row of historical home consoles we displayed at the last meeting. Vectrex, Atari 2600, Intellvision — we’ll have ’em, and more.

How to Attend
All you need to do is email sc3-invite@oriole.net to RSVP and get directions to the meet! We just need to know your name and how many people you’re bringing. You don’t need to bring anything else, although we encourage everyone who can to bring drinks (soda, water, beer), and of course your extra games if you’d like to trade. We’re also asking folks to bring their Nintendo DS consoles (see below). We’ll be taking up a collection for a pizza fund, so bring about ten bucks if you want to eat.

Bring Your DS!
If you have a Nintendo DS, bring it! We’re hoping to assemble as many DSes as we can to engage in some head-to-head wi-fi merriment! So, obviously we could use some wi-fi enabled games as well (Mario Kart DS will definitely be on hand).

Who Are We, Exactly?
If you aren’t familiar with SC3, we’re just a friendly group of videogame enthusiasts who like nothing better than to get together to talk, trade, and play games. We’ve got a soft spot for games from the “classic” days of the early 1980s, but we love games of all eras, from Pong to PlayStation 3. If you love videogames, you’re welcome to attend!

SC3 has made a point of keeping our meetings relaxed and informal, but the atmosphere will include some beer drinking and there may be some R-rated game content. This is an adult get-together where supervised minors will be accepted. Parents should take this into account and please let us know if you have questions.”

Some pics of games that will certainly be there:

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[Southern California Classic Collectors Site]

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