Welcome to the last edition of Newsbytes – for August 2020. 😛 This is a weekend post that brings together some news from around the arcade & pinball world that is usually brief enough to get lumped together with other bytes.
Stern Teases A 2nd Avengers Pinball
Designed by Keith Elwin (Iron Maiden), I haven’t caught up on all of the unofficial chatter about this one yet, so I’ll assume it’s based on Infinity War. I’m also guessing we’ll hear more about this on Monday when whoever has the scoop on this will reveal it in full detail (IGN?):
Strania EX Now Available
After some recent testing, Exa-Arcadia is now shipping Strania EX cartridges to interested parties. Carts begin shipping next week, although I believe if you want the faster service you’ll want to use the more expensive DHL for delivery outside of Japan. As mentioned in the past, this serves as G.Rev’s “definitive” version of the game, including content from previous releases while adding an exclusive “Hell Mode” which caters to seasoned players. Balancing adjustments were made to it from testing, but overall this marks the highest profile release on Exa-Arcadia systems to date.
In other Exa news, location tests have continued apace for titles like Psyvariar AC, Blazing Chrome and Gimmick! exAct Mix; No news yet on tests for DoDonPachi Saidaioujou, Noisz Arc*coda, Rival Megagun XE, The Fallen Angels, Axel City 2, Bayani, Alien Field 3671 AC and Cosmic Digger 3671.
Raw Thrills Launches Merchandise Store
Have you ever wanted to own some official Raw Thrills branded merchandise? Well now you can with their online store. At the moment it’s just their logo on top of things like shirts, mugs, backpacks, caps and such; With most of their productions having been licensed works, that does limit the game logo options, although they could do Super Bikes 2 & 3, Nitro Trucks, Dirty Drivin, H2Overdrive and Target: Terror (yes, there is Big Buck Hunter, but that already has it’s own thing).
I wonder if any of these items will ever end up in a crane or merchandiser machine at a route with a bunch of RT games around…
ShowUp Virtual Event
While the infection rates in Florida have been on a steady decline (particularly in deaths from the latest data), a lot of manufacturers are uneasy or unwilling to take the risk of attending IAAPA 2020 in November. It’s an expensive proposition – from various conversations I’ve had with different booth operators, the lowest number I’ve heard for getting a booth, shipping & installing equipment, staffing it (also includes flights, hotels, food), etc. has been $80k. Bigger booths spend a lot more than that. Granted, that’s a marketing cost that essentially recoups itself from the sales you generate from the show, but if no one goes to the event, then it’ll be a big loss. While IAAPA hasn’t been cancelled yet, it seems the continued uncertainty has more groups looking to hold their own virtual seminars.
Industry veteran Bob Cooney is one of those, who announced this week an online event called ShowUp. From the release:
FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT CENTERS PLAN COMEBACK AT FIRST ENTIRELY VIRTUAL TRADE SHOW
THE first trade show dedicated to the $20 billion family entertainment center market, ShowUp, has just been announced for October 27-29th, by location-based virtual reality expert Bob Cooney. […]
At ShowUp, industry operators will join with manufacturers and developers of cutting-edge technology solutions like 5G, AI, VR, AR, and Photogrammetry, to cross-pollinate ideas and drive innovation. […]
ShowUp will be live online from October 27-29th. It will feature keynotes, roundtables, case studies, workshops, interactive live games, and multiple networking sessions. Most sessions will be live and participatory, so attendees are encouraged to lean in. […]
There’s more that I left out for space purposes, but suffice it to say, it’s definitely FEC focused. The list of presenters includes names that those with some time in the biz should be familiar with: Brent Bushnell (Two Bit Circus); Randy White (White-Hutchison); Sheryl Bindelglass (Sheryl Golf); Kevin WIlliams (Stinger Report, DNA) and several others. The event is being sponsored by LAI Games, and will use the Hopin virtual event platform.
This will not be the only big virtual event taking place around that time, with another event that will be more focused on arcades themselves coming along – more news is forthcoming on that. 😉
Taito Station Fuchu Kururu Goes Crazy For Cranes
Earlier this week, Taito released a teaser video for a new location concept that is all about those cranes, and with that, they’ve won an award from the Guinness World Records to indicate that they have “the largest number of cranes in a single venue.” They also have some cranes that can be controlled via phone, so you don’t have to be at the location to play. If you’re a fan of cranes and can make it to Japan once the pandemic is over, this looks like the place to be:
Step ManiaX Update
New month, new free songs for SMX:
Coin-Op: The Arcade Guide Reaches Funding Goals
In case you’re set for another arcade book, Coin-Op: The Arcade Guide by Darren Doyle has surpassed it’s funding goal and is currently working on the stretch goals. The book will be a visual love letter to arcade games of the ’80s & ’90s, formatting it in a style like game magazines of old. You can check it out or contribute to the campaign on Kickstarter.
Quiz Game Update
I’ve made some decent progress on my trivia game this week, especially thanks to Azrial for testing out an Android build. Unfortunately there seems to be some issues with the code of the game itself that are causing some problems – as I am not versed in coding (I’m just using a pre-made Unity kit, and the creator of the kit has gone AWOL), I’m hoping that this won’t be a nightmare to sort out. I’ve also had issues with the Unity Asset store, which so far they’ve ignored my inquiries. :/ Either way, I won’t release the game until I’m satisfied that it’s fully playable and everything works like it should. If I can’t get this particular kit to work though, I’ll have to migrate over to another, and I have no idea how long that might take if it goes that route.
In other news related to this, I have purchased a song from Azrial that I will include into the game called Warpstar Alpha. It is a song that he created for an unreleased shoot ’em up title for PC called Biostar some years ago, but now I guess I can say it’s a song by Arcade Heroes. That makes two unique songs that the game will have…need to do a little more looking into other music, although the priority at the moment is fixing the game as it is. Once that’s done, I think the rest will fall into place pretty quickly.
Granted, that could also come to a stand still – I started the process this week of seriously looking into opening a second location. That probably sounds nuts right now, but I have my reasons and think that I have come across a good opportunity. Granted it is a huge risk, but if it pays off, then it will be worth it. If things get going on it though, that means my time will be soaked up a bit in getting the new location ready and everything that entails. If things work out, then it’ll be good to start in October.
Some links to discuss the latest I’ve heard about pandemic related stories that involve our sector. A lot of places are still keeping arcades closed while allowing other entertainment businesses like theaters or casinos to operate, which puts operators in those areas in a real bind. Even for those that can operate, it’s been quite a challenge to succeed – here’s some news along those lines:
Dave & Busters Re-Opening Three Locations
China’s Theme Parks Are Experiencing A Boom – As I mused early on, people would eventually get cabin fever and want something new or different outside of the home.
Arkadia Retrocade Raises $11k To Re-Open – I’ve mentioned various GoFundMe’s for arcades before, looks like this one was a big success!
Arcade Club Leeds Re-Opens
RIP Sega Akihabara Building No. 2
We’ll end with something that came our way from Arcade Belgium & Kevin Williams – Round1 Japan putting up plastic barriers around dance games. Not the prettiest setup, but certainly cheaper than building entire walls around the games: