It’s the first weekend of September, and that means that it’s time for another edition of Newsbytes. This is where I curate arcade & pinball news from around the interwebs into one post.
Right before we get to that, note that I am going to try and begin issuing a monthly newsletter. You can sign up for it using the field to the right, somewhere around here ->
On to the bytes of news!
Tokyo Joypolis Opens Scarlet Dawn: The Attraction
The Super Deluxe version of the latest House of the Dead has been available on the market since 2018, and now if you want to take the next step, there’s the Special Attraction version, only at the Tokyo Joypolis (of course, you’ll already have to be in Japan to use this, since travel is still restricted into the country). It’s not clear from this very brief trailer if the content of the game is any different from the arcade version, but you do get a motion seat, bigger screen and more players. Joypolis also uploaded brief videos of their Murder Lodge attraction and D-Lounge.
Sega Astro City Mini Trailer
If you’re hyped up for the miniature Sega Astro City cab, then you’ve probably seen this already. If not, here’s the full, amusing trailer that covers all of the titles that this will come with. Just note that it’s in Japanese, aside from the occasional English that the announcer throws in there for fun. I’ll still hold out a glimmer of hope that Sega will try and do a full-sized, coin-op version of this (with a few more games), but just a glimmer:
Dave & Busters Restores Konami’s E-Amuse Service
In the aftermath of the pandemic, Dave & Busters’ social media (particularly their Twitter account) has become much more active and customer oriented. In addition to placing a much stronger focus on rhythm games, they recently asked customers to respond with retweets regarding Konami’s e-Amuse service (the online services for games like DDR). Customers did, and now they’ve brought the service back. I have seen some online ask “Why was it removed in the first place?” and while I haven’t spoke with anyone at D&B about that, I think the answer is pretty easy – money. E-Amuse isn’t a free service, and if people aren’t actually using the service, the question becomes for the company “Why should we pay for this?” Granted, I imagine that if players don’t live up to their online enthusiasm then it could be pulled again, so if you want it to stay, use the feature!
Sort of along those lines, here’s a new ad campaign from the company where they are playing up the “Ding! Ding! Ding!” aspect of winning on the midway
Hook Pinball Gets Color
Speaking of pinball, if you want to go super in-depth on Stern’s latest Avengers creation, This Week In Pinball has got you covered.
Success Releases Umihara Kawase Fresh AC
Most of the Japanese game releases we’ve focused on this year have come from Exa-Arcadia, but there are other game distribution platforms in the country. One of those is Sega’s All.Net+ Multi 3 (also abbreviated as APM3). Their service isn’t packed with games, but they are looking to do something about that now with releases like Rolling Gunner and now a platformer that you can see below. I wouldn’t expect this one to hit North American or EU shores though, as Sega’s service isn’t available anywhere outside of Japan (as far as I know).
Strania EX Limited Edition Units Arrive
Way back around the end of 2018/beginning of 2019, Exa-Arcadia announced a special edition of their Exa boards that would be branded with G.Rev’s Strania EX on it, and come with some other nice goodies. Pre-orders were available on their website for a while, but news about it had been sparse until recently. Now, people who ordered have been receiving the units, at least per this tweet. I wonder if any locations out there grabbed this particular model, or if it’s going more to collectors?
Atari Historian Curt Vendel Passes Away
A pillar of the classic gaming community unexpectedly passed away this week, a man by the name of Curt Vendel. He was a co-author on a book I reviewed some years ago called Atari Inc. : Business Is Fun, but more than that he was instrumental in the preservation of large amounts of Atari’s history both in arcades and on the home side. For years his website, Atarimuseum.com, has been a great resource for many of those items. I did communicate with him a few times, including once when I sent him a design idea for a new-age Atari 5200 controller without him asking for it 😛 (he was always very gracious; for that particular design he said that he had come up with something very similar for a project he had been planning, but never came to light). I offer my sincere condolences to his family and friends (a Gofundme has been set up for his daughter’s education) …RIP.
So About Mario Kart Live…
If you’re an arcade nerd like myself, you might have noticed something quite interesting during the latest Mini-Direct from Nintendo this week. It was all focused on celebrating 35 years of Mario, announcing new games in the franchise, and one of those included a pretty cool augmented (or would this be Mixed?) reality version of Mario Kart called Mario Kart Live. I bring this up as this kind of hearkens back to an idea that Sega did way back in 1988 called Sega Super Circuit. In that concept, you didn’t have RC cars at home, but Sega constructed a gigantic race track, fitted some RC cars with cameras, and those were linked to some sit down arcade cabinets where you saw the view from the car on the screen. It was really cool, and I think it counts as the largest arcade machine ever made, but few know about it as I don’t believe more than one was ever built. They weren’t alone in that; another company called OWatch released their modern take on this last year. Granted, Nintendo’s home solution is a little different, but I couldn’t help but notice some of the similarities on another concept that got it’s start in arcades first 😉
Thanks to Kevin Williams for pointing out the Owatch (or is it Stekia Amusements?) AR Racing concept – I hadn’t heard of it until now, so here’s what it looks like (I have been thinking of doing my own kind of AR Racing attraction at the arcade as I’ve long been fascinated by Sega’s take on it, but have been sidetracked by other endeavors. Only thing to me that looks like a little bit of overkill for Owatch’s part is the motion base):
Some of you may have seen some of my chatter on social media this week regarding a second location for my arcade. For those that don’t know, I operate an arcade in West Valley City, UT, and have been doing so since the summer of ’08. It probably sounds crazy to be talking about expanding operations during a wild and often disheartening year such as this, but I have good reasons for doing so.
The main thrust behind this is creating a back-up plan. Things have been fairly terrible for my arcade since a large multi-million dollar FEC opened up just down the hall from my location this past November. Combine that with the pandemic effects – a month and a half shut down, business down massively, frequent customers confusing me for the bowling alley arcade, and the prospect that the JC Penny just a few doors down potentially closing for good has me considering other options.
The first option was in southern Idaho, when a landlord there contacted me about potentially opening a place. It was a really nice location and town, but my family just wasn’t ready to move states at the moment. I did consider operating two locations with it being the second, but the distance just would have made things too much of a headache. That said, the idea of two locations had it’s appeal, so I decided to look into it a bit more.
After a short search, I found a great place (I won’t say where just yet as I haven’t signed a contract right now) where the ball has been rolling quite well so far, but we’ll see how things go once I get the keys and have to start spending money on fixing the spot up and hiring help. I do have some new games lined up for the space – I came across an amazing package deal with some newer but used Sega games so will move on that(a Scarlet Dawn, Luigi’s Mansion & 2x Daytona Championship USAs); I also may be grabbing some Namco titles such as Nirin and Razing Storm from a distributor that has them used to further boost my offerings. While I will be taking some games from my present location to help fill the space up, I don’t want to harm my functioning operation either.
Hopefully the endeavor works out to where I do fine with both locations, meaning that I can employ some more people and expand my influence. It is a little bit of a daunting thought as I’ve never done anything like this before, but I’d never owned and run a business prior to all this either. We’ll see how it goes!