Welcome to the latest edition of Newsbytes, a weekend post where I curate some news about arcade & pinball machines from around the web. This week’s post is going to be a little shorter than we’ve seen lately…the news of the arcade world has just continued to be slow – but not dried up.
Toyshock Reveals Mini-Pinball For Home
I missed this for yesterday’s home arcades post, so H/T to Rob Howard for this. Another company is working on bringing licensed virtual pinball to your home, and in a package that is very space conscious. Toyshock already sells the “3/4th size” virtual pin that comes with 12 Gottlieb tables, and now they are going even smaller with a tabletop version. I can’t find much about this Mini version apart from this video, but you can expect to see these before too long.
Galloping Ghost Grabs A Sega R360
There are quite a few arcade rarities out there, but not many of them are the things of legends. So when an arcade location does manage to get a “rare legend,” people take notice. One of those is the Sega R360 – often talked about here and elsewhere, but extremely difficult to find. Not many were produced in the first place, as they were incredibly expensive for the time, so the only places that really picked them up were theme parks that had a budget for rides. Most of the surviving R360s have been located in private collections; Two of those had been here in Utah at one point.
Now if you want to experience what this game was all about, now is your chance if you hit up Galloping Ghost Arcade in Illinois. As far as is known, this is the only unit on location in the United States. You can watch a video on Facebook about it here.
The testing circuit for games on the Exa platform continue with vigor in Japan, as they hold more tests for games that have recently received the attention and add one more to the list. The newest one is for the remake of the NES platformer Gimmick! (this one being an exclusive Exa release – no Steam or eShop release planned; Here’s a Twitter thread in Japanese where a Gimmick player sounds happy with it). Gimmick! had been tested last December, but it looks like that version was still missing a couple of levels and other changes.
As it stands right now, there are only eight games left on the announced Exa roster that haven’t been tested yet: Noisz Arcooda, DoDonPachi, Axel City 2, Bayani, Rival Megagun XE, Alienfield 3671 AC, Cosmic Digger 3671 and The Fallen Angels. We’ll see this week if any of those are next up for testing.
In the meantime, I realized that I forgot to share one of latest videos and captures on the blog, although if you are subscribed to my YouTube or BitChute channel, then you’ll have seen this already. The World Game Circus in Japan just posted this tutorial video about Lightning Knights to their YT as well, showing how to play.
Also a note on Vritra Hexa, I’m digging the sound fx and soundtrack for this one, from what I’ve heard.
H/T to Arcade Belgium for this find. Footage of the latest Initial D…just don’t expect to find many of these outside of Japan. If you come across one and feel the need for mountain drifting speed, then this will definitely have you covered:
A brief update on the indie-made, but headed for mass production arcade game Retro Raccoons. The official Twitter account has mentioned that they’ve been using the extra time to continuing polishing the game as opposed to releasing it to a market that isn’t exactly ready for new equipment yet. That process has involved adding “lots of new art & content” to the game, so expect to find even more mini-games available for this once it finally launches.
Puzzle games haven’t received much attention in arcades in recent years, but they still pop up every once in a while. Taito hasn’t released much to their Nesica 2 digital distribution service this year, but with Exa-Arcadia and even Sega making moves for their systems, they must have felt a little heat to get something out. This one will not blow anyone’s socks off graphically though…
I don’t always mention articles in Replay Magazine, just to not step on their toes (subscribe to them if you haven’t already – no, I don’t get a cut 😛 ), but they had a very interesting article in the most recent issue that surveys a number of manufacturers to get their thoughts and feelings on the current market situation.
Without spoiling the whole article, it’s apparent that everyone is still in a cautious mode at this point, with some being pessimistic, others being optimistic about the situation. Of course it’s hard to tell – given that this thing was supposed to have blown over in just a few weeks back in March, but it didn’t, and certain stats continue to rise despite a number of measures put in place, uncertainty continues to rule the day. If anyone had a crystal ball to tell us when it’d all be over, they’d be quite wealthy by now.
The survey asked several questions, including thoughts on when the market would recover for ops to buy new machines again, when the overall market would recover to a profitable level, and what they think about IAAPA 2020, among other things. For the most part, the CEOs of these companies see the market recovering next year between the spring and fall; many are quite uncertain about IAAPA, in good part due to the question mark about international travel (it does talk about Florida cases being a concern, but this was probably written before the downward trend began – at least August is looking better than July did, although we’ll have to see if that holds).
Of course, November will be here before we know it; Some companies are outright avoiding the show, while most have plans for it, but have bought much less booth space. Everyone sounds like they are all continuing product development in the face of this all, with the potential glut of used equipment being a concern, but not stopping much in the way of new stuff for 2021. To quote Eugene Jarvis from the article: “It’s time for us to roll up our sleeves, and double and triple our efforts to bring the arcades back! Creating player excitement is going to be the key, and new attractions and new games will bring players back!”
Speaking of trade shows, I’m rather curious to know whether or not anyone came down with Covid-19 after Amusement Expo. I’ve been wondering about that, as New Orleans had their spike about a week or so after the show. My wife and I didn’t, and fewer restrictions were in effect at the time.
Anyways, if you want to read about it and the manufacturer responses, then grab the August 2020 issue of Replay Magazine.
Zookeeper Atari 2600
I think I had mentioned the development of this game in the past, and now it is almost ready. If you still have an Atari 2600 (or a clone like the Hyperkin 77), then you can enjoy a port of a Taito arcade classic on a system that never enjoyed it back-in-the-day.
Here’s the beautiful box for Zoo Keeper, a new #Atari2600 game developed by @ChampDotGames! Artist Nathan Strum has done a wonderful job capturing the frenetic nature of this classic #arcade game. Coming Soon! Learn more: https://t.co/iD8vJaip8z #retrogaming #classicgaming pic.twitter.com/APo1L2zM6d
— AtariAge (@AtariAge) August 6, 2020