Welcome to the latest edition of Newsbytes. I’m your host, Adam the Arcade Hero, and I’ll take you on a quick tour of some quick news items from the arcade/pinball/amusement worlds. I missed this last week, but oddly enough there wasn’t a ton to talk about last week, so some of it was moved to this.
Arcade Dreams Launches Kickstarter
I had meant to get to this one earlier in the week, thanks to AlexBGM for giving me the heads up on it. Arcade Dreams is an up-and-coming episodic documentary by Rock Steady Media. It’s about the arcade industry and promises to be “…the first documentary to tell the complete story: from the penny arcades of the early 1900s, through pinball’s glory days and the video generation, to the virtual reality worlds of today and beyond.” To raise funds for the production, they have launched a Kickstarter, with a goal of $95,000 to fund all of the desired content. So far they are just a little over $15k, with 41 days to go – perhaps some of you readers can help get them across the finish line. Here’s the official teaser trailer that should give you a good idea of what to expect!
I’ll definitely be looking forward to this one. Even though my exposure to the pre-70’s era of arcades is somewhat limited, I’ve always been fascinated by that part of history, and how to design a game that had the limitations of what mechanisms could provide. Of course, I’m also interested in seeing how they cover the video industry 😉 Hopefully, they get their hands on a number of old trade magazines like Replay and Play Meter, which are excellent time capsules for this sort of thing.
Guns ‘N’ Roses Pinball Adds WiFi
Jersey Jack Pinball released this video to show game owners how to access/setup the online features for their latest game. This allows users to download code updates directly to the machine, as opposed to downloading it to a USB stick, then installing it. It should be interesting to see what else they might do with the feature.
DoDonPachi EXA On Test With New Modes
ExA-Arcadia has begun another test of DoDonPachi True Death EXA Label in Japan, and this one features two modes that previously were locked: X Arrange (the full Xbox 360 port of the game) and Inbachi (Boss Rush). The game will begin shipping in November to those who have pre-ordered it, although if you’re interested in it, don’t wait, as many locations and collectors are hyped for this one.
Arcade History: Vicious Circle
Site friend DJ Tatsujin has penned an article about an unreleased/unfinished fighter from Atari Games called Vicious Circle, which received a major update this past week with many new details. The game itself was designed as an ‘answer’ to Killer Instinct, featuring similar pre-rendered CG graphics, cutscenes, character & move similarities, and even linking moves together for combos. It’s not entirely known why the game was canceled – had it been released, it would have probably landed in mid-to-late 1996. It’s likely though, as the article update states, that it was possibly due to an internal conflict at Midway, which had bought Atari Games at the time (makes sense, given that the game was a Killer Instinct clone and Midway released KI2 that same year – you wouldn’t want to have a KI-like game coming in and stealing your actual KI game’s thunder).
If you like to geek out on details like that about prototype/unreleased games, then check the article out; here’s a video of the version that’s out there on MAME:
Pac-Man: CAT Edition
Just some self-explanatory fun here (H/T Kevin Williams):
Jack Danger Tours Stern Pinball
Since in-person tours at the Stern factory are canceled or extremely limited, let pinball celebrity Jack Danger show you around:
Sony’s New “Spatial Reality Display”
Thanks to Kevin Williams for pointing this one out. This is one of those things that can’t properly be conveyed on video, but Sony has come up with a new 3D display that’s apparently pretty cool. I just doubt that the price and size are anything that would work for the arcade business, although as I have often touted, arcades are a great place for new tech to make it’s debut if the price can be right:
Pandemic & Other Business Updates
It’s going to be easy to blame the pandemic for closures for the next year or two, but it’s not behind every closure. Such is the case with Playdium in Mississauga (near Toronto, Canada). Read more on it here.
In pandemic business news, while Dave & Busters has yet to re-open all of their stores, they are seeing an improvement in business, month-over-month. That’s good news as if the trend continues, perhaps they’ll be able to avoid bankruptcy (a deadline that was set for Nov. 1st, last I had read).
Finally, one popular retrocade in Eagle, ID did have to shut down due to loss of business stemming from the pandemic, Grinkers. The collection has been saved by a deep-pocketed collector in Utah though (who operates Flynn’s Retrocade, among many other things), so the games will have a new home in 2021 or 2022 in Utah County (Provo area).
After two months of a lot of driving, hiring handymen, moving games, filling out paperwork, fixing games, and waiting, my second location is about to open. The main thing I’ve been waiting on for the past few weeks is the business license, and barring any more delays, I was told to expect that to be approved on Monday.