It’s time for the biggest event in the arcade industry to take place, which is the IAAPA Expo in Orlando, FL. Because there is a ton of information to sift through, I like to give you a preview of what to expect to find there, which is hopefully of use for those who can and cannot attend the event. Granted, there are always surprises to be found among the games, but those will be filled in through the week.
To make it a little easier to track developments, you can follow along on Arcade Heroes’ social media – particularly Twitter and the new Discord server (mainly created for my arcade business, but I threw in an Arcade Heroes channel there as well, because why not). Also a shout out to the Wilcox Arcade Discord server, which I should also be able to send updates to. I’ll be using Twitter/Discord as they are generally easier for me to update. Videos will also be made available via the Arcade Heroes YouTube & Bitchute channels as I find the time to edit videos together over the course of the next couple of weeks (in glorious 4K UHD, of course).
While I do want to do a video version of this post, I don’t think I have the time left to do that. We’ll see, but if I can manage it, it’ll only be my talking head.
Now onto the preview…this is all according to the best information I have at the time of the publication of this post. The main focus is on video games, but since we have videmption and pinball, those will get a mention too. Augmented/Mixed/Virtual Reality products will be at the bottom, unless one of the major manufacturers that we normally cover have something along those lines. Also a shout out to a few sources who wished to remain anonymous on providing some of the information – Thanks!
Booth #440. As one of the top producers of videmption content, Adrenaline will have plenty of their previous offerings on hand, along with two new titles – Hot Wheels – King of the Road and Rabbids & Ladders.
American Pinball / American Arcade
Booth #1918. Making their first IAAPA appearance, while we can expect to see their pinball machines (Houdini and Oktoberfest), they apparently have been hard at work on creating a redemption arcade machine that will debut here called The Flying Dutchman. They still have a 3rd pinball machine in the works, but it seems that they will use the redemption piece to help expand their business into the wider arcade space.
Booth #1300. While PIU-XX will be there, the company has not announced any new video or videmption titles for their show roster. Redemption fans have games to look forward too, including Jurassic World Escape & Ticket Man.
Cosmotrons – While game designer Shane Gutbrod was at IAAPA 2018 last year to check things out, his flagship game, Cosmotrons was not. That changes this year as he has worked out a deal to bring the game to the show via the PrimeTime Amusements booth (Booth #1620). Even more surprising is that there will be four cabinets there, making for one of the strongest showings the game will have made to date.
As a note, the game has recently received a major update, which adds a Casual Mode for locations like mine, where players don’t want details & depth, they just want to jump into the game and play.
Bandai Namco Amusements
Booth #900/1000. The only thing they have touted as of this writing is Red Zone Rush, a football-themed redemption game that they introduced as Bowl Expo back in July. Intergame Online has a rundown of what’s expected at their booth; note that BNA combines the forces of the US and EU divisions. The EU side sells/distributes Adrenaline Amusements and Raw Thrills equipment in certain regions there, so that is why many of those non-Namco games are on their booth every year. I’m hoping that they’ll at least bring Pac-Man Panic along (as they have done at other recent shows); if not, that will be disappointing.
Barron Games International
Booth #1006. Barron tends to focus on a variety of products, with kid games as a focus and air hockey as their main stay. Their showcase product this time will be the Koliseum Soccer VR foosball unit that was discussed on a previous post.
Bay Tek Entertainment
Booth #1015. Bay Tek always has a sizable booth and usually a surprise or two for lovers of videmption content. The only thing I’ve seen them really touting though are new versions of their Skee Ball alley bowlers, the Skee Ball Classic & Glow.
Booth #415/515/615/815/3088. This might be the largest booth that Betson has ever put together, spanning parts of four aisles and a space on the other side of the show floor. The expected products to be showcased are coming from Raw Thrills, but they’ve been extremely secretive about most of what they have been doing, and doing a pretty good job at keeping things under wraps. One game that has already been officially revealed is Big Buck Hunter Reloaded, which will be setup in all of it’s glory.
There is also the new racer they had been teasing, which at first I incorrectly guessed was related to NASCAR (due to the NASCAR promotion going on at the booth), but then noticed that the marquee looked like it could be a truck, and then a trademark for something called “Nitro Trucks” popped up in a trademark database under Raw Thrills/Play Mechanix’s name. Thanks to a tipster, we have our first look at Nitro Trucks. This is a rare move for RT/PM, who prefers to attach a license to their work. According to other data I received, this is an “offroad battle racing game” (which brings to mind Dirty Drivin’) that uses “real-world physics in a dynamically lit engine,” a 5.1ch surround sound system, camera, auto-updates via CoinUp, link up to 8 units and more. There are 6 tracks and 14 racing teams to choose from as well.
Of course the other question up in the air is what about all of the games we’ve seen on test earlier this year: Bust-A-Move Frenzy? World’s Largest Frogger? Star Trek Battlegrounds? Will these titles make an appearance, or did they not make the cut? I find it hard to believe that we’d only see two new games, a couple of previously unveiled games, then a bunch of parts and vending machines taking up that much space.
Another thing we know is that RT has been working on a VR project, but that apparently is not going to be there. That is where I was a little confused by Betson’s announcement of joining forces with Minority Media to launch the Transformers VR: Battle Arena. We’ll see if this is really the Raw Thrills project or not; it could be the latter, in that the deal was already done with MM, so Raw Thrills decided not to step on toes.
Booth #1315. This company always has a large booth and a strong focus on redemption/videmption gaming. Their ICE Man game is still doing well, but it’s already a couple of years old. The videmption game that will be a focus there this time is Wild West Shootout, another Chinese made game localized for the US. Beyond that, they’ll have a new redemption version of the Price Is Right Plinko game too.
Chicago Gaming Company
Booth #1615. This company is one of the oldest of the bunch, having made a name for themselves in pinball circles with their remakes of Medieval Madness, Attack From Mars and Monster Bash. I haven’t heard about any new-new products that they have on the way, but they have a nice sized booth, so perhaps they will have a surprise.
Elaut USA/Benchmark Games/Coast To Coast Ent.
Booth #924/1024. While this triplicate of companies primarily focuses on redemption, once in a while they have a videmption product to check out. Last year the Coast-To-Coast side had a couple of videmption titles and this year they might have one by the name of Fast Gunman, although that could be a regular redemption piece.
Jersey Jack Pinball
Booth #102. While I doubt that the company would use this event to unveil a new pinball table, it’s not impossible. You can certainly expect to see their newer Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see any of their other titles, be it PotC, The Hobbit, Dialed In!, and Wizard of Oz.
JET / Family Fun Companies
Booth #1329, 727, 824. This newly merged company is looking to debut five new redemption games, one of which is called “Kahuna’s Big Wave.” It doesn’t look like it’s a video piece, though if you are looking for something that is a video game for kids, the kiddie rides should fit that bill.
Booth #1106/1306. ICE always likes to split their booth into two, with a nice aisle running between them. They’ll have a strong collection of redemption games as usual, but for video/videmption they’ll have a smaller version of Centipede Chaos – perhaps they’ll call it Centipede Chaos Mini. While they teased some other redemption games like All-In and Snowball Toss, they haven’t mentioned Tetris Dimensions at all, a piece that we saw earlier this year on test. Hopefully that one’s there, but if not, we’ll have the preview at least:
Booth #1034. LAI is looking to have their “biggest IAAPA ever,” with two games in particular serving as the flagships: Outnumbered and Virtual Rabbids with the expansion. I played the expansion at Bowl Expo earlier this year, but have yet to play the Outnumbered game that has been discussed on the site here a number of times. To help promote that, LAI has announced an Outnumbered tournament. They will also be introducing a sequel to their videmption game Shooting Mania by the name of Toy Frenzy and some other redemption focused products.
Booth #447. This Polish company has been making a lot of moves into the US over the past couple of years, doing so with a variety of videmption and redemption pieces. This year they’ve teased three redemption pieces, one of which might have a video element to it (Sweet Spinner). Maybe MotoX and Wild West Shootout?
Booth #1506. Mission Impossible: Arcade will be making it’s first industry appearance at the show, where we can see exactly how this Super Deluxe game will play. The company will also demonstrate Mario & Sonic At The Olympics Tokyo 2020 Arcade Edition in a converted MASRIO2016 cabinet, and some of their games from previous shows, including House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, ATV Slam, Transformers Shadows Rising, Daytona Championship USA and various other redemption products, such as Shoot It & Win It and Cubic 4 Catcher.
Booth #1813 (Hong Kong iPlay Technology booth). Step Revolution hasn’t been to an IAAPA in a few years, the last time was with their ReRave Plus machine. While they were supposed to be there with StepManiaX last year, that fell through, making us have to wait until this year to check this game out.
Booth # 2006. I also don’t expect to get any new revelations from the company, as they rarely use arcade tradeshows to reveal brand new tables (they have used IAAPA to show off new accessories before). For IAE19, they will feature: Elvira’s House of Horrors, Jurassic Park (Pro and Premium models), Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars Comic Art (Pro and Premium
models), and The Munsters.
Booth #??? I wasn’t expecting to see Taito at all, since they are not listed on the IAAPA Exhibitor Floor Plan. But the other day, they suddenly uploaded a couple of videos to YouTube to tout their IAAPA 2019 presence with GunArena. There is no mention of which booth they’ll be at, so it is definitely combined with someone else. My best guess is that they could be at the Betson booth, since Taito, Betson and Raw Thrills have been involved together in the past; second guess would be the UNIS booth.
Team Play Inc.
Booth #??? This company has always had a booth at IAAPA, that often is the same size from year-to-year, but they are not on the list this time around. I’ve confirmed with someone at the company that they will be there, but they haven’t said where and with what. My best guess is that they might have Surfin’ Surfari to show off…maybe Spins Ahoy! as that was their big release last year, but it might be combined with a distributor booth.
Booth #1806. Expanding from previous shows, this will mark Touch Magix’s largest IAAPA yet. They’ll have five games on hand, three of them brand new – Carnival Cups, Spacewarp 66 and Drift ‘N Thrift. You can read up on them from this post here.
Booth #840/1040. For the past few years, UNIS has shown off a lot of products, spanning a wide variety of categories. Not all of those see a release, but it makes for plenty to play. UNIS has confirmed quite a few pieces that will be there this time; the headlining video pieces will be Ultra Motor VR and Crazy Ride; they will also have the 2-player version of Fantasy Soccer. One non-video piece that I’m sure wil capture a lot of attention is the new 4-player version of the Atari PONG Table called Pong Knock Out. It follows Knock Out rules (last man standing), essentially serving as an electromechanical version of Quadrapong. They will have two similar videmption pieces there which are hybrid video & electromechanical, where you shoot virtual targets on the screen, as well as moving targets below. These are Space Invaders Counter Attack and Zombie Night. Then they’ll have some sports games that integrate video screens, To Tha Net, Disc It and Jetball Alley (this one being an Augmented Reality alley bowler). I’m sure that isn’t everything they’ll have, although interestingly enough they seem to be pulling back from as many VR pieces as they’ve showcased over the past two years.
Booth #936. This indie developer has been consistently making it to shows like IAAPA over the past few years, although it’s been a while since they introduced a new arcade machine. NEON FM and World’s Fastest Drummer will probably be there, but their main focus this time around will be a new card system that they first showed off last year called RFPay. I’m also hoping that they’ll have a working model of the PC Classic, but I think that’s taken a back seat to getting the RFPay ready to launch.
Booth #240. This Chinese company has been coming to IAAPA for several years, although I only caught them on the last day of the show last year. I expect a repeat of the 2018 booth (Overtake VR, Monster Eye 2, Bounty Hunter), but maybe with the addition of Speed Driver 5.
Booth #247. This is another Polish manufacturer that often brings a couple of surprises – sometimes video related, sometimes not. Their website just listed this Flappy Bird clone, so this might be there, among some other pieces:
Zen Studios / Pinball Factory
Booth #E7355. I just so happened to stumble across this game maker while browsing the exhibitor map, so it was nice to discover in advance. Zen Studios showed up back in 2016 where I found them by chance, showing off the PinballFX2 Championship Edition. They claimed at the time that it would be releasing for commercial use within a could of months, but time came and went without it ever showing up. The last time we heard anything about them was from a location test at a Dave & Busters in June, and once again, back to no news. We’ll see if something concrete comes out of this appearance.
As with the past two years, there are over 80 companies that have the Virtual Reality tag attached to their IAAPA profiles. Most of you who come to the site come here for the arcade machines and not the VR attractions (just judging by which stories you tend to read). This section is to focus on some of those, but not all of them as it’s far too many to cover in a post. What we’ll look at are some of the units we’ve seen in the past, or have been sent to my email recently as a part of the IAAPA press pool.
Most of these are arena-style solutions
Beat Saber (VRSenal; booth #237) – Not the only arcadified version of Beat Saber out there, but certainly an impressive one. They also had Predator at IAAPA last year, but that game apparently never made it out of the gate.
Boxblaster VR (booth #2000)- This company was at the International Bowl Expo and they are front-and-center of the coin-op pavillion for IAAPA. They brand their 4-player VR arena as “twice the fun, half the price” with 5 VR games included and free hardware updates every two years.
Dual Atom (P1AG/VRstudios; booth #806) – This one looks to stand out from the other VR arenas by offering a wireless solution. Two “pods” are linked together, allowing for individual, team co-op and competitive play.
Hologate (Booth #4272/4471) – This company is going to really show their growth with a number of VR products. First, they will debut 2 new games, Rig Rebels and DAS BOOT VR ESCAPE. The former is a shooter, the latter a VR escape room. They are also going to show off their VR BLITZ motion simulator with a racer called Hyper GP, which you can see in action below:
But perhaps the most noticable thing they’ll have around is the new Hologate Tower, a structure that stacks a 4-player arena on-top of another. This is the kind of thing that shows why we need different definitions for an arcade machine and an attraction
Omni Arena (Booth #2686) – The Omni Arena has been coming to IAAPA for a few years, each time improving on the design and adding new content. They recently said that they have installed a second one into a Dave & Busters, and they’ve got additional plans to drive more repeat play at existing venues. At IAAPA, they’ll have an arena there and debut a new game, although I didn’t see them name it.
Vertigo Arcades (Booth #E7049) – This arena VR product will be in the outside tents, showcasing their Arizona Sunshine LB VR game (a multiplayer zombie shooter). Their solution uses a backpack to allow for a free roaming experience, bolstered with wind effects and floor vibration.
VEX Solutions (Booth #4482) – This multiplayer VR arena is looking to stand out by going the “5D” route of using visceral features to further immerse the player in the games. That includes wind, heat, haptic feedback (vest & HMD), vibrating floor & hand tracking. This will be handled in conjunction with Shaffer Distributing.
Zero Latency (Booth #4686) – This company has been at IAAPA for the past few years, but I did not see any announcements for what they will showcase this time around. I imagine it will involve the latest hardware & software that they’ve put together for their free roam VR arenas.
As mentioned, that only scratches the surface of what will be at the show. With over 1000 exhibitors, that is more to see & play than you can reasonably do in just four days, although one doesn’t have to see everything. If you will be there, perhaps we’ll run into each other; if not, stay tuned to Arcade Heroes for the latest news in what you’ll see in arcades for 2020!