Cover: Benchmark -- Celebration!! There's a New and Tasty Direction Over at Benchmark Games; Amusement Expo Show Book
Show Guide -- Even though you’re holding the April issue, we rushed this magazine to press in order to hand out copies at the Amusement Expo in Las Vegas and we’ve included a show guide for those of you lucky enough to pick up this truly hot-off-the-press copy.
Survey Says -- The phrase “coin-op” may be inadequate to describe the industry we serve, as well as the way consumers pay for the games and other services offered by operators. Yet tradesters say it’s still the best shorthand available. This month we surveyed operators about industry identity and changes in payment technology.
Talking to the Tax Man -- Industry leaders traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby lawmakers, policy staffers and agencies like the Small Business Administration. They called on officials to craft predictable tax rules that create incentives for small business investment.
The Future of Video -- Regular contributor Kevin Williams of Stinger Report fame takes a look at the latest crop of deluxe video games as a prime example of innovation and experience that transcends what the home game biz has to offer.
Talking to Others -- Operators Interface this month about how they describe their industry to those who are not involved in the trade. Their answers cast an interesting light on how they think about their own work.
Valuable Experience -- The route operating pros at Tricorp Amusements are working closely with FEC locations to increase their game room revenue, relying on their own expertise and the use of the latest cashless payment technologies to promote game play.
Good Call -- Shelti’s Radikal Dart games feature a virtual referee to ensure the integrity of live games. Videos are recorded during game play and then sent to the servers and the event administrators. Then, the Remote Referee System allows them to view important matches and validate or invalidate the game.
Eye Candy -- Coast to Coast Entertainment has begun shipping its new Candy Street, featuring a white background and candy red graphics. The factory has also added a colorful topper with a series of swirly candy suckers.
Setting the Mark -- Benchmark Games, a factory known for creating high-earning redemption games, has rededicated itself to providing valuable attractions for operators. Learn more about the talented team at the Florida-based manufacturer.
Cover: Arachnid: Grandfather of All Darts
Showtime! The amusement trade will converge on Las Vegas at the end of this month for the annual spring Amusement Expo, which will be co-located with the National Bulk Vendors Assn. trade show. We have a full preview including at the day-long line-up of show seminars and special events, as well as IAAPA’s FEC Las Vegas conference, taking place prior to the show just across town.
Report from London -- January’s EAG International show welcomed 5,460 visitors to London’s ExCel convention center, representing a slight increase over 2013’s attendance figures. Many exhibitors reported brisk business with orders being taken throughout the entire three-day event. Check out our first-hand coverage of the amusement machine sector from our RePlay contributor Kevin Williams.
State Association Pow Wow Leaders from state operator associations gathered in Tampa, Fla., last month to discuss their successes and challenges and participate in a series of panel discussions and presentations about issues facing the trade. RePlay attended and filed this extensive report.
The Young Upstart - Kentucky operator Chris Asher is a self-made success. He built his route through drive and determination. Get the lowdown on how this young buck of the biz got his start and grew his business.
Shooting for a Cause Women across South Dakota have banded together as part of a statewide dart league network called the Pink Ladies. They are shooting darts for a cause, namely local cancer patients to whom they are donating league fees as well as funds raised through various other efforts.
Hot Topic - Live dart play has helped revolutionize the soft tip sport, and Arachnid’s Galaxy 3 game has played an important role in that process. As Arachnid nears its 40th year making electronic darts, we checked in with the Illinois-based factory for this month’s Cover Story. New features for the Galaxy 3 Live leverage and extend remote play even further by adding options for players to hook up with friends and competitors in different ways.
Prize Partners -- S&B Candy and Toy, the St. Louis-based supplier of cranes and redemption prizes, has partnered with California’s OKK Trading, which specializes in toys and licensed items that are specially designed for retailers at an exceptional value.
A Rewarding Option --Arizona-based Reward Card Solutions offers a flexible solution for redemption operators, a re-loadable Discover card that can be tailored to conform to requirements of various states’ prize rules.
Cover: The New Dynasty - How Hot Licenses are Making 2014 a Great Year for Raw Thrills & Play Mechanix
Advocacy in Action -- Maryland operators proved the old adage that “you have to make friends before you need them” when they effectively turned back regulations that would have killed redemption. MAMOA laid the groundwork for this victory through years of active advocacy as you’ll read in this month’s news story.
Amusement Expo Sneak Preview -- The game trade will gather next month in Las Vegas for the annual Amusement Expo. This year’s show will feature a daylong education session and two full days of exhibits. The NBVA bulk vending show will be take place side-by-side as it has for the past three years. Get the early line on these events.
Millennial Madness -- Consultant and market analysis guru Randy White provides insight on the much-discussed millennial generation, which includes 80 million Americans, including many amusement customers (not to mention industry management and staff).
Survey Says -- RePlay surveyed close to 100 street operators last month about their concerns as well as their outlook for the future. A majority expressed a positive attitude, but expressed concerns about the economy, a shrinking location base, government regulation and competition from mobile technology.
Future Plans -- Operators responded to our Interface question this month by discussing what they have in mind for the coming year, whether that’s upgrading their route with new equipment or implementing a new route management system.
At Your Service -- Canadian operator John Matheson has been heading up his rural street route since 1974. Today, the company focuses on digital music as well as some games, pool and darts, but John says his key to success is customer service.
In the Zone -- ICE has captured the appeal of a classic Midway attraction by encouraging operators to bank redemption games including 2-Minute Drill, NBA Hoops, ICE Ball and more recently Milk Jug Toss. The newest additions include the carnie-style attraction, Down The Clown, as well as the updated ICE Ball FX.
A Redemption Twofer -- UNIS recently debuted two new redemption titles, Up & Away and Congo Bongo, both of which engage players in dynamic, interactive game play and reward them generously with tickets. Get the full story on these pieces.
Resale Revolution -- Captain’s Auction Warehouse, based in Anaheim, California, is aiming to change the way amusement auctions are conducted by using new technology to conduct live online auctions as well as traditional auction eventsthese pieces.
ANNUAL DIRECTORY (price: $25)
this is the industry's premier reference annual with listings (addresses, phones, faxes, email, key personnel) of manufacturers, distributors, importers/exporters, parts and service suppliers, trade associations...a must-have issue for anyone in the business!
Cover: The New Dynasty - How Hot Licenses are Making 2014 a Great Year for Raw Thrills & Play Mechanix
Year in Review -- Take a walk down short-term memory lane as we review the biggest news from 2013, including high-profile people and product as well as a recap of the some of the most exciting developments of the year.
IAAPA Live! We've got hot off the press coverage of the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, including news of the latest games as well as booth coverage of major amusement industry exhibitors. Get the first line on what happened at the Parks Show.
Hot New Products -- In addition to our first-hand coverage of the IAAPA show, take a good look at our product catalog, featuring many of the new games first released at that amusement park and FEC convention in Orlando.
Specialty’s Special Event -- For the fourth year in a row, Specialty Coin of Oregon and Washington hosted its one-day Northwest Expo. The event included game exhibits from more than a dozen game makers and supply companies, as well as a trio of seminars on important topics for their operator customers.
Educational Adventure Creativity and technology topped the agenda at the first annual Road Scholar two-day educational event sponsored by AMOA last month, at a hotel near Chicago’s O’Hare airport.
A Packed House Georgia operators hosted their best- attended GAMOA state association meeting ever, as operators there prepare for the rollout of the new state-monitored redemption game initiative, a “partnership” between operators and the state lottery.
Guiding Light Family Entertainment Group recently made several key changes – including knocking out a wall, changing the lighting and expanding the hours of operation –– at its Northern Lights Arcade inside the Great Wolf Lodge near Olympia, Washington. The result: earnings are up nearly 40%.
Next Gen Leadership -- The global amusement firm founded by Down Under luminary Malcolm Steinberg has a new leader in Adam Steinberg, who has taken on the role of CEO. We interview Adam about his priorities at the LAI Group and what he learned from his dad.
Thrilling Raw Thrills, the game factory known for high-adrenaline videos and well-earning video redemption games, came to last month’s IAAPA show with four new games including the Duck Dynasty update for the Big Buck platform.
Cover: Apple Industries - On Top of Its Game and Not Slowing Down
Parks Show Extravaganza -- The IAAPA Attractions Expo will open its trade show doors Nov. 19-22 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. More than 25,000 attractions industry professionals from 100 countries are expected to show up for the event. Check out our full show preview
Mr. Coin-Op Goes to Washington -- A small group of industry leaders visited Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18, meeting with members of Congress and their staff to discuss tax and trade policies as they relate to the amusement business, as well the differences between amusement and consumer games.
A “6th Sense” of Entertainment -- RePlay contributor and global consultant Randy White explains an important emerging dynamic in entertainment: constant connectivity. “The lack of digital connectivity to the physical venue experience, just using the old world five-sense experience, has lost its appeal,” he writes. White asserts that an interactive enterainment experience must engage the player’s smartphone and his 6th Sense.
Local Politics -- Operators Interface this month about the legislative and regulatory issues that concern them the most in their day-to-day business lives. For the most part, they are focused on local and state issues.
Waiting Game -- Coast to Coast Entertainment’s John Maurer talked to RePlay about the harrowing experience of watching the firm’s Seaside, N.J., arcade burn to the ground over a Face Time connection from a hotel room in China. Now C2C is waiting to rebuild.
Loving Kiddie Rides -- Florida operator AJ Kress (son of Benchmark Games’ Al Kress) is a firm believer in the profitability of kiddie rides in today’s business. In fact, so much so that he’s planning on starting his own manufacturing company.
Experienced -- Coin Tech has new FEC-focused applications in a package the company is calling the Xperience Generation. The product suite builds on the success of the firm’s Xperience reader with online software and mobile apps the company says will enhance a customer’s interaction with games on location.
A Snapshot of Success -- Photo booth maker Apple Industries says its operator customers have sold 20 million photo strips in locations ranging from bars and restaurants to malls, arcades and theme parks. Learn more about this picture of industry success.
Dynamic Duo -- CenterEdge Software has released joint ticketing and sales product in cooperation with debit card system provider Embed. The joint solution utilizes CenterEdge Software’s expertise with front-line ticketing, integrated labor control and crowd capacity management features in conjunction with the Embed System.
ANNUAL DIRECTORY (price: $25)
this is the industry's premier reference annual with listings (addresses, phones, faxes, email, key personnel) of manufacturers, distributors, importers/exporters, parts and service suppliers, trade associations...a must-have issue for anyone in the business!
ANNUAL DIRECTORY (price: $25)
this is the industry's premier reference annual with listings (addresses, phones, faxes, email, key personnel) of manufacturers, distributors, importers/exporters, parts and service suppliers, trade associations...a must-have issue for anyone in the business!
Cover: Stern Pinball
(Go back to main 2009 menu)____________________________________________________________
- Fall Show Preview -- It may seem like the middle of summer, but this year's annual fall shows, AMOA and Fun Expo, are just around the corner. Get the early line on these co-located trade events, both of which are scheduled to get underway in Las Vegas late next month.
- BCA Returns to Vegas -- The BCA International Billiard and Home Recreation Show made a successful return to Las Vegas in June, posting a 17% increase in attendance and a slight decrease in the amount of booth space sold. RePlay visited the show, where coin-op remains a significant presence.
- Jukebox Special -- What does the future hold for music, technology and the jukebox? Our special jukebox section kicks off with manufacturers and others discussing the ways music will continue evolving and what's on the research and development front for the future. Our annual jukebox issue also includes a series of distributor interviews, input from AMOA leader Russ Mawdsley on licensing angles, our cover story on Ecast, the full Buy Line on jukeboxes currently available, an appreciation of the classic coin-op phonograph first published by the venerable Wall Street Journal and more.
- State Show Season -- If it's summer, it's state show time. This month, we have coverage and the latest news from two of the nation's most active state operator associations, Wisconsin's WAMO and Minnesota's MOMA.
- Young & Worldly -- Florida operator Mike Matta is already a worldly veteran, despite his youthful appearance. He got his start operating pay phones in Michigan before relocating to Florida, where he now runs a traditional amusement route. Along the way, he traveled to Russia to follow his heart. Read about his adventures.
- Menage A Trois? As the AMOA Expo looms, the debate continues over whether the AMOA, AAMA and IALEI should combine their forces for one tradeshow a year. Listen in on how operators view the pluses and minuses of one show or two in this month's Operator Interface. You might be surprised.
- Marketing Medalist -- Medalist Marketing recently hosted 27 operator partners from 21 operating companies across the U.S. to its Annual Operator Council at the company's headquarters near Seattle. Together, they finalized plans for several major new promotional initiatives.
- Dreaming in Circles -- M & J Fabricators are improving cranes and bottom lines around the country with a series of spinning turntables for higher-end prizes. Nuts & Bolts highlights this product series called Circle of Dreams.
- Recall Mania -- Boatloads full of imported items, especially toys, have been pulled from shelves due to rampant recalls over the past two years. In a Prize Patrol Special Report, we look at how certain prize suppliers are managing the politics of this problem and ensuring that their product is safe.
- Coin-Op Centennial -- To celebrate reaching the rare 100-year mark, The Lieberman Companies family hosted a spectacular bash for their extended industry family, welcoming a Who's Who of the trade to their Minnesota headquarters. Check out their history and centennial festivities.
- High & Dry -- AMA Distributors and Lucky Coin in New Orleans weathered Hurricane Katrina and unforgettable aftermath and are no worse for wear. Their remodeled facility is now one of the finest distributor bases in the country, which they showed off in a festive, politician-studded opening reception. Discover the new and improved AMA.
- Summer Showtime -- Find out about the AAMA's high-profile summer calendar, including their presence at the National Restaurant Show and how they are preparing for August's Annual Meeting & Distributor Cocktail Gala, where about 45 new games will reportedly be shown.
- Standing Tall -- Only two-years-old, Betson Midwest's presence has gone from a foothold to a strong stance and is becoming stronger by the month. President Ryan Cravens gives an update.
- Coin-Op Caravan -- The AMOA met with the nation's lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to keep the importance of amusement operators and their business interests alive in the eyes of politicians. Find out how association members and their stances on issues were received on Capitol Hill.
- Give & Take -- Publicizing the charitable deeds of operators on both local and national levels is one surefire way to improve the coin-op industry's reputation. RePlay is doing its part by finding out how companies are giving back to their community, country and world in Operator Interface.
- Eternal Recurrence -- I.T.'s Operator Summit introduced operators to their new Golden Tee software update set to debut this fall, which signals a back-to-basics approach.
- Stair Stepping -- Lectro-Truck has been moving this industry forward, up and down, one machine at a time, for almost 40 years. Check out exactly why their series of motorized hand-trucks, comprising their Innovative Moving Systems, are so durable and multi-functional in Nuts & Bolts.
- Prize Patrol -- Strategic alliances with mainland China are key to keeping prize inventories stocked fresh. Manley Toy Direct's parent company is headquartered there and acts as a direct siphon of goods to the U.S. supplier, passing the savings along to the customer. Check out Prize Patrol.
- Buying in Bulk -- Check out a snapshot of this year's annual Bulk Vending Show at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, including a look at the convention numbers in News Digest and a first-hand report from the American Amusement Machine Pavilion.
- Delta Blues -- They only play on the jukeboxes of Delta Music because Donovan Fremin certainly isn't singing them. The third-generation operator was recently elected to the AMOA executive board and is poised for the association presidency. Get to know the man behind the name that will be cropping more and more.
- Follow the Money -- We take an investigative look at the investment phenomenon that's putting the "fun" back into funding. Find out who is putting money into the new FEC concepts spreading across the nation and how they are navigating the risks differently than many of their predecessors.
- Scary Fun -- As part of this year's special FEC issue, we profiled two unique locations, both relatively new and both leaning heavily on theming. The Ghostly Manor Haunted House FEC, located in the shadow of Sandusky, Ohio's famed Cedar Point roller coaster mecca, is part of the popular haunting trend that's made its way into amusements. Farther south in Florida, the route operators at Sunshine have revitalized an old-school beach arcade, turning Treasure Island into a true entertainment adventure.
- Gurus Speak -- The FEC industry is blessed with many great minds, and our annual special issue includes input from many of them, both in the aforementioned look at investment and directly. We have a Q&A on the state of the trade from Frank Seninsky plus a look at the leisure vs. entertainment argument from none other than LBE creator Randy White.
- Factory Focus -- Toy Factory lives up to its name by producing many iconic, licensed properties from major studios. Discover more about this giant of prize suppliers and what recent and new licenses have been acquired.
- Movie Mania -- Stern Pinball's timing couldn't be better as they released their new Spider-Man flipper game right as the latest movie in the series was breaking box office records its first weekend. Get the full story on this new silver ball adventure.
- Drifting Away -- Raw Thrills is on a roll, this time with another high-speed hit, The Fast and Furious Drift. The new driver offers 12 licensed cars with model-specific upgrades, 21 tracks and dynamic drift racing action.
- Game Smorgasbord -- No one can say this industry is lacking in new product with all the games Namco alone has been releasing (with more planned by year's) end. Look under the hoods of several of these , including Shoot the Moon, Chase HQ 2, Family Bowl and the Rockin' Bowl-O-Rama kit.
- ASI Show Review -- The spring ASI expo in Las Vegas headlines this issue of RePlay with full coverage of the show including feedback from attendees and exhibitors, the official line from organizers and sponsors, news about special events on and off the show floor, booth photos from one end of the convention to the other and a catalog of all the new product debuted.
- Sad Passings -- Amidst the hubbub of the ASI, trade members learned the sad news that industry veteran Bill Cravens passed away in his hotel room, after attending the first day of the show. Another industry luminary, longtime Windy City distributor Fred Skor, lost his battle with cancer. We have tributes to these two impressive men, plus the news of several others losses to the industry.
- Thumbs Up -- Appreciation for ASI 2007 was the prevailing sentiment in our survey of attending operators, whether they bought truckloads of equipment or went to examine product now to buy in the fall. Check out May's Operator Interface.
- SoCal Sitdown -- The AMOA board of directors met in San Diego for four days of committee work to consider ways of improving the fall expo and the national organization. Find out where the group stands on everything from membership numbers and benefits to what this fall tradeshow holds in store and who will likely become the new powers-that-be down the road.
- Associations in Action -- Two of the nation's largest state associations for amusement and music operators recently held crucial get-togethers with their state's lawmakers. These events, which took place in Springfield, Illinois, and Austin, Texas, offered members of the trade valuable time to meet with legislators and their staff and put a face to the industry and its issues.
- Advantageous -- Advantage Entertainment has secured a foothold in the northeast with its special concept of the mall FEC. Discover Krazy City in West Nyack, N.Y., and what it bodes for transforming shopping plazas throughout the region.
- Merit on the Move -- Merit Entertainment, the touchscreen game specialists, brought their tested and production-ready Aurora, with its larger format touchscreen, to ASI along with new software and a renewed commitment to customers.
- Reaching Out -- TouchTunes Music was busy at this spring's ASI, rolling out their Gen 3 system with easier navigation and online playlists for customers, auctioning a juke for the Lance Armstrong Livestrong cancer organization and raffling another for operators.
- Refreshing Music -- The digital jukebox kit pros at View Interactive have an all-new kind of upgrade for existing CD (and 45 RPM) jukes either on location or in the shop. Now, you can salvage all the key components and install them in the new InnoVision cabinet, powered by Ecast.
- ASI "007" -- The Amusement Showcase International is in full swing, and RePlay has assembled the complete guide to the show, as well as extracurricular activities, both sponsored by the AAMA and those throughout Las Vegas. Check out the latest news on tradeshow events and seminars, consult our exhibitor list with booth numbers for a quick reference and plan your entertainment options.1
- Direct Threat -- The prospect of a digital jukebox company, in this case upstart Jukes Direct, selling direct to locations caused quite a stir in late February. The controversy appears to have calmed, for now.2
- Top Notch -- Pool table maker Valley-Dynamo took distributors on a tour last month of their new manufacturing facility in Reynoso, Mexico, just across the border from McAllen, Texas. The world-class facility impressed the factory's dealer network.
- State Summit -- AMOA hosted its annual gathering of state association presidents and executives in mid-February at the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas, where they discussed the state of the trade in their respective locales. Read our first-hand report.
- Growth City -- It may be Sin City to the thousands of visitors who go every year, but Las Vegas represents a growth environment for Desert Amusement, the route operation headed up by three newcomers to the industry who are already making their mark in the desert.
- Developing Worlds of Fun -- The popularity of pizzacade development shows no sign of abetting, as evidenced by Wisconsin's stylish Stonefire Pizza Company. Meet general manager Ted Cutting and president David Church, a real estate pro making it in the amusement business.
- They're Nationwide -- Club Nation is the second national operating group to form in the name of leveraging their street presence for promotions with larger prize pools. They have already run three national tournaments and are off and working on their fourth.7
- Bayside Redux -- Our Spotlight Special shines on Shelti's Bayside pool table with a dollar bill acceptor. Coming in three different models, the table has been performing well on location and driving different kinds of enhanced play.
- Coming to America -- The Photo Play phenomenon, which has swept Europe over the last decade with more than 160,000 units in the field, is now making its way to the U.S. through a partnership with former Rowe topper Doug Johnson.
- Andiamo Andamiro -- Andamiro USA has slated an ambitious plan to release games from ASI through the AMOA Expo. In this month's cover story, we take an early look at the product, including a redemption game, self-merchandiser and linked touchscreen platform, and find out how business has fared in recent years with EVP Satinder Bhutani.
- Counting the Years -- After over 75 years, KLOPP's name has become indistinguishable from coin counters, but who are the people who have made it happen? Discover a company whose product still has rare, die-hard integrity and the record to prove it in April's Nuts & Bolts.
- It's Showtime! The Amusement Showcase International 2007 returns to Las Vegas for what organizers are claiming will be a bigger and better extravaganza, thanks to boosts in exhibitor and registrant numbers over recent years. The complete resource for navigating the show floor, seminars, special events, logistics and more unfolds in this issue.
- London Calling -- ATEI, known to most as "The London Show," was sporting a new look and layout at the familiar Earl's Court exhibit venue in late January. Amusement attendance was down this time around (while gaming was up) but there was still hot new product on display. Read our exclusive report from "Mr. Stinger" Kevin Williams.
- Redemption Rules -- That's the word from distributors across the U.S. We surveyed a number of top dealers from different parts of the country from whom we learned that both ticket and instant-win redemption is thriving in games rooms and on the street. Read what they have to say, as well as a number of related articles on the subject of redemption, in a special section.
- Lucky and Good -- A group of 17 top operators banded together last year to form a promotional co-operative called Club Lucky. Now, they want to take it to the next level, working directly with suppliers on promotions, prizes and game purchases
- A Diamond Day -- Pittsburgh game operator H. Lazar & Son, now headed up by third generation operator Dale Lazar, celebrated 75 years in business last month with a jukebox-themed party in honor of the company's forefathers. Editor Steve White attended in person and filed this report.
- Two for the Road -- Sunshine Companies and Sega have joined forces to create Sega Amusement Works. We check in with Robert Noell Jr. and Takeshi Inoue to find out more about this joint venture (two years in the making) and their plans for reciprocal success in street locations and game manufacturing.
- Striking Out, On the Town -- Strike Long Island, an entirely underground bowling center with a nightclub atmosphere, has transformed an industrial area of New York into a hip destination. Take a grand tour of this facility with the general manager and execs from the parent company, Strike Holdings, which has been busy spreading its vision of sophisticated whimsy around the country.
- Prize Kings -- Noel Industries has grown into a major supplier of prizes for rotaries and other instant-win games, thanks to a family history in the business, down-home friendliness and Chris Noell's inventive game designs. Go south in Prize Patrol and drop in on the family business to find out more about why it's Christmas year round - and not just because of the nam.
- A Family Affair -- Stern Pinball and famed designer Pat Lawlor have teamed up again, this time for a new flipper game based on the wisecracking comedy of Fox's Family Guy. The game's also got some snazzy new playfield features.
- To Infinity and Beyond! Infinite Peripherals has been riding a wave of technological advances in remote receipt issuing, transforming basic printers into efficient, multi-tasking solutions. In March's Nuts & Bolts, discover more about the near-limitless possibilities in this field.
- Street Scene -- We take a good look in this month's RePlay at the state of the game biz on the street, the bread and butter for many operator readers. Conditions appear to vary from region to region, but promotion, new product and now prizes are key to maintaining revenues, say ops. Fortunately, our own Frank Seninsky also offers tips (see page 89) for doing redemption on the street.
- ASI on the Horizon -- This spring's Amusement Showcase International, the AAMA-sponsored game expo, is already on the horizon. Check out the early line on the show including travel deals, hotel information and what to expect as ASI returns to Vegas.
- Full Circle -- The promotional pros at Medalist Marketing have come full circle, back to their roots in topper Lee Peppard's first business, Tournament Soccer. Having established their expertise in building, operating and promoting darts, Medalist is celebrating its 25th anniversary by entering the table game business with new foosball and pool tables for coin-op.
- Class is in Session -- AMOA's most recent Class XIII of the Notre Dame Management Education Program is already off and running with 40 students. Meanwhile, the association is launching a graduate version. Read the last of editor Steve White's first-hand Notre Dame notes from Class XII.
- The Year in Store -- After taking stock of last year, operators are looking to grow or maintain their market presence in 2007. Find out how they are waging battles against consolidation through diversification, lobbying, firing locations and more, plus check out their New Year's Resolution blog comments.
- Mountain Top Fun -- Fort Fun & Camp Thunder have helped make Gatlinburg, Tenn., one of the most attractive vacation spots in the east. Tour these facilities with co-owner April Montgomery.
- Operators in Action -- West Virginia operators met late last year to elect new officers and approve a name change in one of the few states that enjoys limited, operator-run gaming machines. Check out coverage of the WVA & LVLOA.
- Star Struck -- Bay Tek Games of Wisconsin is heading to Hollywood with their newest game, the American Idol merchandiser. In addition to specially licensed AI prizes, players will also get a shot at tickets to the show's grand finale as part of special factory promotions in the works.
- Double Whammy -- American Alpha's newest releases, Fearless Pinocchio and Fist Talks, are fun, engaging and addicting games for youngsters - and that's no lie. The puppet-come-to-life and Rock, Paper, Scissors attractions combine to create memorable experience.
- A New Video Juke -- Barden Entertainment, the new video jukebox development firm started by casino mogul Don Barden, hopes to launch their digital video box this spring with a wide range of revenue-friendly features including special advertising screens.
- Dispatch from IAAPA -- The IAAPA parks show was ongoing in Atlanta as this issue went to press, but we managed to squeeze in a few pages of late breaking coverage. If you weren't there, get the early line on the show.
- A New Look -- That's what the annual London show (ATEI) will be sporting next month when it takes over all of the exhibit space at the world-famous Earl's Court venue. Get a sneak preview of the new two-tiered show from our regular contributor Kevin Williams.
- On the Road -- Industry suppliers have continued to take to the road during this fall show season as regional distributors showcase new wares to their operator base. Check out reports from open houses in Chicago and L.A.
- Class of 2006 -- Members of the newly graduated Class XII of AMOA's Notre Dame management program sound off on the courses, instructors, fellow alums and the lessons they took home to apply to their businesses in Operator Interface.
- Christmas in the Boonies -- For the third year, Boondocks Fun Center in Colorado has transformed its mini-golf course into the Winter Wonderland of Lights. Take a walk through the festive light extravaganza and among the FEC's multitude of attractions.
- Less is More -- Micro-tournaments that cater to player schedules and are largely managed by locations have been popular for two operators in the heartland. Find out how and why this format has increased the tournament cashbox by as much as 20%.
- Time is Running Out! Benchmark is busy shipping their newest pusher-style ticket game, Beat the Clock, which first debuted at AMOA in Vegas. Time your coins to spell the title phrase and win big! Check out the details of this timely license from China's UNIS.
- Back to the Future -- JVL's new Retro touchscreen game has got the latest in hardware technology, not to mention the factory's most recent software update, all packaged in a flashy art deco-style cabinet sure to attract players with a taste for the classics.
- Bowling for Keeps -- After two mega names in bowling merged over a year ago, QubicaAMF has rapidly rolled out Highway 66 mini-bowling, renovated bowling centers all over the world and overseen the greater integration of their sport of focus and coin-op. The bowling specialists have now turned their focus to developing and manufacturing amusement games.
- Another Good Show! AMOA International Expo is on a roll in Las Vegas, hosting another successful convention along with the IALEI-sponsored Fun Expo, co-located in the same convention center hall. Attendees were upbeat, new product looked good and the numbers were better than last year. See our full coverage of this year's show including news coverage, new products, booth pictures and a first-hand look at special events and seminars.
- Considering the Unthinkable -- The methods of shoring up operator businesses was the timely topic at the AMOA panel discussion, "What to Do Before Disaster Strikes Your Business." Experts navigated the way through the thorny process of agreeing on an insurance policy and discussed ways of making certain the plan in place effectively offers an umbrella of protection before it is too late.
- Open Season -- The post-show open house season is underway and we have coverage of two of the early events: Birmingham Vending and C.A. Robinson.
- Was it Good for You? Find out how opinions of expo 2006 stacked up as operators discuss new product, sponsored events and overall show design in Operator Interface.
- IT'Z Here! Arcade Profile zooms in on Albuquerque where a new FEC has sprung up in the desert. IT'Z is no mirage but the conflation of coin-op amusement, dining and entertainment in a smorgasbord of fun. Start your tour and find out what is next in store for the curious brand name.
- The Right Touch -- This month's Spotlight Special is on TouchTunes Music Corp., the digital jukebox pioneers who have now reached 20,000 units online and celebrated at AMOA by showing off their Gen. 3 operating system, giving out prizes and free jukes and basking in their AMOA Innovator Award win.
- Tickets, Please -- Muncie Novelty and Indiana Ticket have built a ticket-printing empire amidst rural Midwestern cornfields. Indiana Ticket in particular has supplied hundreds of millions of tickets to the amusement industry alone thanks to a 24/7 operation and a commitment to customer service. Discover the history of the company and the Broyles family behind it in Nuts & Bolts.
- Element of Surprise -- Peek-A-Boo Toys has built its business on designing and manufacturing genuinely adorable plush with the option of customized branding. Barry Lederman discusses the supplier's knack for getting the details right that speak to both crane players and customers on the other side of the redemption counter in Prize Patrol.
- Making Connections -- Ecast Inc., the broadband music pros who have partnered with NSM, Rock-Ola and View Interactive, pulled back the curtains on their newest online platform. This new system will support videos and revenue-generating advertising.
- Vegas, Baby! It's show time in Las Vegas for the AMOA and Fun Expos and the Big Kahuna West souvenir show. Use this issue as your guide for finding everything you need to know about exhibitors, seminars and extracurricular activities for each tradeshow in our coverage.
- Dollar Coin Redux -- Washington is once again abuzz with discussion of a new dollar coin. This time around the Mint will be producing a whole series of dollar coins featuring the images of deceased presidents. To promote circulation, an all-new coalition has been formed.
- Coin-Op's Future -- The future of just about every industry, including the amusement game business, will be affected by the awakening of China's mammoth economy. Check out what industry vets predict this growth in both manufacturing and a new consumer market will mean for coin-op.
- Strange Bedfellows -- Relationships with bar owners can be fortuitous or thorny, depending on the location and the incentives an operator has in place to nurture business associations. Find out from six operators exactly how they try to keep owners happy and, conversely, whether they are happy with their owners in this month's Operator Interface.
- Getting Lucky -- Ten operators who gathered at Chicago's Club Lucky this spring during ASI have formed a group under that same name to leverage their routes for Golden Tee contests, prize purchases and more.
- State Show Update -- Tradesters in the Show Me State gathered for the Missouri Amusement Machine Operators Association's 10th annual show and general membership meeting in Osage Beach. More than 110 operators, staff and family attended, and 25 companies took exhibit space.
- Madden Mea Culpa -- Acknowledging that their first effort two years ago was fraught with problems, Global VR toured the country in August and September to re-introduce their new Madden Season 2 football video. "This time, we got it right," said CEO Jim DeRose.
- Tennis, Anyone? This month, we focus our Spotlight Special on the new deluxe sports video from Sega, Virtual Tennis 3. The game features the top players in the world from men's pro tennis for singles and doubles action. Players can also select from a list of eight play styles and lots more.
- Money-Taking Business -- MEI has been steadily upping the ante on coin acceptors, bill validators and now combo payment acceptors. After being purchased by two private firms earlier this summer, the manufacturer now stands freely on its own in the field of currency acceptance devices. RePlay got to know MEI in its current incarnation and assessed its product.
- Getting Your License -- As soon as One Stop Toy Company embraced licensing, significant entertainment corporations embraced them. The supplier now has North American licenses for creating and distributing The Family Guy, Superman, Spider-Man prizes and more. Execs Evan Kaltman and Dave Schwartz discuss their product, from design to redemption counter.
- Go Expo! AMOA and Fun Expos team up with Big Kahuna West for one of the largest product spreads the industry has seen in a while later this month in Las Vegas. In this first installment of our two-part full preview, find everything you need to know about getting there, navigating show floors and special activities, plus lists of exhibitors and seminars.
- A Gala Affair -- The American Amusement Machine Association gathered in late July for their annual membership and board meeting, as well as the 3rd Distributor Gala, featuring a preview of new product in the pipeline. During this year's meeting in suburban Chicago, AAMA leaders engaged in a soul-searching discussion about the group's future.
- True Brew -- Our series on the AMOA executive board wraps up by training the spotlight on Gary Brewer, who will become secretary following the expo this month. He elaborates on how his family business has withstood the test of time and why involvement in the AMOA was a natural progression for a native of the Volunteer State.
- Expo Agendas -- Operators discuss plans to attend expo, their agendas or lack thereof and what the tradeshow might say about the state of the industry in Operator Interface.
- Thumbnail Times Two -- This month we have two Thumbnail Sketches for your reading pleasure. Meet Mississippi operator Ron Lott who hails from the Deep South terrain in and around Jackson, Miss., and Lou Georges, whose suburban Pennsylvania route has shrunk from its former interstate status. Both second-generation operators offer up tales of success and survival.
- Associations in Action -- Summer is the season for state shows, and this month we have coverage of two important stops on the circuit: the Amusement and Music Operators of Texas annual show and convention and, from earlier this summer, the annual gathering of the Wisconsin Amusement and Music Operators.
- Stern Sets Sail -- Stern Pinball is hitting the high seas of pinball with their newest flipper game, Disney's Pirates of Caribbean. Stern honcho Gary Stern says the game has "lots of mechanical action pinball shots and toys for casual players, yet the story cries for deep rules to challenge the best players."
- Take the Wheel -- Andamiro's newest quick coin game, Winner's Wheel, thrives on players' timing skills. Release the coin at the right time to win tickets. Keep playing, and you might win the jackpot. Check out the details on this game, plus their newest pounder, King of the Hammer DX.
- What's Your Fantasy? Fantasy Entertainment has been manufacturing and operating thousands of innovative photo booths for years. They recently teamed up with Brady Distributing to sell product exclusively to the amusement industry. Step inside and get a picture of their cutting-edge technology and what the world can expect of self-imaging booths in the future.
- All Aboard -- Prize Patrol checks in with Fun Express to see how the supplier has further developed solutions for redemption centers, why the personality of the amusement/redemption team is so valuable to business and what new product expo goers can expect to play with at expo.
- A Million and Counting! Jukebox maker Rowe International threw a party last month at their Grand Rapids, Mich., factory commemorating their one-millionth jukebox rolling off the factory line. Industry leaders, media and factory staff were on hand to celebrate. See our first-hand report.
- Set for Vegas -- It's already time to start planning your trip the co-located AMOA and Fun Expo shows in Vegas next month. New this year will be the addition of the Big Kahuna West prize show. Check out our initial preview including travel deals and a preliminary look at what's on tap.
- By the Numbers -- The AMOA/University of New Orleans 2006 Jukebox Survey, released earlier this summer, is a gold mine of data when it comes to the association's street operator members. We followed up this month with a closer look at some of the "other" numbers in the survey, providing an in-depth look at the size and scope of the so-called average operator.
- Getting Warmed Up -- August continues RePlay's profile of the AMOA executive committee in preparation for the fall expo right around the corner. Treasurer Lloyd Williamson has grown Williamson's Amusements throughout the Midwest through concentrated league play and homegrown tournaments. How will he continue to apply these fundraising skills to the association as first vice president next year and as president in 2007-2008?
- License This -- Operators across the country were particularly revealing about the issues and ordeals they face when obtaining licenses for equipment. Find out how your experience and expenses compare in this month's Operator Interface.
- Pizza Pie in the Sky -- The Amazing Pizza Machine shows what fresh perspectives can accomplish when combined with one of the best minds of the industry. The Omaha FEC fuses an upscale pizzeria with an enviable environment for coin-op games. Meet the men who dared dream it: the Alesio brothers of Grand Italian Buffet renown and Reggie Moultrie.
- Medalist Makeover -- Medalist Marketing, the dart league and tournament specialists from the Pacific Northwest, have been busy expanding their reach both into overseas markets and diverging equipment lines including a newly created foosball table.
- How it Happened -- Last month, Happ celebrated 20 years of stratospheric growth that catapulted the parts supplier onto the international stage in the amusement, gaming and vending markets. Frank and Tom Happ, as well as Jim Norton of parent-firm Pfingsten Partners, discuss the past two years of changes since Happ was sold, as well as the firm's recent acquisitions of the Mazzco and ProSource Group supply houses.
- Takes One to Know One -- A prize supplier with a sophisticated personality that goes the extra mile is needed to recognize product that does the same. Sadie's Toy Box president Lee Ann Howell takes readers on a fascinating tour of the company, shows off new product and explains what sets apart Sadie's inventory and customer appreciation apart from the rest of the class.
- A Hundred Years Young! Coin biz patriarch Sol Lipkin, the king of shuffleboard, celebrated his 100th birthday recently at a big Dave & Buster's bash in Philly. RePlay publisher Ed Adlum was there for the event with Sol and brought back a special report on the grand old man of games.
- Sound and Fury -- The 2006 Electronic Entertainment Expo drew large crowds and loud exhibits as always, but the focus was more on marketing new software than hardware, with only one new platform previewed at the expo. Check out our own Loni Reeder's report.
- The Throw Line -- The year's two big dart finales, Arachnid's BullShooter and the AMOA NDA Team Dart finals, were held this past May. We've got coverage of both.
- Tee Time -- Global VR crowned their most recent EA Sports PGA Tour Golf champ in Las Vegas. A newcomer, Shawn Powers, walked away with $15,000 and serious bragging rights.
- To Reinvest or Not to Reinvest -- July's Operator Interface tag-teams with RePlay's survey of operators, mapping the rough and uneven terrain of route investment. Find out who re-investments what and how much .
- FEC Forefather -- Next year, Family Fun Center of Omaha will mark a quarter century in business during which it has quietly set a precedent for facilities of its kind. Meet Chad Reznicek and find out what has made this successful family business a renowned attraction not just in the Midwest but throughout the nation.
- Treasuring AMOA -- Our series profiling the AMOA executive committee looks at incoming treasurer Russ Mawdsley of Russell-Hall in Holyoke, Mass. Russ speaks further about the recently released jukebox survey and explains why he went from coin-op to law and back again.
- Are You Happy? If not, Brady's Happy Zoo will lift your spirits. This promising new game for kids combines entertainment and education in an explosion of sound and adorable charm.
- Rock Around the Clock -- Wurlitzer's Classic 2100 brings back the days of greasers, poodle skirts and diners in a vision of glass and chrome. Combining yesteryear looks with today's technology has created a jukebox that is a blast from the past for patrons.
- Automatic Solution -- Nuts & Bolts for July continues our idea of reinvestment by highlighting a new genre of product for some operators: ATMs. For those interested in something different, Western Reserve Group explains the ins and outs of ATM management and why adding cash dispensers can be one of the more fortuitous decisions an operator ever makes.
- Jukebox Update -- The news is in and digital jukeboxes are hot, according to results from AMOA's updated Jukebox Survey. Get the complete picture, including a look at average earnings for digital and CD jukes.
- Do You Know What It Means? We must not fail to appreciate the scope of damage from Hurricane Katrina and lessons gleaned in her aftermath, so RePlay takes a look at Plush Appeal, the longtime plush supplier in the Crescent City and the company's near-total obliteration. Daryl Fletchinger and Dolores Bergeron walk readers through the tragedy and painstaking recovery.
- Family Fun -- Family Entertainment Centers continue to represent a vibrant sector of the amusement game industry, although the focus has shifted much more heavily to redemption in the past half-decade or more. This month, we take a comprehensive look at that part of the business, including an essay on the state of the industry, as well as some sharp analysis from Randy White, plus our cover story on Prime Time, two more FEC profiles, a Q&A with IALEI prexy Frank Seninsky and the latest installment of Redemption Round-Up.
- Play It Again, Jim -- June's Operator Profile trains a spotlight on Jim Catalina of Play It Again Amusements. The Houston operator's outgoing personality, the driving force of his success in this second career, comes to life as he describes the inner workings of this truly mom-and-pop operation and the legal landscape of coin-op amusement in Texas.
- Very Presidential -- Howard Cole of Cole Vending will take the presidential reigns of AMOA this September. In our profile of the current first VP and president-elect, we look at Howard's background to find out what makes this North Carolinian tick and what the industry can expect during his tenure.
- How Far Will They Go? The home game industry has periodically been in legislative crosshairs for almost purely political reasons. While the AMOA aggressively monitors legislation on national and state levels, the question begs to be asked whether lawmakers might again turn their attention to coin-op. Operators sound off in this month's Interface feature .
- What's So Funny? Surfnote is hoping to get into the touchscreen game with their Funny Touch, a multi-game unit that is specifically geared for five- to 15-year-olds. There will also be kits with the ability to outfit and refresh older units. Get your funny bone tickled.
- The Great Outdoors -- Bring the appeal of cranes into the elements with Smart's Outdoor Crane, one of the most durable machines of its kind with ironclad security. Jeff Smart explains how the company's newest and most customizable product opens up new venues and opportunities.
- Covering All The Angles -- Dave Ellison has carved out a unique niche in the industry with Mach 5 Products. The OEM manufacturer works each extreme of the field, serving manufacturers with an array of parts for games and operators with route data management and services. Find out how Dave's talents for electronics and software development, combined with the efforts of wife Carolee, launched this far-reaching company in June's Nuts & Bolts feature.
- TouchPlay Hangs in Balance -- Iowa operators, at press time, were still unsure of the fate of their popular but now-banned TouchPlay lottery games. A compromise in the state house that would keep them on location through September appeared to be stalled, spelling imminent shut down.
- Happy Hour in Vegas -- As in year's past, the AAMA took their traveling coin-op show to this spring's annual Nightclub and Bar Expo in Las Vegas, just prior to their own ASI show in Chicago. Check out pictures and a report from their Location Trade Show Pavilion.
- ASI Redux -- RePlay follows last month's initial coverage of the 2006 Amusement Showcase International with a comprehensive look at the show through extensive photo coverage of the show's exhibits, stories on special events and a catalog of newly-introduced machines.
- Hitting the Books -- At ASI 2006, AAMA and IALEI teamed up to sponsor a seminar program that taught operators how to prepare for and soar over possible hurtles when starting an arcade. Other seminar coverage includes a report from the Michael Getlan/Ben Jones "Think, Win, Plan" session.
- Bayou Rendezvous -- The AMOA descended on the Big Easy for their mid-year board meeting to do what they do best: refine plans for the AMOA expo, evaluate committee goals and promote the amusement industry on all fronts. This serious work was balanced with plenty of New Orleans fun, cuisine and eye-opening excursions around the city still pulling itself up by the bootstraps after Hurricane Katrina.
- Sound Off -- ASI 2006: Thumbs up or down? Most attendees in this month's Operator Interface section, who also weighed in via RePlay's new online blog, gave the spring tradeshow enthusiastic marks though their reasons for doing so varied. Find out how your experience compares.
- Welcome to the Jungle -- Hawaii's Jungle Fun arcade, that is. Set in the Ala Moana Shopping Center in Honolulu, it's part of the growing fun center operations of Linda Fernandez's Fun Factory. With super theming and equally great mix of machines and prizes, it is truly a jungle of fun.
- A Dynamic Duo -- Namco America is known for classic action-style videos, and this spring they are it again with two much-awaited sequels, their latest shooter Time Crisis 4 and the newest coin-op version of the fighting franchise Soul Calibur.
- Sacoa World -- Sacoa's PlayCard Marketing System has been installed in FECs around the world with more on the way. May's Nuts & Bolts section showcases their highly flexible, all-encompassing, debit card product while analyzing its more technical aspects. Read the story of Jorge Mochkovsky, his sons and the cutting edge of electronic management technology.
- Kemac Clan -- Kemac is a supplier with one-of-a-kind prizes and a one-of-a-kind mascot. Ken Cipperly tells all about the New Jersey-based company in Prize Patrol, including the vision of CEO Maggie Mitchell and the main reason why one should never ever try to break into their office.
- Lifetime Achievement -- Jerry Marcus, a figure long familiar on the U.S. trade scene, was honored last month as AAMA's Lifetime Achievement Award winner. Marcus started his career at Rowe in the 1950s. After almost two decades there, he moved on to work at several Chicago area distributors, held a top position at Atari and then founded his own Windy City dealership, Atlas.
- AMOA Gone South -- The 2006 AMOA Mid-Year Board of Directors Meeting was set for a four-day session in New Orleans, where the national operator association will look closely at committee initiatives and elect new officers. Check out our preview of the agenda as well as AMOA's efforts to support a city still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.
- Phoenix Rising -- State association reps delved into wide range of topics at the 2006 AMOA Council of Affiliated States gathering in Phoenix. The meeting provided an insightful barometer of the industry at large, from the local to the state to the national level.
- Sight to Behold -- The jewel in the crown of the Huish family's many amusement operations is The Family Fun Center and Bullwinkle's Restaurant in Tukwila, Wash. Scott Huish and Rich Yee give a personalized tour of their fantastically inspired, 36,000-square-foot facility a must-see attraction of not just Seattle but the Pacific Northwest.
- Midwest Maven -- Downstate Illinois operator Stan Williams of Williams Enterprises in Carmine got his start working his father's route. Today, after many years and even more colorful experiences, he oversees an operation that serves over 1,000 customers across three Midwestern states.
- Impact of Gambling -- Indian gaming, state lotteries, skill game payout, gray games: How are these and other related issues discussed at the Council of Affiliated States affecting routes around the country? Find out in operators' own words in this month's Operator Interface.
- One Stop Shopping -- One Stop Shop Vending and Redemption is a prize supplier that knows what game room operators need from first-hand experience. The company started last year as an offshoot of Global Vending, which handles game operations for the Marwin Group's CiCi's pizza locations in the Houston area.
- Tournament Pinball -- Starting with the new World Poker Tour game, Stern Pinball is shipping all of its new flipper games with their Tournament Pinball System (TOPS) built into the game. Now, the tournament details are spelled out for the player on the game's dot matrix display.
- Time and Money -- Coin ConneXion continues to make life easier for operators with their ezRoute Pro system, handhelds and array of time-saving, money-making, error-reducing gadgets. Dave Jensen, founder and president, discusses the technology that has become indispensable to so many routes in this month's Nuts & Bolts section.
- SHOW TIME IN THE WINDY CITY - Tradesters blow into the Windy City to check out new equipment and future trends at ASI. Our coverage provides an in-depth look at exhibitors, seminars and extra-curricular events, complete with charts and maps, to make your holiday weekend as productive as it fun. .
- PARTY ON - We are proud to introduce our newest column, Party Professor, featuring the expertise of Beth Standlee, the brainpower behind the consulting firm Trainertainment. Beth will provide monthly ideas to improve and grow party programs and group events through savvy, aggressive marketing campaigns. Her out-of-the-box ideas match her style: fresh, vibrant and inspiring.
- LONDON CALLING - Under new ownership, this year's ATEI London coin-op show drew big international crowds and played host to a crop of good looking new video - yes, video-games. For more, check out coverage from contributor Kevin Williams.
- STRAIGHT TALK - Minneapolis operator Bill Lethert grew up in the business and, when he found himself at a career crossroads, restarted the Mendota Valley route founded by his father. Since then, this straight shooter has grown the biz and branched out into chain location management.
- WHAT'S IN A NAME - The Mulligans FEC chain recently opened its newest dazzling location in Palmdale, Calif. Director of operators Tom Guagliardo gives a tour of this stunning facility, an oasis in the desert that definitely is no mirage of fun. He also shares historical tidbits on Mulligans' other locations and their updates for the future.
- SPRING CLEANING - Exactly how are arcade owners and operating companies jazzing up their inventory and business for the upcoming summer season? New games, different floor design, innovative promotions? March's responses are extensive, diverse and brimming with ideas to consider when strolling the aisles at ASI and beyond.
- THEY'RE NOT BLUFFING - The flipper fanatics at Stern Pinball are holding a winning hand with their new World Poker Tour pinball. Players use the game's playfield to travel from city to city, playing Texas Hold 'Em until they reach the final table.
- ON TARGET - Sureshot Redemption has been a premier prize supplier since 1997, servicing the industry with not just phenomenal prizes but highly customized service. Rorie Keller discusses the factors that put Sureshot Redemption in the top tier of the prize game and what the future holds for merchandise counters and cranes.
- MINT CONDITION - Token customers and coin lovers will find much to fascinate them in our profile of TokensDirect, a leading producer of the basic units of symbolic currency in game rooms. March's Nuts & Bolts section starts the minting process.
- AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER - Valley-Dynamo will unveil its newest and classiest pool table yet at ASI: the Metro. Get a close-up look here first at the table whose sophisticated image, execs hope, will open new doors for tables and operators. Jay Scanland also opens up about the manufacturer's continuing foray into distributing redemption games.
- A GRAND OPENING -- Betson Distributing is now up and running in their newest market, the Midwest. The national dealership, which serves the east and west coasts, as well as Texas, opened Betson Midwest with a well-attended Chicago area soiree.
- INSURANCE IS A MUST! Our latest report from the ongoing AMOA Notre Dame Management Program delves into the all-important issue of ensuring a small business, whether it's property, liability, auto or umbrella.
- LIFE OF THE PARTY -- Trainertainment has bolstered party programs at FECs across the nation since Beth Standlee launched the company last year. Its success is due almost wholly to Beth's vibrant personality a mix of enthusiasm, business savvy and wealth of professional experience across the amusement industry. She shares her party expertise.
- TEXAS STYLE -- Operator Charles Batson, whose Angleton Amusement route serves over 75 locations in towns along the Texas Gulf Coast, has been in the route biz since he graduated from high school in June of 1958. Learn more about his life in coin-op.
- CUSTOMER APPRECIATION -- -2006 is underway, ASI is next month and the busy summer season is around the corner. Looking ahead, what thoughts do operators want to share with customers and accounts about business in 2005, industry issues, fresh ideas and future expectations?
- ALL ABOARD -- In scenic North Carolina, one of the most beautiful sites happens to be indoors: Asheville's Fun Depot. This FEC's impressive coin-op element flows throughout the main depot room, connecting other attractions while surrounding an 18-hole miniature golf course. Celebrating only its second birthday, Asheville's Fun Depot has caught the attention of IAAPA and IALEI, garnering numerous accolades.
- LOOKING GOOD -- TouchTunes Music is now shipping their newest downloading floor model juke, the Allegro, which features a nostalgia style cabinet and a new fan-less computer that cuts down on overheating problems.
- CHANGE -- This month's Nuts & Bolts feature examines the factors that led to Hamilton Manufacturing Corporation producing some of the most widely respected change machines and token vendors on the market today. What makes them so durable, secure and affordable? The answer is a company story that mirrors the development of various industries.
- What's IN A NAME? The name of Prizes! says it all, but there's more to it than meets the eye. Brothers Tom and Bob Portale have become a premier supplier of sports-themed merchandise, among other prize genres, and for good reason: their belief that quality service is dependent on a quality staff.
- HOT FROM HOTLANTA -- The annual IAAPA parks show was in full swing as this issue of RePlay was going to press. Check out our late breaking coverage of new product and people from the show floor in Atlanta.
- AN UNSETTLING YEAR -- 2005 will not go down in history as the coin machine industry's best year, unless you're in the digital jukebox business, and then it may. One trade leader described it best as an "unsettling year" marked by natural disaster. Take a walk down short-term memory lane.
- THE VALLEY LEGACY -- Valley, often the standard by which coin-op pool tables have been measured, is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Today, the combine known as Valley-Dynamo is part of the larger Brunswick. Read about the early days of the brand and the company today.
- CORPORATE SAVVY -- Pelican Communications is a firm run by operators for operators. The company, which still runs a sizeable pay phone route, manages national chain accounts, partnering with amusement and vending operators across the U.S.
- KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER -- California operator Gary Spencer says you should know potential customers, as well as existing accounts, if you expect to ever get their business. To that end, Spencer's company California Coin keeps detailed database records on all the locations in their trading area.
- WHERE WORM IS KING -- There's no place like home, and there's no arcade that provides a sense of place like a family-run arcade. Little Squirt Sports Park in Lima, Ohio, is just such an arcade, covering seven acres downtown and recognizable by its spotted green mascot. The story of Little Squirt Sports Park is one of evolving along with, and moving deeper into, the world of amusements a journey made possible by the support of Lima's residents and their love of Squirty Worm.
- EYE ON THE PRIZE -- Indiana crane operator turned distributor and toy supplier David Kamen of K&K Sales in Bloomington has steadily, and quietly, grown his business from one pinball game to an impressive business that includes designing and importing their own toy lines.
- HANDS ON APPROACH -- JVL's newest countertop, Vortex, has been much-discussed by industry watchers because of many of its enhancements, but most of all for its power pad base, offering a whole new method by which to play a countertop.
- DINO DUEL -- LAI Games knows kids, and kids are obsessed with dinosaurs. The manufacturer's newest game Dino Duel is turning heads for its ability to tap into that fascination in a straightforward, addicting card and video game.
- THE RIGHT TICKET -- The latest from the game mavens at ICE are Break the Bank (players race their coins or tokens down an alley ramp, aiming for the unlock target on the wheel) and Super Trivia game (where a far-reaching knowledge and luck of the draw come into play).
- IAAPA INVASION -- The coin-op amusement industry will be a leading part of the 2005 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions tradeshow and convention, which travels north this year to Atlanta on the week before Thanksgiving. Our full preview of exhibitors, workshops and special events makes the colossal show more manageable for operators.
- BIG TENT APPROACH -- Incoming AAMA chairman Jon W. Brady says the manufacturer's association is hoping to pitch a bigger industry tent at this spring's ASI show, attracting would-be entrepreneurs to the coin machine business through special seminars and even a drawing for a "free arcade."
- SHOW WRAP-UP -- Last month saw our initial hot of the press coverage of AMOA. In this issue, we are following up with a complete look at the exhibit booths, new equipment, special events and a seminar on developments in debit cards. Check out our exhaustive show wrap-up.
- TALKING TRADE SHOWS -- This month's Operator Interface voices the compliments, concerns and criticisms of a handful of tradesters who attended the AMOA and Fun Expos. They saw the new product first-hand. Read what they had to say and what their plans are as a result.
- BALTIMORE TONY -- Operator Tony Paszkiewicz is the second generation owner of Columbia Vending in Baltimore, a route which started out when his dad Raymond bought the gumball machines in the store where he worked. Today, Columbia is a major operator on the East Coast with a staff of 50 and more than 500 locations in Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.
- ON THE BOARDWALK -- The Boardwalk Mall Arcade in Wildwood, N.J., has been a fixture on the legendary Jersey Shore for almost 30 years. When Michael Blickman took control of this seasonal location, he concentrated on emphasizing redemption while also providing the right amount of other game types. The methods used to create his ideal game room show how the Boardwalk became one of the most successful arcades in an area famed for them.
- TOUCHY FEELY -- Merit Industries took center stage at this fall's AMOA Expo with the release of their new Ion touchscreen series, which includes Elite Edge and e.V.o. Wallette versions. The games feature Merit's signature touchscreen as well as a new joystick interface. Merit also debuted the M-Box digital juke and their affordable Megatouch Champion location-based tournament unit.
- ULTRA HAPPENIN' -- Vidgame maker Ultracade Technologies has entered the redemption game fray with five new licensed titles from Tecway. Get a first-hand look at these units, along with an update on a host of new features for their award-winning Breeders' Cup thoroughbred racing game.
- PLUSH DEALS -- Discount Plush has turned rewarding customers into an art with a variety of incentive programs. Sean Weber details the company's operator-friendly services, product features and impressive perks of doing business with the Arizona supplier in this month's Prize Patrol.
- THE LATEST CRAZE -- Hot redemption items offered as the weather turns cool, and featured in our Redemption Roundup, include an awesome tattoo product and poker plush.
- SHOW REPORT FROM VEGAS -- The news is in from Las Vegas, and it's good news at that. This year's amusement trade-show extravaganza was well attended and, by all accounts, generated nice business for exhibitors at both AMOA and Fun Expo. Check out our show report filed fast on the heels of the conventions' final day. .
- DISASTER DOWN SOUTH -- Hurricane Katrina roared on shore in the Gulf Coast region August 29, and the world will never be the same again. In the face of downed communication lines and very little hard and fast information, RePlay tracked down amusement tradesters and began to chronicle industry response.
- PINNING DOWN AUTISM -- Attractions to pinball are as diverse as the machines, but Ken Walker's passion for pins overlapped with his son Andrew's in an intriguing way. What started out as a way to get out of the house became a renaissance of interest for Ken, a way to release Andrew from the effects of autism's mental confines and a burgeoning interest for the youngest Walker, Anna. Discover the family's unique story.
- 40 YEARS OF FINANCE -- Firestone Financial, the national lender that has specialized in providing credit to the amusement industry for 40 years, celebrated its 40th anniversary last month in style. Take a walk down memory lane to see who they are and from where they came.
- VIDEO BLUES -- Operators may still fondly recall the days when video game collections were fueling unprecedented growth, but according to this month's straw poll the video game's star is in decline. Collections aren't what they used to be, and operators are more selective than ever about new purchases.
- FUN IN THE FOOTHILLS -- When in West Virginia and environs, look no further than Billy Bob's Super Wonderland for fun. The massive family amusement center boasts an assortment of redemption games, a laser tag center, a miniature golf course and much more. Rex Donahue, owner, expounds upon why people travel from far and wide to the heart of Appalachia.
- A FALL BUSINESS BOOST -- The infamous summer season has passed, and the AMOA and Fun Expos have come and gone. As the leaves change color, what plan of action will operators take to boost fall earnings and possibly make their businesses golden once again?
- TIME TO PLAY -- The staffers of Play Time Toys, this month's cover story focus, believe that every item in their inventory provides the most perceived value for any vend. Dawn Noyes, president, explains what makes their product distinctive, elaborates on some tidbits of company history and describes the firm from the top down.
- UNDER LOCK AND KEY -- Innovations in security are essential to preserving profits, and Camlock Systems has been on the edge of these trends for decades. GM Dale Padjean tells us why the company's integrity is not only evident in its strong security systems but in its people.
- REDEMPTION ROUNDUP -- RePlay's section highlighting popular prizes is changing to a monthly edition to better serve buyer and seller interests and to move the coolest prizes onto redemption counters and into machines faster. The new section debuts this month.
- EXPO EXTRAVAGANZA -- If it's September, it's time to head to Las Vegas for the combined 2005 AMOA and Fun Expo shows, taking place at the Convention Center, Sept. 14-16. We've got all the details on special events, a list of exhibitors, seminars and more in our overview of both the amusement game and family fun center expos.
- A GALA AFFAIR -- Distributor members of AAMA were treated to a special preview of over two-dozen new products, many still in some phase of development, at late July's factory association distributor gala. Check out our coverage of the gala and association's annual meeting.
- BOWLING FOR COIN-OP -- Bowling venues have always been great locations for coin machine operators. Today, as that industry goes through a major transition, catering more to casual players and less to hardcore leaguers, we have coverage of the Bowling Expo from both AAMA and Frank "The Crank" Sensinsky, plus a related story on a new concept from Brunswick Bowling.
- SOUNDING OFF ON SHOWS -- September's Operator Interface is a barometer reading of how the national trade shows and distributor open houses are valued and how perceptions of them may have changed over the years.
- PIER GAZING -- George Gordon, founder of Playland Arcade, is as much of an institution as the Santa Monica Pier on which he worked. RePlay looks back on the life and times of George, whose life story covers and is, in fact, indistinguishable from the narrative of Santa Monica's beachfront development.
- STRIKING IT RICH -- Brunswick Bowling's Build to Bowl program kicked into full gear over the past year, offering would-be ten-pin operators the ability to customize an entire facility with a turnkey package. Chris Albano, co-owner of Stars and Strikes Bowling, developed a Georgia center that features bowling along with a strong coin-op component.
- CONTINUING EDUCATION -- This month's report on class XII of the AMOA Notre Dame Management program focuses on how small, family businesses can best handle the transition of leadership from one generation to another, either in a crisis or as part of a planned retirement.
- ON THE HUNT -- Chicago area game developer PlayMechanix has just completed their latest Big Buck Hunter game, called Big Buck Pro. They will release the two-player video offering head-to-head competition through a partnership with Raw Thrills and Betson.
- SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS -- Jukebox maker Rowe has released a new version of the software that controls their line of Internet jukeboxes including the interface with the factory's AMI music network server. Among other new features, this software upgrade enhances music management and supports credit card transactions.
- FIT FOR A KING -- Pat Klasno's King Plush is a mega-supplier of plush, and his kingdom of satisfied customers stretches far and wide. Pat and fellow King Plush staffers offer valuable insight about what makes their product distinctive and what buyers can look forward to this fall.
- THE CHAIRMAN SPEAKS -- Global VR's newly-appointed chairman of the board Jim DeRose, who also serves as president and CEO, says he is putting the company back on track with solid fundamentals and a strong commitment to the future of the company and the coin-op industry.
- VEGAS ON THE HORIZON -- The trade is already bracing for the one-two punch of AMOA and Fun Expos, set to open next month in Las Vegas. Catch our initial preview on these two important stops on the annual trade show calendar.
- STILL JUKIN'! If it's August, it's RePlay's annual jukebox special section with an up-close look at the music biz from the perspective of operators, manufacturers and even this month's cover story focus, Ecast Inc., the broadband music service for jukes. We also have a look at the current crop of jukeboxes as well as a profile on a unique video jukebox that is doing well in Canada.
- AMERICAN DREAM -- From its founding vision of furnishing inexpensive, reliable change machines to becoming a corporation with near ubiquitous product recognition, American Changer has shared its success with its clients. They also share their own details and some product tidbits with readers in August's Nuts & Bolts feature.
- YOUNG AND OLD -- In today's workplace, offices are populated with workers who run the gamut from so-called veterans whose births predate World War II to Generation Y staffers born in the '80s. Listen in on our latest coverage of the AMOA Notre Dame Program, as we delve into the nuances of managing workers from different generations.
- STATE SHOW SEASON -- Summer is the season for coin machine operators to gather for their annual state association meetings. They discuss the state of the biz and political hurdles past and future, elect officers, enjoy good food and fellowship, and often tee it up for a round of golf. This month, we have reports from Wisconsin and Minnesota.
- CAN YOU SPARE A NICKEL? After many years in the biz with notable accomplishments to his name, Jon Daugherty has devoted his energies of late to the concept of nickel arcades. The performance of NickelWorld locations have survived the test of time and continued to pay out.
- A COMBO MOVE -- Roxor Games and Andamiro have teamed up in an alliance that promises to usher in the next age of dance games. Its first model in a projected series is Pump It Up: In the Groove 2, a technological synthesis of the best that each company has to offer.
- START YOUR ENGINES -- Stern's new NASCAR Pinball, designed by Pat Lawlor and his team of creative engineers, features a playfield racetrack that encompasses the entire surface. The pin also sports a truck hauler that can launch a ball and a test toy car that the player can bang with the pinball.
- MORE RACING ACTION -- Global VR has driven its latest videogame, Need for Speed Underground, into arcades with new online tournaments. The game's heart-pumping capabilities have been knocking the socks off of even the most accomplished game racers, thanks to a design that makes it the next best thing to sitting in a Ferrari.
- INTERCARD'S INTERESTS -- The electronic debit systems firm has seen the popularity of its ultimate product soar. Giving greater efficiency to operators and customers alike, Intercard's One Card Solution tracks activity in multiple locations and provides convenience and various rewards.
- LEGAL DANCE OFF -- Konami's lawsuit against Roxor Games over its In the Groove dance simulation has sparked much talk in the industry and analysis on Internet message boards by players. The president of Roxor, Jason Asbahr, responds to the charges.
- A REAL PLUS -- Kansas-based prize distributor Ron Hill revolutionized not only the quality of prizes but their ordering and distribution as well. Redemption Plus' philosophy of offering solutions for operators has created success stories for virtually everyone at all levels of business. An extended look at Redemption Plus is this month's inaugural Prize Patrol feature.
- THE FIRST 20 YEARS -- Incredible Technologies has made its mark on the industry with the world famous golf video Golden Tee, as well as other popular games. This month, the game factory celebrates its first 20 years, as they look forward to the future with their new, always-connected version of golf, Golden Tee Live.
- YOUR BIGGEST BEEF -- What is it? That's what we asked operators for this month's Interface question. Their answers were individual and unique, just like the personalities of the independent business people that make up the operating trade.
- VNEA SILVER ANNY TOURNEY -- The "Valley League" has grown like a Canadian pine since its inception back in 1980, and its quarter century anniversary was celebrated in grand style at its recent Las Vegas international pool playoff. We also have thoughts from league patriarch Chuck Milhem.
- BACKBONE OF THE INDUSTRY -- That's what Arizona route pro Jim Hall says of the American street operator in his impassioned Stepping Up and Speaking Out this month. Reacting to a story in our recent arcade issue about a pizza chain that took over its amusement operations, Hall says: "Do what you do best and leave the game operations to your local street operator."
- MORE HOMEWORK-- RePlay continues its series of reports on the ongoing AMOA Notre Dame Management Program, Class XII, with a look at strategic positioning and how this kind of analytical approach can help you outdistance the competition.
- A WINNING COMBINATION -- Andamiro USA's new Winning Shot, a smaller version of Real Shooting, challenges players to use their shooting skills to win prizes, either directly or through a unique key-based bulk vending hardware attachment.
- A HYBRID SOLUTION -- Namco's newest version of Flamin' Finger is called the Hybrid because it offers both tickets and a merchandise prize vending unit for the player that conquers the game's maze. The game combines both tickets every time and high-end prizes for the best performances.
- KEEP ON ROCKIN' -- Rock-Ola may have gone digital with their line of Ecast-powered jukeboxes, but they haven't forgotten their roots. They are shipping a new CD floor model. The CD-9000-PV comes with a Peavey sound system (1080 Watts of true RMS Power) and vivid new graphics package.
- GET IN THE ACTION -- Brand new mixes with bodacious prize assortments have been released north of the border from ActionMatic. Details about these hot new mixes are discussed by the capsule maker and distributor's sales manager, Greg McPhail.
- REMEMBERING STEVE -- Around 50 tradesters gathered in early May to honor the memory of Steve Blattspieler, who passed away earlier this spring of cancer. The memorial took place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago, and RePlay was there to record the event for posterity.
- A CLASS ACT -- Chicago distributor Fred Skor, who retired earlier this year after more than 55 years in the business, tells how he got his start with World Wide in '49, working his way up the ladder and ultimately buying the company, which he just sold to longtime competitor American Vending Sales.
- TOURNAMENTS, ANYONE? Online tournaments remain a hot topic when it comes to pay-for-play video, and RePlay contributor Kevin Williams turns his keen analysis to a closer look at how they came to be and where there may be going in the future.
- SCHOOL DAYS -- AMOA's newest class of Notre Dame students, including RePlay editor Steve White, was back on the South Bend campus last month for another round of high-intensity education.
- A PREMIUM BENEFIT -- AMOA members faced with rising health care costs now have somewhere to go for sage advice on lowering premiums and tailoring insurance programs to meet their needs. The association has partnered with a firm called Mass Market Insurance Consultants to broker the best policy for its individual members.
- FILLING STATION BLUES -- Operators, like most small business people, are feeling the crunch of rising fuel prices. Listen in on this month's Operator Interface to hear how some route operators are dealing with the increasing cost of servicing and collecting locations.
- DARTING FAME -- Electronic dart game maker and tournament promoter Arachnid has just inducted the first four players into its newly-formed Hall of Fame: soft tip legends Bruce Holmes, Tom Pace, Teresa Nevills Murphy and Kathy Karpowich. Read more about their accomplishments.
- THE GRAND TOUR -- Sega is back with a new version of its hit driver OutRun 2. This follow-up called Special Tours offers new features and modes. The game will be available in two dedicated versions as well as an upgrade kit for OutRun 2 cabinets.
- TAKING OFF -- Skee-Ball is set to launch its newest skill-stop novelty game, Blast Off, a smaller version of the chasing light attraction Tower of Power. Align the lights properly, hit the stop button and win the jackpot.
- A REVOLT GIVEAWAY -- Tsunami Visual Technologies is using the Internet to promote its remote-control themed video driver ReVolt by staging monthly drawings for an $80 miniature remote control car as a prize for everyone who plays the game and enters their codes online.
- HOME RECREATION -- For years, the amusement biz has been fighting competition from home entertainment, console and computer games in particular. But in recent years, coin-op found a niche selling amusement products to the home. RePlay editor Steve White hit last month's BCA Billiard and Home Recreation Show in Vegas to learn more about this related trade.
- ARCADE EXTRAVAGANZA -- This month's RePlay is devoted to the arcade, be it a traditional stand-alone game room, overgrown sports bar with high-end games, or multi-attraction FEC. We also conducted our own poll of top arcade operators across the country to find out what's happening on the front lines.
- PRIZE PARADE -- Redemption Round Up, RePlay's regular prize feature section, is a perfect fit with this month's arcade special issue. Check out the latest prize offerings from the industry's top plush, toy and novelty suppliers.
- BEEN THERE, DONE THAT -- Arcade maven Steve Thomas, who has overseen game operations at high profile chains like GameWorks and Jillian's, got his start in the pizzacade biz with ShowBiz in the 1970s. He's back at it today, managing over 40 corporate stores for Peter Piper Pizza.
- SPORTS & FUN -- That's what makes the Big Dog sports bar and FEC one of Boston's hottest entertainment destinations. Learn how they went from humble bar to popular restaurant to a full-fledged family fun center with Merit games on every table and multiple simulator attractions.
- GO IT ALONE -- Can a stand-alone arcade make it in today's on-demand, high-expectation consumer marketplace? It's a tough question and one we posed to a group of top arcade operators across the country in this month's Operator Interface. Their responses may surprise you.
- MADE IN THE USA -- Shelti Inc., which is headed up by former Valley executives, is back in the business of making their own electronic dart game, decked out with all the bells and whistles needed to run modern day leagues and location promotions.
- GOLF, ANYONE? Video golf is still hot, and Global VR is on the first tee with their new PGA Tour Challenge game, which lets players customize their on-screen persona, save these changes on a player card, and challenge other competitors to player-run tournies.
- ONE STOP SHOP -- ICE has six new titles to add to their already expansive game catalog, including the new kiddie video Fishin' Time, the 3-player Monopoly pusher, kiddie merchandiser Mighty Mini, their themed sports games NBA Hoops and Line Drive and a new NASCAR-licensed kiddie sim.
- IT'S AN ACT -- Cecropia may not be a household name to most in the game trade, but their work will look familiar to fans of modern animation. This group of movie artists turned game developers is hoping to break into coin-op with a unique video called The Act.
- MIXED RESULTS -- Those who came were happy, reliving old times and checking out hot new product for times to come. But organizers of last month's ASI convention at Chicago's Hyatt were disappointed with the turnout. RePlay was there and has a comprehensive look at the people, product and special events that highlighted this spring's Windy City expo.
- TOUCHY SUBJECT -- Video games have gotten a bad rap, and worse, they have been targeted by legislative efforts that amount to what legal scholars see as a violation of First Amendment speech protection. Now, doctors are suggesting that games can be a positive developmental tool.
- VERY HIP -- Canadian distributor Hip Coin is an emerging player in the game supply business, striking an exclusive North American sales and marketing deal for three dedicated products from the Universal Space game factory in mainland China.
- STATE GROUP POW-WOW -- Officers and top execs from state associations around the country gather once a year under the sponsorship of the national AMOA to discuss their work representing the amusement trade. Hot topics at the Orlando state council meeting included Indian gaming, music licensing and smoking bans.
- 30 YEARS LATER -- Ohio's Big City Vending route celebrates 30 years in the business by taking a break to talk to RePlay correspondent Joel Vance about how they got started and how things have changed over the last three decades.
- BELIEVE IT OR NOT! Operators Interface this month about the weirdest locations they have ever operated in, or even contemplated placing, machines including everything from nudist colonies to fortune telling establishments and the ever-present adult-oriented locales.
- GOING GLOBAL -- Game whiz Tony Gatillo has got four new redemption game products from two separate firms including TJMPO's ticket spitting Maze Me Crazy and Fastrack, as well as Global Entertainment novelty games Silver Falls and Invader.
- SMART MOVES -- Smart Industries, best known for their cranes, bowed a raft of new product at Chicago's ASI, including the merchandise games Pile Up and Snake Charmer, the ticket game Crazy Weekend, a new version of their Toy Chest crane and the ticket eating/prize dispensing unit Prize Center.
- MERCHANDISE MANIA -- The redemption game pros at Benchmark have taken the plunge into merchandising with the release of three new units including two new ticket eaters one that gives prizes (Tickets to Prize) and another offering a coupon (Ticket Station) plus a merchandise version of their popular ticket game Slam-A-Winner.
- WHAT A DEAL -- Merit Industries is now offering operators a choice of two new price programs for their online MegaNet service. The Progressive Program lets connected operators purchase their software over 12 months, with no interest. The Ultra Program provides the benefit of the software kit program with the luxury of having factory staff handling all aspects of the TournaMAXX promotion.
- SHOWTIME IN CHICAGO! The coinbiz returns to its convention roots this month as AAMA brings its annual spring Amusement Showcase International back to the City by the Lake, the first time a major game show has been in Chicago in a decade. We've got a soup to nuts preview that includes a look back at ASI 1985 penned by publisher Eddie Adlum and a sneak peek at product expected to there.
- THE RIGHT TOUCH -- Music downloading in the coinbiz started with TouchTunes almost a decade ago, and they are still at it, growing their installed base past the 10,000 mark, driving down the cost of their hardware and boasting some pretty impressive collections, especially when the unit is hooked up to their mini TuneCentral server on location.
- NEW FACES -- This month's issue of RePlay is filled with new faces, companies that are just getting their start building or supplying product for the amusement industry including downloading jukebox developer View Interactive (pg. 69), novelty importer Primetime Amusements (pg. 72), photo booth supplier Face Place (pg. 77), virtual reality attraction operator and creator 3001 AD (pg. 129) and video kit maker Roxor Games (pg. 134).
- WISE BEYOND HIS YEARS -- Arcade operator Amar Patel, who bought out the former Capcom Nickel City in Northbrook, Ill., may only be 22 years old, but he's already a veteran operator, having started working at this same location when he was just 14. Learn how he has brought a fresh perspective to a traditional business.
- ARCADE DAYS -- What happened to the traditional stand-alone arcade, the location that used to drive this business? Hear first-hand how a number of well-known arcade operators have adapted to a changing world, and what their business looks like today.
- ROUGH COUNTRY -- Street operator Dan Thomspon covers a pretty unique stretch of real estate in America; his amusement and vending route services locations from Anchorage to Fairbanks, and farther north. No matter the temperature, his office is open for business and ready for a service call.
- CRAZY FOR CAPSULES -- Bob's Space Racers has a new coin-op game perfect for operators wanting to tap into the self-redemption movement. Capsule Craze, honored as the best game at last year's IAAPA, pits the player against a crafty air blower is a delicate games of skill and balance.
- GOING UNDERGROUND -- Over a year in development, the stage is now set for the release of Global VR's much-anticipated Electronic Arts-licensed driver Need for Speed: Underground, tapping into the continued popularity in tuner driver culture with some pretty cool cars.
- SKILL STOP CENTRAL -- Skee-Ball's new skill stop Spin-N-Win is easy to play and hard to resist; players simply pull the slot machine lever to start the lights spinning and then hit the stop button to stop the lights on a desired ticket value to win. Collections are already pretty impressive, we hear.
- MERGER MANIA -- The march of consolidation continues on with news of a major deal in the Midwest. Shaffer Distributing is acquiring the distribution business of competitor Cleveland Coin, giving them a foothold in Michigan and a bigger presence in Cleveland itself.
- NEW DIGS FOR ATLAS -- Another major player on the Midwest distribution scene, Atlas Distributing, recently opened a brand new office in the Chicago area. The 65,000-sq.-ft. facility boasts two separate showrooms and a full complement of parts, service, used games and sales. RePlay toured the facility in person.
- CITY OF BIG SHOWS -- Chicago used to be expo central for the jukebox and games biz, and it will be again next month when the AAMA-sponsored Amusement Showcase International returns to the downtown Hyatt. Check out our show preview.
- PET PEEVES -- In this month's Interface, operators sound off about the toughest hurdles they face in their respective markets. Their concerns cover the bases from a sagging local economy to decreased game returns, the price of new equipment and local regulation and law enforcement.
- THAT'S INCREDIBLE! Incredible Pizza's new Tulsa location was named one of IAAPA's best new FECs last year. The growing chain is more proof that good pizza and fun games are a great combination for the family. The new location has it all, including games, go-karts, bumper cars, mini golf, paintball and a bowling alley.
- AND NOW, LIVE -- As the holiday season approached, one of the most exciting experiments in the video game industry took flight as Incredible Technologies launched their new Golden Tee Live game. Immediately, the power of an always-connected competition became apparent.
- VERY HIP INDEED -- The coin machine business may no longer be cool to some, but Canadian distributor Hip Coin sees a lot of potential in the games being produced by a factory in mainland China, UNIS. The two companies have teamed up to offer three unique products to North America.
- START YOUR ENGINES -- Bay-Tek is set to ship the revamped Stock Car Challenge 2 car racing attraction, originally created by Victory Lane Ideas and acquired last year by the Green Bay-area factory. They have made scores of improvements to the remote control simulator.
- HOCKEY, ANYONE? Lazer-Tron's newest game, Spin-A-Zoid looks to be popular with both street and game room operators. The piece, designed by Bryan Hansen, emulates the play of air hockey in a much-smaller, street-friendly footprint.
- FAMILY FUN -- The keepers of the silverball torch at Stern recently bowed their newest pinball game, the HBO licensed Sopranos, based on the award winning series staring loveable wise guy Tony Soprano and the rest of family. The game features speech from the show plus a host of other innovations.
- EXTRA, EXTRA -- The 2004 IAAPA show in Orlando was huge on attendance, but a tad light on brand new coin-op product. See our speedy report.
- TAKING STOCK -- Lots of hot new games and upbeat shows all around characterized 2004, a year many see as a turn-around point for the consolidating amusement industry. Take a walk down memory lane as we look at the year's big events.
- PRIZES GALORE -- It may be the holiday season for the rest of the world, but amusement buyers are already prepping for the warmer months around the corner. To help them get ready, we bring this year's second installment of our soup to nuts look at prizes, Redemption Round-Up.
- DISTRIBUTING DOWN SOUTH -- Brady Distributing is celebrating its 60th anniversary this very month. We are commemorating that milestone in this issue with an anniversary special looking at the people and philosophy that have put Brady on the map down south, and kept them there.
- LIVE AND IN PERSON -- That's right, more than 400 operators, representing more than half as many route companies, descended on Chicago last month for the Golden Tee Live Summit, getting them ready for the big 500-game test.
- HITTING THE BOOKS -- Class XII of the much-revered AMOA Notre Dame program got underway in late October, even as Class XI was graduating. Get an inside look from a member of the newest class, RePlay's own Steve White, who reports on the course work, if not his grades.
- PUBLIC RELATIONS -- Putting a new face on the industry was the big topic at the recent meeting of West Virginia operators. They unveiled a new logo and marketing campaign to help them navigate the tricky waters of legalized gaming in their state.
- SMART MARKETING -- Kentucky's B.J. Novelty is already known around the trade as one of the savviest street routes out there. Now, they have taken marketing to a new level, publishing a player-oriented magazine tailored to promote their games and special events.
- STREET FIGHTER IS BACK -- Ultracade Technologies last month pulled back the curtain on their latest retro-game initiative, a new video called Street Fighter: Anniversary Edition with a handful of the franchise's most popular titles all in one cabinet.
- POOL TABLES PLUS -- The billiard pros at Valley-Dynamo continue to prove that they know more than just pool. This month, they are rolling out the sequel to Lighthouse, a new merchandise game called Stacker from LAI, plus two kiddie-focused air hockey tables, Blue Streak & Mini Splash.
- FIVE FIGURES -- That's how many TouchTunes downloading jukes are now in the field. In fact, the factory recently celebrated the placement of that 10,000th unit down in Florida.
- A HALF CENTURY OF FUN -- Namco Ltd., the Japanese video and redemption game factory known for hit titles that span decades (think Galaxian and Pac-Man to Ridge Racer and Tekken) is celebrating 50 years in business. The firm was founded by visionary Masaya Nakamura, who built the business from a two kiddie ride operation to a multi-dimensional global corporation that develops and markets arcade and consumer games, has operations around the world and is currently blazing new trails with wireless games. Check out our special anniversary special on Namco.
- THE PARKS SHOW COMETH -- Like clockwork, the week before Thanksgiving, the amusement and theme park trades get together for the mother of all trade shows, the annual International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions annual convention and show, taking place for the fourth year in a row at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
- EVERYBODY WAS SMILING -- Speaking of shows, this month's issue of RePlay features full coverage of the side-by-side AMOA and Fun Expo held in Las Vegas to rave reviews from the trade. Praise was universal for the product and attendance was robust. Add in a range of show specials and off the convention floor events and you've got a trade show daily double.
- CONNECTING TO THE FUTURE -- Cable vs. DSL? What about routers and hubs? Broadband lingo has become the buzz of the amusement game and juke industry as more products go online and operators look at networking their locations. Nobody knows this topic better than Ajax Interactive, a game operator that helps troubleshoot connectivity for others too.
- WHAT WAS HOT -- From teddy bear vendors to high-octane racers and high-energy seminars, there was a lot to like at this fall's AMOA and Fun Expo, and we polled those who attended for this month's Operator Interface. Check out what impressed the real pros.
- GETTING IT RIGHT -- Oklahoma operator Jim Kamas, who now specializes in FECs, says competition may be a natural part of business but not when it involves putting profits over people. "Looking back at my years in the business, I'd say one of the truly important things is mutual respect for your fellow vendors," he said. "I never bumped another operator. I never cut throats."
- MUSIC TECHNOLOGY SINGS -- Two of the major players in music downloading have unveiled new offerings. Ecast Inc. is rolling out its Unplugged Wi-Fi product while at the same time beefing up its back-end management tools. Meanwhile, TouchTunes has released a new software platform that makes it easy for operators to tap into broadband and much more.
- IN THE ZONE -- On the heels of a comprehensive new software package released in September, Merit debuts two new hardware pieces, Fun Zone, a ticket or coupon redemption version of Megatouch, and the new slim profile Elite Edge touchscreen.
- PRICING UPGRADE FOR POOL -- Global Billiard Mfg. has entered the adjustable pricing fray with an electronic acceptor that can retrofit almost any existing coin table that's already in the field. And here's the best part, their Matrix can be installed in most table's coin door opening with no routing or cutting of the cabinet.
- SHOWTIME -- The game trade will be arriving in Vegas (not long afer this issue rolls off the press) for the traditionally co-located AMOA and Fun Expos. Expect lots of good new product and special prices on both show floors, as well as a wealth of information in the seminar room and loads off fun away from the convention halls.
- 60 YEARS YOUNG -- Charlotte, NC-based Brady Distributing celebrated its 60th birthday in late August with a first-class day of festivities including a traditional vending and amusement open house, seminars, tournaments and a tasty pig roast. RePlay was on hand for the fun.
- MUSIC MAKERS -- The jukebox remains an industry staple even as the nature of the beast has changed, from 45 RPM to CD jukes, and now to networked downloading. RePlay conducted an informal survey of operators and found that digital acceptance has become the norm for many.
- MARION'S MOMENT -- This month, Marion Paul becomes the third woman to ascend to the presidency of the national Amusement and Music Operator's Association. The arcade operator has already proven herself a formidable power in a trade group dominated by route companies owned by men. Learn more about this dynamic leader in our profile.
- THUMBNAIL TWOFER -- Interestingly, both of this month's Thumbnail Sketch subjects got the coin game start in resorts Dan Sunday in the ski lodges of Colorado, Norb Meunier in his own Wisconsin Dells hotel. Both of these progressively oriented operators are opinionated and just plain fun to talk with.
- TOURNAMENT TIME -- Are you leaving money on the table? Game room operators who aren't tapping into player demand for live competition are, says Namco product guru and avid player Jason Arney. In one of the more insightful pieces we've seen, he details the tournament player culture and how to tap into it for additional profits.
- HOT, HOT, HOT! Dart maker Arachnid has expanded the abilities of their HotButton for a whole new dimension of game play by handicapping games in Casual Mode based on league scores. This lets players of any skill level compete against each other .
- THE REAL THING -- Toronto-based Visual Sports Systems' RealSports simulator utilizes real-life sports equipment, is operator adjustable and fully coin-operated with no attendant needed. There are six sports to choose from, all in one system or customized to an operator's needs.
- GOING UNDERGROUND -- Video game maker Global VR is set to release the latest in its series of Electronic Arts licensed driver, Need for Speed: Underground. This game, which sold 6.5 million copies to the home, taps into the "tuner" gamer culture with upgradeable cars.
- MERIT MATTERS -- Merit got a head start on the fall season this year when they started shipping new software for both Force 2005 and Maxx Jade in mid-August. With 19 new games for Force and 15 games for Maxx, this release offers a wide array of licensed content and operator features.
- READY FOR VEGAS -- Check out our comprehensive preview of this month's upcoming AMOA and Fun Expo shows. Everything you need to know to get prepped for the shows is right here at your fingertips including schedules and seminars.
- WINDY CITY POW-WOW -- AAMA held its annual meeting in downtown Chicago, complete with a Distributor Gala, as well as a series of official trade group meetings. Check out our first-hand coverage of the meetings and issues that were discussed at the leadership gathering.
- SETTING RECORDS -- That's what Twin Galaxies is all about, helping amusement operators hold contests and, hopefully, setting new world records on arcade video games. The score-keeping wizards there will even help out with promotional materials and tournament assistance.
- TEXAS JUKE JOINT -- Music was the main motif at the 31st annual Amusement and Music Operators of Texas convention, held in mid-July in Corpus Christi. More than 235 members of the trade showed up to celebrate the jukebox and get down to association business in the Lone Star State.
- IS IT TIME TO UPGRADE? That's the question that route and arcade operators always face. New games are the lifeblood of any operation, but spending too much on the wrong ones can have dire consequences. Read how operators deal with the dilemma in this month's Operator Interface.
- A GRAYING VETERAN -- Sal Lazuka may be counting gray hairs, as he told us in this month's Thumbnail Sketch, but that probably has something to do with a growing route that numbers over 300 locations in and around the Cleveland area.
- PRODUCT PIPELINE -- That's what AAMA distributor members got to see at this summer's association Distributor Gala. RePlay was there, too, and brings you a look at what you can expect to see at this month's AMOA Expo or your local distributorship open house.
- THE ULTIMATE GUIDE -- Product continues to take center stage in this special new machine driven issue of RePlay as we unveil the ultimate product buyer's guide, something we have dubbed the Buy Line. In short, this is a list of all the current jukeboxes and amusement games in production. When it comes time to set a new account, remember to check it out for just the right pieces.
- SLAMMIN' SAMMY -- Sammy USA, the domestic arm of the Japanese video game giant acquiring Sega, has already begun shipping their collaborative effort with SNK Playmore, King of Fighters Neo Wave. But that's just the beginning with three more games on the way including Dirty Pigskin, Extreme Hunting and Faster than Speed.
- PINBALL IS KING -- The King of rock 'N' roll, Elvis Presley, is now given his flipper dues with the latest release from Stern. The game, licensed from Elvis Presley Enterprises and designed by Steve Ritchie, features music from the King's two live TV specials.
- TRADE SHOW TEASER -- By the time you get this issue, the fall trade show season (AMOA and Fun Expo) will be right around the corner. Get your first glimpse at what to expect in Vegas, as well as all the necessary travel information.
- PARTS BIZ BUYOUT -- We first heard word last month that parts powerhouse Happ Controls had been bought out by a Chicago area investment firm. Get the full story on what the deal will mean for this vital supplier.
- 75 AND GOING STRONG! The distribution pros at Shaffer Distributing are celebrating 75 years in the coin biz, offering the operators of Ohio, Indiana and Missouri a strong tradition of service from four generations of Shaffer men. Read more about how they got there.
- PREXY POW WOW -- A group of 16 past AMOA presidents convened on downtown Chicago in late June, and not to plot out the future course of the industry. There were there, instead, to have fun, take in the sights and do a little reminiscing.
- DIRECT RESPONSE -- We polled our readers in this month's Operator Interface about, guess what, I.T.'s decision to sell direct to AMOA members. Almost to the operator, they remain concerned about what this means for the industry.
- SPEAKING OUT -- In addition to our Operator Interface, this issue is packed with the voices of operators speaking out about the current state of the industry including an Around the Route contribution from Charles Rowland (pg. 62), a guest essay by Ed Velasquez (pg. 76) and two thought-provoking columns from Gary Spencer (pg. 101) and Jerry Monday (pg. 97).
- HAVE A BALL with Benchmark's new kiddie flipper game Monster Ball. The piece offers little ones a winner every time bouncy ball as well as a chance to win one of two gumball jackpots.
- FAST AND FURIOUS -- The name says it all. Raw Thrills is hitting the road with their new driver, The Fast and the Furious. Designed by some of the same creators that created Blitz, this game from the hot new developer will get your wheels turning.
- FORTUNATE PUSHER -- ICE is releasing Wheel of Fortuneyes, you read that right. It's not the skill-stop novelty that was a big hit in 2001. This time, the license adorns a pretty nifty Crompton's pusher that is sure to get your attention.
- MADDEN KICKOFF -- Global VR is set to release a coin-op version of EA Sports Madden NFL, a game that has sold more than 35 million copies to the home and boasts 10 million regular players. Read more in this month's cover story.
- A DIRECT APPROACH -- Incredible Technologies, the factory behind the ever-successful Golden Tee Golf phenomenon and other popular games, shocked the industry by announcing plans to sell AMOA operators directly .
- WINDY CITY TRADE MEET -- AAMA members (including game factories, suppliers and distributors) will gather this month in Chicago. See what's on tap in the Windy City.
- EAT, DRINK & SEE NEW MACHINES -- This year's National Restaurant Show in Chicago saw the debut of a handful of new coin-op products including the Merit Wallette and RMC E-Bubbler (we've got product features on these too).
- HAPPY ANNY, HBI! It's been 70 years since Humbert Betti Sr. placed his first machines on location and began the huge organization that includes today's network of Betson and Imperial machine and parts depots. See our special celebratory section.
- BIG DEAL DAY -- On the very same Monday in late May, the trade learned of two different acquisitions in the national game operating trade. In the first, Seattle-based Coinstar purchased Sugarloaf for a whopping $235 million. Meanwhile, LBE chain Jillian's went into bankruptcy, but not before striking a deal to sell its larger stores to Dave & Buster's and some smaller spots to an outside investment firm. Read the stories in the news section of this issue.
- TOURNAMENT TIME -- Upstate N.Y. route operator Valley Vending started the New York 8-Ball Championship nearly three decades ago. Today, the tournament they run in conjunction with three other operators has come to symbolize the necessity of promotion in the coin machine biz.
- DELTA MUSIC MAN -- Louisiana's Donovan Fremin, this month's Thumbnail Sketch, is a third-generation route man whose family signifies all that is unique and charming about the Bayou State.
- STRIKING A CHORD -- Incredible Technologies made news in more ways than one this month, releasing the new bowling game Silver Strike to sell-out orders on the first day it was released.
- FOUR NEW VIDEOS -- Top Line Cabinets (TLC Industries), already well known as a maker of cabinets for games like Golden Tee, has begun manufacturing video titles of its own, licensed from consumer developers. Already they have four almost ready to hit the marke.
- CHAMPIONSHIP III AND GT -- Global VR has released their newest version of PGA Golf, the Championship III edition that contains a handicapping system that should drive player participation and earnings, as well as a new revved-up version of Need for Speed called GT.
- FEW SURPRISES -- That was the word coming from this year's 10th Annual E3, the massive consumer game show held mid-May in LA. As the homevid industry finds itself in between hardware generations, the big buzz was handhelds and several long awaited software titles. Find coverage in Steven Kent's column this month and our Jeremy Goldstone's full report.
- VEGAS SHOWS CONTINUE -- On the heels of this spring's ASI expo, a number of factories, distributors and operators have returned to Las Vegas once, and some twice more for the recent bulk vending and billiard shows.
- SOLD! That's what you will hear, if you log on to Super Auction's Ebay simulcast this month, a first for coin-op, as the rapidly-growing auction firm connecting operators to consumers gives online bidders a taste of the games they have to offer.
- LONE STAR WELCOME -- Distributing powerhouse Betson Enterprises threw an impressive Texas-style party opening their newest branch, Betson Texas, in Dallas. RePlay was there firsthand to see the impressive line-up of equipment and meet some of their new operator customers.
- AN EARLY START -- This month's Thumbnail subject, New York operator Larry Hilimire, got his start cleaning vending machines for his dad as a young boy. He says the coinbiz has been good to him and his family. "I look forward to getting up every morning," declares Larry.
- IN PRAISE OF PRIZE GAMES -- Street operators are still relatively new to redemption, but a recent crop of games (Gravity Hill, Lighthouse, etc.) has opened up new vistas for the route biz, say this month's Operator Interface subjects.
- TAKE A U-TURN -- Great American Recreation's new Boom-A-Rang table is an air hockey bent into a unique V-shaped attraction, cutting down on floor space and offering players the chance to stand side by side as they compete.
- PUMPED! Andamiro's newest dance sim upgrade, Pump It Up Exceed, provides more than just new music. It also offers a chance to upgrade the game from a CD-ROM driven attraction to more reliable hard drive technology.
- COLOR ME DIGITAL -- NSM's long-awaited digital downloading jukebox, the Chameleon, is set to begin shipping this month. Factory execs say they have put a tough year behind them and are moving full steam ahead.
- SMOKE 'EM IF YOU CAN because many locales across the U.S. are considering or have already passed a ban on smoking in public places, including privately-owned bars and restaurants. Get an update on what affect this kind of legislation can have on game, pool and juke earnings, and what the industry is doing to monitor and combat this trend.
- EMERALD ISLE EXPO -- The trade in Ireland is alive and well, according to reports from this year's Irish Amusement Equipment Assn. Expo, held in Dublin. This year's show also hosted a series of high-level association meetings and the first presentation of the Mary Openshaw Award.
- ROCK ON-LINE -- This month's cover story takes a closer look at the emergence of a new line of downloading broadband jukeboxes from the CD and nostalgia mavens at Rock-Ola Mfg. in Torrance, Calif. Read more about the headway they are making in the marketplace, working in conjunction with the music providers at Ecast Inc.
- THE OTHER SHAFFERS -- That's right, there are two families with the same name who have made a successful place for their companies in the Buckeye State coin biz. Read all about Pick, Kerry, Monica, Randy and Todd, who collectively run a growing amusement route in the Dayton area.
- THREE IN ONE -- Following up on last year's extensive look at LAN gaming, we profile LanWerX, a Seattle-based location that is quickly growing into a small chain in the Pacific Northwest. The store combines PC, coin-op and console gaming experiences for a video game smorgasbord.
- MAN FOR ALL SEASONS -- Likeable tradester Steve Walton has worn several hats in this industry, running his own operation, serving as a factory sales rep and starting a manufacturers' rep firm with brother Pete. Recently, Steve checked in with an update on his always-hectic activities.
- JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE -- Incredible Technologies' Free Automated Contest and Tournament Software (FACTS) allows operators access to game-play data and enables them to use this information to conduct contests and tournaments from the convenience of their office PCs.
- OFF TO THE RACES -- Namco America is about to roll out two new driving attractions. Wangan Midnight: Maximum Tuning, set to be released this summer, utilizes a paper card reader that stores and updates a player's progress. Ring Riders is the latest Gaelco license from Namco, offering a special twist on the classic motorcyle racing game.
- A TAILORED BEAR -- That's what you get from the new interactive vending machine introduced this spring by uWink Inc. Customers can customize the clothing and accessories for their favorite bear, all of which is stocked in specially designed packaging inside the unit.
- IT'S ROUNDUP TIME! RePlay's Redemption Roundup has returned for this first time in 2004. Get a comprehensive look at the best and most popular items the major prize suppliers have to offer, all compiled in an easy-to-use format.
- CHICAGO BOUND -- Last month's ASI in Las Vegas saw more than 60 new products debut, and good business was done by exhibitors despite the light turnout. But the big news of the show was that the 2005 event is moving to Chicago, hopefully to draw more operators. See our full coverage of this year's Vegas show, including booth photos, new products and other special ASI events.
- PRODUCTS GALORE -- That's what ASI show sponsors promised, predicting as many as three dozen or more new game debuts at this year's spring show. Their expectations where surpassed, as it's clear to see from our extensive catalog of product never before seen by the trade.
- ANOTHER ROUND -- The Nightclub and Bar Show was again held side by side with ASI last month in Las Vegas, although this year there were no free passes to the game convention. Coin machine exhibitors at the bar show said they still generated considerable attention for their wares from location owners and managers.
- \CONTINUING EDUCATION -- Incredible Technologies hosted their second annual operator summit in late February, this time in Atlanta, and more than 100 operators came out to learn more about how to maximize earnings through the factory's online suite of promotional tools.
- ROI BLUES -- Chicago jukebox operator Ed Velasquez, an ongoing RePlay contributor, discusses the challenges operators face in today's market when it comes to investing new dollars in equipment. The toughest part of the business, says Ed, is finding a game that brings new players or opens new location doors. The good news is that things are beginning to look brighter.
- THOUGHTS ON HOME -- Home video, that is. This month's Operator Interface looks at what operators think about the rise of home games. We asked, "Friend or foe?" "Both," said many we talked with, noting that today's industry hopes to use the best from home in the arcade and on the street.
- SMOKIN' -- Rowe debuted at ASI their newest digital jukebox, the smaller sized, value priced floor model, The Flame. With blazing graphics and content powered by Ecast Inc.'s Version 2 software, this juke is sure to heat up earnings at locations everywhere.
- OUT OF THIS WORLD -- ICE recently bowed their newest alley bowler, Dunk N' Alien, featuring a moving, talking alien character who heckles the player, spurring them on to try harder, and play the game more often. Three hits wins a special bonus, and lots of tickets.
- FANTASTIC FLIPPER ADVENTURE -- Stern's newest pin game, designed by Pat Lawlor, is the new Ripley's Believe it or Not. Players travel with the legendary Robert Ripley across seven continents on the playfield to discover the strange, bizarre, and unusual, including a shrunken head.
- ULTRA COMEBACK -- Ultracade Technologies, maker of the retro game system featuring dozens of classics all in one cabinet, has been through thick and thin in this challenging market, and they continue to forge ahead with exciting new projects. Get the scoop on this game development dynamo.
- THOSE WHO CAN -- The old adage is those who can, do and those who can't teach. The laser tag mavens at LaserTron do both. The Amherst, N.Y. firm recently celebrated the 15th anniversary of their own location, which helped launched the firm's retail product line, by offering extensive educational opportunities to their customers.
- MOVERS & SHAKERS -- Two big names in distribution made news: Atlas Distributing sold out to fellow Chicago-based Signature Sales and Service, and Betson opened up a new storefront in Dallas, after acquiring Spirit Distributing.
- SHOWTIME! If it's March, it's ASI. The coin-op business will descend upon the Las Vegas Convention Center March 9-11 for the Amusement Showcase International. AAMA toppers say we can expect dozens of new games, plus special events.
- LONDON CALLING -- ATEI is the first big trade event of the year, and we've got a first-hand look from editor Steve White, who made the trek to London and brought back a wealth of insight on new product and why U.S. tradesters make the annual trip across the pond.
- RAW TALENT -- Eugene Jarvis has been designing video games since Defender, his very first effort. Now, he's formed a new company, Raw Thrills, and will be coming to ASI with its maiden effort, a shooter called Target: Terror, backed by the marketing muscle of Betson.
- MEETING OF THE MINDS -- Tobacco regulations, assault on video content and, of course, gaming were hot items on the agenda at this year's Council of Affiliated States Meeting, held during mid-January in San Diego. Read more about this annual gathering of state association leaders.
- SET 'EM UP, JOE -- A fresh, new RePlay straw poll on the U.S. "tavern route" shows the number of watering holes declining, according to operators who responded to our questionnaire. It's still the darling of the route, however, so there's no need to go hide in a bottle of hooch, yet.
- THE FUTURE IS HERE -- The U.K.'s Leisure Link, arguably the world's largest operation with 90,000 machines, is blazing new trails in online games and music, linking their own 2.8 million-song digital juke system with amusement and gaming machines on location.
- NO WALLFLOWER -- The new wall-hung digital juke from Rock-Ola, the Wall-Rock, will be the first unit to deploy Ecast's all new Version 2 software platform. "The beta boxes are working great and the revenue is unbelievable," reports RMC prexy John Schultz.
- LONG DISTANCE RUNNER -- Sega's four-player Derby Owner's Club opens new markets including, most recently, the travel center industry. "This is a game that increases food and beverage sales and brings in a new player base," said Barbara Joyiens. "That's been proven across the board."
- SECOND GENERATION SAMMY -- Sammy USA is unleashing its second generation of Atomiswave games including a sport shooter called Ranger Mission, the driver Chicago 1929 and two fighters: Guilty Gear Isuka and Rumble Fish.
- BOWLING FOR (COLLECTION) DOLLARS -- That's the idea behind AMF's new high-end bowling attraction, ThunderBowl. It's a scaled-down version of real-life bowling that is self-contained and, most importantly, currency-operated for a wide variety of venues.
- SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN -- That's just one way to describe Memphis jukebox maven Cotton Pennington, longtime partner at Sammons Pennington, who is still going strong and serving music and games operators down south with his wit and wisdom.
- MUCH NEEDED R&R -- U.S. soldiers on leave from the fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan now have a state of the art game room to enjoy at a Bavarian rest and recuperation resort run by the military. Many of the new games were expressly donated by top coin-op game factories.
- SOUP TO NUTS -- Visual Technologies, the simulator game maker that is gracing this month's RePlay cover, is now covering all the bases as they roll out new motion simulator cabinets and game combo packs, as well as an upgrade kit that will allow operators to run their popular software on existing upright cabinets.
- BOUND FOR SACRAMENTO -- No, we're not talking about "The Terminator." But longtime northern California route operator Chris Schneider of Schneider Vending is hoping to join the movie star turned governor in the state's capital city. Read all about his run for the state senate.
- WHERE THERE'S SMOKE -- There may still be a cigarette vending machine, but it's not healthy, say this month's operators as they Interface on the state of the tobacco vending business. Suffice to say, the market is no longer red hot.
- MIDWESTERN VALUES -- Wisconsin operator Roger Westmont exemplifies much that is often lauded about the Midwest, including his can-do attitude combined with an industry veteran's ability to weather challenges.
- IT'S TEE TIME -- Incredible Technologies will release their new Golden Tee 2005 update including seven new courses on Feb. 13. Operators have already begun ordering the new update online, and the factory is promising a host of new features for both operators and players as the much-awaited annual tee time for profits approaches.
- THE ADVENTURE RETURNS -- Dragon's Lair, the classic "laser disc" adventure game that caused such a stir in the 1983-84 coin-op amusement world, is back, this time running on industry-proven electronics and at a great price, says its maker, Howell Ivy, seen here with a prototype at IAAPA.
- SAME SONG, SECOND VERSION -- The broadband content gurus at Ecast Inc. bowed their new media platform, known as Version 2, at last month's Consumer Electronics Show. This Microsoft-driven system provides operators with a powerful new set of online tools for their Rowe and Rock-Ola digital jukeboxes.
[Back to 2004 Main Menu]
- SAFE HARBOUR -- The investment group that acquired Merit last year snapped up jukebox and changer maker Rowe International by way of a last-minute bidding effort in late October.
- LOOKING BACK -- It's been one heck of a year for coin-op, and we've got a look back at the newsmakers of 2003, not to mention a few thoughts on what may be ahead for the trade.
- ONLINE GAMES -- If players had access to more information about where coin-op games are located, would this drive more business? That's what the new website Barcade.com is betting on. Set to launch this month, the Betson offshoot venture hopes to link players, locations and promotions.
- TOURNAMENT TIME -- Sports celebrities, fantasy prize packages and futuristic-feeling marketing technology characterize JDLs' raft of traditional-games-turned-promotional-tourney-machines.
- MORE THAN JUST GAMES -- Industry guru Kevin Williams, in the second of a two-part series exclusive to RePlay, takes a look at how the high-end game room market has evolved.
- CASTLE IN THE AIR -- As Enchanted Castle (acknowledged by many as a prototype of what has become the modern, multi-attraction FEC) celebrates its 20th anniversary, owners and employees reminisce about what has made the Enchanted Castle great: people. (Hey, there's even an FEC-based wedding story in there!)
- GETTING INSIDE GAMERS' HEADS -- How has the LAN gaming phenomenon affected culture around the globe? Academic Mike Liskin addresses just that question with his study of gamer culture, from PC game tournaments to the teams who are addicted to competing in them.
- IT'S A (LAN) WRAP -- As the Year of the LAN draws to a close, RePlay revisits some of the highlights in our year of exploring the phenomenon of consumer games like PCs and consoles used in a consumer environment.
- ENLIGHTENING -- That's what the LAI product Lighthouse has been for Valley Dynamo, their sales reps in the U.S. Read how they created a market for this high-end merchandiser, along with a look at some new games coming to the U.S. from the Pacific Rim gamesmiths at LAI.
- TOYS & STUFF -- Desert Collectibles brings their Create a Critter toy-stuffing kiosk to the plate. It's a small-footprint, all-in-one toy stuffer that lets customers choose the empty toy of their choice, dress it up in a costume, and watch an attendant stuff their customtoy, complete with cradle and birth certificate.
- VROOM, VROOM! Race Car Simulators' NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway racing sim, shown for the first time at IAAPA, touts authentic styling based on the popular NASCAR franchise. Execs say the 12-to-15-minute attraction is a great way to generate location traffic.
- X-TREMELY FUN -- The new winner-every-time X-Treme Fun E Ball redemption machine combines skill maze play with fresh graphics and a host of merchandising options for round-vend balls or capsules and prize pucks. The factory also supplies a special prize mix especially for the machine.
[Back to 2003 Main Menu]
- A DIGITAL TURNING POINT -- The jukebox business was the talk of the AMOA show as the last two major hold-outs, NSM and Rock-Ola, officially entered the digital arena by signing on with hardware offerings that will allow operators to tap into the Ecast online music network.
- PARKS SHOW PREVIEW -- It's November and that means IAAPA to many in the amusement game trade. Long known as the most important event for the theme park biz, this mega-convention now hosts many coin-op debuts, too. Check out our full preview of the show in Orlando.
- THE WHOLE ENCHILADA -- This month's RePlay contains comprehensive coverage of late September's AMOA and Fun Expos, held side-by-side in Las Vegas. We bring you all the product and industry news from these all-important amusement trade shows, including reports on the shows and meetings and an extensive new product catalog.
- LORD OF THE FLIPPERS -- Stern Pinball will begin shipping their latest title this month, The Lord of the Rings. Through a license with Hollywood powerhouse New Line Cinema, Stern is bringing the movie trilogy to life on the flipper playfield in what may well be the most impressive release yet from the Chicagoland factory.
- MEET YOUR MAKER -- Organized by the national operator's association, the Meet Your Maker seminar at AMOA Expo featured a no-holds-barred discussion of the challenges and concerns of all three levels of the industry. It opened up a line of communication between operators and suppliers and left both energized for the future.
- HOW WAS YOUR SHOW? That's what we asked operators roaming the aisles of the AMOA and Fun Expos on the last day of the events. Former AMOA topper Lee Wesson's comments aptly sum up their feelings: "I think it's the best show we've had in years. It's Friday after 3PM and there are still people on the floor. The aisles are still busy. Since when does that happen?"
- BOWLING FOR DOLLARS -- Program X from major bowling supplier Qubica has risen from the ashes of what used to be Mendes. The Italian software firm has re-made the former attractions, producing two exciting bowling attractions, Buggy Bowl and Route 66.
- USE THE FORCE -- A new dedicated Star Wars game on an updated TsuMo base and helicopter shooter software for their existing TsuMo hardware highlighted Tsunami's offerings at this fall's AMOA. Get the details on these new releases from the motion sim pros.
- PAINTBALL, ANYONE? Team Play's Crossfire: Maximum Paintball is a first-person gun game that nonetheless comes with a yellow sticker for the simple reason that paintball shoots paint, not bullets, so it's non-lethal. Read all about this new one-to-two-player shooter.
- Ready, Set, GO! Chicago Gaming may be a new name in coin-op, but this Churchill Cabinet offshoot has been making home games for almost a decade. Now, they're off and running with an impressive kiddie racer, Nicktoons Racing, sporting the Nickelodeon license and that means SpongeBob
- SHOW REPORT -- RePlay staffers were just returning to the office from AMOA and Fun Expo as this issue went to press. Look for initial expo coverage in several strategic areas throughout the magazine, including Hot Off The Press, for the latest news from the fall's major coin game and FEC shows.
- ROWE RESTRUCTURES -- The venerable juke maker Rowe International is undergoing some radical surgery after years of struggling under a massive debt load. They are also rewiring their distribution network.
- MORE SHOWS ON THE WAY -- There's no rest for the weary, and this doubly so this fall for route and arcade operators with the national NAMA vending expo (see next item) and IAAPA parks show still set to come. Kicking off the previews is our look at the IAAPA megashow its 85th annual event which opens in Orlando Nov. 17. Organizers expect 30,000+ to view the more than 1,300 exhibits.
- NAMA DISHES UP FOODSERVICE -- The new Foodservice Pavilion is slated to take center stage at this month's NAMA National Expo with cooking demos, top chefs, educational seminars and more. Also on tap is a special pre-expo seminar on doing savvy battle with convenience store competitors.
- MR. PROMOTION -- Phil Webb of ASAP Vending is this month's Thumbnail subject, and he is full of good ideas about how to promote games on the route. Read about this 30-something operator who is fast growing his route in the suburbs of Chicago.
- ARCADES HOLD STEADY -- Now that the vital summer arcade season has passed, our Operator Interface reports that collections have held pretty steady, with a few modest (and one enormous) increases. Arcade ops credit everything from weather to location, but two things remain constant in a successful arcade: a good mix of machines and attractions, and listening to the customer.
- SECRETS OF THREE HYBRIDS -- What do an FEC with LAN games, a PC game center with coin-op games and an experimental boutique arcade all have in common? Besides being consumer/coin-op hybrids (offering PC or console games alongside coin machines), these three locations all emphasize putting their customers first, providing value for players as well as the cashbox, and experimenting to find out what works even if what works doesn't fit into traditional boundaries.
- MERIT MAKES IT HAPPEN -- Merit Industries rolled out a raft of new product at last month's AMOA Expo, including the sleek-profile countertop called the e.V.o. as well as the Fusion upright, not to mention lots of new software and operator-friendly features. Get the full Merit scoop.
- DARTING TO & FRO -- Snazzy graphics and a color flatscreen monitor catch the eye in Medalist Marketing's Spectrum Avanti, but execs say it's the high-tech electronics that are the real powerhouse in this new dartboard. Read about its flexible programming, promotions, networking and more.
- TOUCHDOWN -- Namco America is already shipping their new football video NFL Classic Football. The game offers exciting, spinning trackball action that is both physical and rewarding when you complete your play, just like the original video football we all remember.
- SHOW BUSINESS -- As the AMOA and Fun Expos hit the Las Vegas Convention Center this month, so do new focuses for the side-by-side shows. AMOA has orchestrated such social affairs as a pre-show golf outing and Hoover Dam tour, with Fun Expo hosting the first Fun Expo Paintball Invitational. For more on the shows' increased networking and alternate revenue stream themes, along with schedules, seminars and a peek at who'll be on the show floor, check out our previews.
- MORE THAN JUST GOLF -- That was the message at Global VR's San Jose distributor meeting last week. RePlay was there and saw the latest Championship Edition PGA golf game as well as a new licensed driver, EA's Need for Speed, and a revived shooter, The Last Bounty Hunter.
- SEGA SESSIONS -- Game factory Sega showed its new line of games to distributors at three separate stops last month (New Jersey, Chicago and L.A.). Read about the new games including Border Down, Cycraft, F-Zero, Jungle Treasure and Virtua Cop 3.
- EVERYTHING PLUS THE KITCHEN SINK -- More than just a distributor, Chuck Weiner's shop includes a wide selection of coin-op artifacts, signs, collector's items and pinball memorabilia. (P.S. You won't believe it, but he's also got auto parts!) Check out our feature of Chuck and his eclectic collection.
- ON TARGET -- Even if operators can't agree on whether dart leagues are up, down or truly profitable in a quantitative sense, one thing's clear: running leagues helps cement relationships with location owners, and that's always good for the bottom line. This month's Operator Interface is a crash course in different marketing techniques, promotions and tactics for running dart leagues, along with some philosophy and history for good measure.
- PC GAME CENTER REGS & OTHER BATTLES -- From a task force to address pending PC game center regulations in Los Angeles to a licensing committee to face the ambiguous issue of PC and console games for commercial use, game center association iGames is broadening its public role in reaching government officials and game publishers.
- NSM UPDATE -- The phonograph pros at NSM Music are shipping product again, including their newly designed CD floor model The Phoenix. RePlay got a first-hand look at the units being built at Chicago's Happ Controls and received last minute word (reported in Hot Press) that the U.K. factory has brought on more sales muscle, including U.S. distribs Deith and Betson.
- BnB ARCADE KIT -- The combination of block-breaking action and an all-out water balloon fight meets coin-op with BnB Arcade, the Eolith video available now as a universal kit from Apple. Players throw water balloons at their opponent in this side-scroller, which includes eight different 2D settings and various levels for a game that accomplishes both simplicity and depth. Find out more about the game that's been a top winner in Korea's online game industry.
- ATOMISWAVE ASSAULT -- Sammy USA is beginning to roll out a series of followup titles for its Atomiswave game platform including the gun game Sports Shooting as well as a fighting game, Demolish Fist, and a driver, Maximum Speed. The factory has a new electronic bulk vending machine, too, called the Sammy Prize Station.
- SHOW TIME -- AMOA is all set with some fun new activities, including a tour of the Hoover Dam and golf outing, during next month's International Expo in Las Vegas.
- THE JUKEBOX REPORT -- RePlay's annual jukebox issue is here with a comprehensive look at the coin-op music market that includes an operator survey, market update from factory toppers, news on piracy enforcement, our cover story on the digital juke pioneers at TouchTunes, Operators Interfacing on their own jukebox perspective, new product from Rock-Ola and a brief profile of a possible new player (Songbird) in the digital music market.
- PHOENIX RISING -- That's right, NSM began shipping their new floor model CD juke, the Phoenix, as well as product from their parent company in the U.K. last month. Read this jukebox story with a happy ending for a recently embattled company.
- LASSO THAT MERCHANDISE -- Check out Redemption Roundup, our extensive plush and novelty section cataloging more than 20 suppliers' offerings for this season. Get an eyeful of hot licenses from Nickelodeon to Marvel, and trends from superheroes to playground balls, along with items to round out this summer's cranes and prize counters and get them ready for fall and winter.
- ASSOCIATIONS AT WORK -- State groups across the country held meetings and conventions during the early part of the summer. Look for first-hand coverage of the Illinois show as well as reports from Michigan and Wisconsin elsewhere in this issue.
- JUKEBOX JIVE -- Jukeboxes are a route's lifeblood, jukeboxes are inconsequential, digital jukeboxes are the best thing since sliced bread, digital jukeboxes just don't cut it compared to CDs. This month's extended Operator Interface poses a spectrum of viewpoints about the music route, from the debate about digital's undeniable mark in today's market to talk of music programming, pricing, the economy, and getting into resistant locations.
- I LIKE COFFEE, I LIKE PC -- Following the PC game center trend, California's PlaNet Cyber Internet Café offers a coffeehouse vibe with food/bev service as an additional revenue stream to computer use, along with retail game sales and computer design classes. Check out their technologically-enhanced service strategy to bring players in and get them to stay longer.
- IN THE ZONE -- PC games incorporated into an existing arcade or FEC is the most strategic business model for pay-for-play networked games, says LAN Zone, the networked games venture of cabinet maker TLC Industries that provides plug-and-play coin-op cabinets for PCs and consoles. These PC/coin-op hybrid systems, tech support, marketing tools and other offerings mark LAN Zone's reinvention as a PC game center one-stop.
- TWO FOR TWO -- Rock-Ola's Digital 9000 and Vivo wallbox, the first two of their Digital SyberSonics generation of jukeboxes, are highlighted by bright, colorful design and great sound. The more efficient CD boxes are also capable of using the remote management system Get Connected, with programmable pricing and other features manipulated from the operator's PC.
- VALLEY-DYNAMO GETS NEW OWNER -- Half a decade after the coin-op industry's two top billiard factories merged, the combination now has a new owner in the form of an even bigger pool table company, home table maker Brunswick.
- AAMA ANNUAL POW WOW -- The American Amusement Machine Association has elected its new chief, Frank Cosentino of Namco America, who will serve as chairman for the next two years. Check out coverage of AAMA's annual meeting as well a joint visit to Capitol Hill with AMOA.
- E3 HITS L.A.-- More than 62,000 homevid industry members descended on the E3 consumer show in Los Angeles to see console, PC and mobile phone game wares. Though there was excitement over a handful of new titles, a general sense of lackluster pervaded. Coin-op presence was practically nil, though some new sports titles were mentioned as possibilities for porting over to coin machines.
- ICE-ING ON THE CAKE -- It's been twenty years since the very first Chexx hockey game shipped from the Buffalo, N.Y. factory Innovative Concepts in Entertainment, and they sure have come a long way from those humble roots in the last two decades. Read the story of their evolution and meet the people behind their success.
- GOOD PR -- Despite a past of questionable public portrayals, many of those polled in this month's Operator Interface name improved technology, kid-friendlinesss, home games and savvy promotions as reasons the public perception of coin-op has brightened in recent times.
- SUMMIT LEVEL TALKS -- More than 150 operators from across the country traveled to Chicagoland last month for Incredible Technologies' first-ever Operator Summit. The focus: making more money with operator-run promotions.
- A COIN-OP PC ROUTE -- When an arcade customer asked about networked PC games a year and a half ago, Canadian distrib/op Pacific Vend figured it wasn't their business. Then they saw the struggling arcade turn around collections with this so-called consumer offering. Now the PC/coin-op hybrid company has more than 120 of their own coin-op PCs out on the route bringing in quarters and tokens.
- RISING MACHINE -- Arnold Schwarzenegger hits the big screen this month in the U.S. release of Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines. And from the key members of the design team that brought you Terminator 2: Judgment Day comes Stern's newest licensed flipper based on the movie.
- FIGURE EIGHT -- A battery-operated bill acceptor, programmable pricing and new cloth and rails are just some of the new features on Valley's new Great Eight pool table. Those who've been testing the new table seem to have good reviews, too.
- CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION -- That's the name of the newest upgrade for Global VR's EA Sports PGA Tour Golf game that will include crisper graphics, more courses and players and ultimately, later this year, the ability to host league play.
- FORCEFUL -- ICE's new video gun Special Forces Elite Training, designed by Big Buck Hunter developer Playmechanix, is shipping dedicated and looks to come out later as a kit.
- Sega In Transition -- Speculation over the future of video game powerhouse Sega is nothing new in the coin machine business lately, but it reached new heights last month as merger talks with both Sammy and Namco fell apart. Meanwhile, top coin-op execs Al Stone and Howell Ivy have both stepped down. Barbara Joyiens has been tapped to lead the U.S. organization.
- Interesting Stuff -- This month's PC game center profile focuses on the Sacramento area's Stuff About Games, a turnkey product supplier turned operator. But it's also about founder James Mecham's burgeoning relationship with a coin game veteran from the same area.
- Back to the Future -- RePlay contributor Joel Vance, a veteran coin trade journalist, covers the Betson Baltimore open house and takes us on a walk down the industry's own unique memory lane, 10th Avenue in New York.
- The MAINE EVENT -- This month's Thumbnail subject, Maine native Ross Furman, has been running a route for a quarter century now, employing good ol' Yankee know-how to make the best of his home state's harsh weather and good people.
- The Name of the Game -- Operators from around the country confirm what many of the trade's gurus have been saying of late, namely that we are having a banner season for new equipment. Read their responses in this month's Operator Interface.
- Making Waves -- Splash Lagoon is a 77,000-sq-ft. water park in Erie, Penn., that just opened up to much fanfare. One of the many attractions inside is a $1.25 million, 6,500-sq.-ft. game room on the main mezzanine offering more than 100 games that cover the spectrum of available product.
- Pinball 2003 Europe's TAB-Austria gave the U.S. trade a preview this spring of their new concept game called Virtual Pinball. The unique piece mimics the style of play found in traditional flippers on a 42-inch plasma display.
- Making Big Bucks -- Rowe operators around the country are using an optional feature on the factory's online jukeboxes -- namely a bill acceptor that takes $10s and $20s -- to really boost collections. Read their ideas.
- A New (Game) Player Emerges -- Longtime FEC operator J. Richard Oltmann has opened his own game factory, Family Fun Companies, after more than a decade of designing games for other firms. Read all about his fascinating career in this month's Spotlight Special.
- Sound and Fury -- That's what preceded this year's ASI show in Las Vegas, but the show ultimately signified something unexpected less controversy over the presence of location owners from the nearby Nightclub & Bar Show and more focus on what is being praised as some of the best game goods seen in years. Read our full report on the ASI show, along with a new equipment catalog, as well as coverage of the bar show and the Western NAMA vending expo.
- A Hot Dish -- Also in Vegas in late March, the International Pizza Expo dished more than 5,000 attendees, 900 exhibitors and a floor full of pizza parlor-related products and services. Sample a taste of how amusement industry exhibitors fared there.
- A LAN Center Duo -- Continuing our ongoing coverage of the curious PC game center market, we have two features this month. First, there's a profile of iGames marketing director Sanford Betz. Learn more about this personality-plus organization man and clubhouse-style game center operator, from his beginnings to thoughts of the industry's future. We also take an in-depth look at how the coin-op amusement business really views the connection between itself and its sister PC game center industry. Read this and other views (plus the debut column on all this by our own Kate Miller).
- Last Call -- Instead of our regular Operator Interface, RePlay polled visiting Nightclub & Bar attendees on the ASI show floor to find out why they were there, with answers ranging from buying equipment to "Oh, I thought this was the same show".
- Giving Away Money -- Thumbnail Sketch subject Scott Tartaglia of Shamrock Vending in the New York area has focused his biz like a laser light on the ATM market. He says they are ideal vending units for street operators.
- Hail to the New Chief -- This month's interview with the AMOA president marks the first time Chris Warren has been in our hot seat. Listen to his report on the association's recent mid-year board meeting and other AMOA happenings.
- Rockin' Rowe -- The subject of this month's cover story is the venerable jukebox manufacturer Rowe International, often seen as leader of the CD market. Now, the Grand Rapids, Mich., factory is also getting into the digital game, both with its Ecast partnership and on its own serving as a music provider for digital customers in international markets.
- Making Noise -- Rock-Ola's Digital SyberSonics jukeboxes come with the brawn of improved music machines and the brains of their new Get Connected remote access management software. Check out the full spread of their software and hardware offerings in this month's Spotlight Special.
- Driving and Diving -- Namco bowed two new pieces last month including the new high-octane police driver, Tokyo Cop, a license from the Spanish game specialists at Gaelco, and the novelty piece SeaQuarium, a unique combination of roll-down and skill stop play dynamics.
- A TRAGIC LOSS -- Members of the trade came to work on the first Monday in March to learn that AMOA president Rich Holley had been killed the previous Friday in a plane crash near his island home of North Captiva. Read more about his life, loss and the AMOA in transition.
- PLAYING POLITICS -- State lawmakers across the country have turned their attention, once again, to the issue of violent video games. Many have targeted the home game biz, but some are also looking to regulate coin-op.
- OPS ON SLOTS -- RePlay contributor Joel Vance hits the ground running with the first of two stories in this month's issue, talking to operators about the possibility of legalized small stakes gaming machines in Maryland.
- INSIDE THE TRADES -- RePlay publisher Ed Adlum provides a rare glimpse inside the inner workings of the trade magazine business as well as a few entertaining reminiscences of his colorful and esteemed career in the industry.
- A SECOND LIFE -- Educator and public servant Paul Corey fought coin-op-threatening legislation, catapulted to the top of the Ohio Coin Machine Association and earned industry respect for what is arguably the model for a professional state association. As Paul retires and his son David takes the reins of OCMA, peruse the highlights of this trade leader's remarkable career.
- ENTER THE PC-ARCADE HYBRID -- You've heard the debate about whether PCs and coin-op can work together; now get it straight from the horse's mouth in this RePlay exclusive by contributor Tam Nguyen. Dream Machine, a traditional arcade chain that's placed LAN game centers in some of their eastern U.S. locations, has been experimenting with just that question in their "laboratory" sites for the past two years. Learn the results of their experiment.
- FORK OVER THAT CASH -- As our culture becomes more and more geared toward paying with plastic, there is often less coin in coin-op. This month, a spectrum of leading debit card and key makers plus one convinced operator hails the merits of cashless systems, from increased profits and security to up-to-the-minute accounting reports and marketing information.
- GOLDEN TEE KEEPS GOING -- Incredible Technologies last month unveiled their newest line-up of Golden Tee Fore golf courses, seven this year including two amateur layouts and a new promotional Hole-in-One and Closest-to-the-Pin play modes.
- I'M O.K., YOU'RE O.K. -- That's what many operators are saying about the bulk vending factory that entered the amusement biz with their popular self-contained merchandiser Gravity Hill and are back with two new products, VIPS and Skittle Ball, featured in this month's Spotlight Special.
- SHOWS, SHOWS AND MORE SHOWS If you like trade shows, you are in luck this month. AAMA's Amusement Showcase International is taking place in Las Vegas in the midst of three other loosely-related conventions including the NAMA vending show, the much-discussed Nightclub & Bar Show and the Pizza Expo. We've got previews of all four.
- HEADS OF STATE AMOA held another successful Council of Affiliated States Meeting this past January in San Antonio, where association officers and executives gathered to compare notes on everything from taxes to tournaments.
- MAJOR MERGER Just as this issue of RePlay was going to press, the industry was rocked by news that Sega Corp. and Sammy Corp. of Japan are going to merge. Read more about how this deal is expected to come together in this month's Cover Story.
- HAVE KNOWLEDGE, WILL TRAVEL Industry technical guru Randy Fromm was in the Midwest in mid-January, the coldest week so far in Chicagoland, to conduct a school sponsored by Illinois operator Ray Shroyer of Metro Amusements. The event drew students from across the U.S.
- BAR SHOW SOUND OFF Last year around this time, RePlay asked operators what they thought about bar owners in ASI and everybody seemed to have a strong opinion. Industry thinking seems more ambiguous now, with many ops declining to even discuss the topic.
- PROFESSOR PINBALL CSSK Amusements' Chuck Martin, who taught 9th-grade math for 31 years before launching into the coin biz full-time, talks to RePlay about his untraditional methods of marketing pinballs to the home, including the "guerilla warfare" of targeting customers.
- PRODUCTS GALORE We have a preview look at a cross-section of the new products slated for release in the coming months. So if you haven't quite decided whether to travel to ASI and need that last little nudge in the form of a sneak peek at some, but not all to be sure, of what's to come, turn to our ASI Product Showcase.
- GOING DIGITAL Rock-Ola has released Digital SyberSonics (DSS), the most significant upgrade to its core SyberSonics Electronics technology since the system was first unveiled in 1996. Now RMC jukeboxes play music with increased power, fidelity, and clarity while providing operators with many new tools for sound system management.
- DO THE SHUFFLE Pinballsales.com has succeeded in taking the classic shuffle bowler concept and bringing it into the new century with a complete redesign, including a 27" flat screen color monitor, a high-profile license and the ability in the future to network the PC-based units for online tournament play. Read about what Shufflealley.com is up to in this month's Spotlight.
- THE X FILES -- The graduating class from AMOA's Notre Dame management program talks up their alma mater in true collegiate style with tales of student camaraderie, learning over lunch and the warm fuzzies of school pride you just can't find in books. Oh, yeah, and first-class education about the coin-op biz from accounting to people skills.
- LAN LESSONS -- Can PC game centers and traditional coin-op work together? That's the hot question traditional coin machine operators and LAN gaming experts tackle with part two of the PC/coin-op pro-con, this time getting down to the nitty-gritty business aspects of LAN (local area network) game operations from business model to the nuts and bolts of collections, hardware and software along with the sticky issue of ugly media attention surrounding a few incidents of gang violence near cyber cafes. Join in on the discussion.
- PRIME REAL ESTATE -- How do you get into "resistant" chain locations like fast-food joints and family-style bar-and-grills? Well, getting your foot in the door is a tough first. Seven operators share their trials, tribulations and even a few success stories in this month's Operator Interface.
- VALUE JUDGMENTS -- T.D. Rowe's John Hulick talks straight about the practical rundown of "Buying and Selling a Route," reportedly the AMOA show's best-attended seminar. For both buyer and seller, learn how to judge the difference between wood value and objective accounting, protect privacy and assets, get the best price and other insider tips.
- REDEMPTION HOT SPOTS -- Redemption law expert and attorney Tom Fricke calls in an update from the front lines of redemption compliance in such "war zone" states as Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia. Brush up on key court opinions handed down in the past year and get wise to Fricke's realistic approach to the legislature for skill definitions.
- SIMPSONS REDUX -- Stern went into full production last month of their newest licensed pin game, The Simpsons House Party, offering a split level playfield, fantastic art package and some of the deepest rules seen on a recent flipper.
- THE ORION APPEAL -- It's sleek, chic, stylish, ergonomic, futuristic-looking, and has what JVL's Dawn Young calls, "for lack of a better expression, sex appeal." Not just a pretty face, the Orion upright touchscreen also has killer graphics and sound, and we hear good stuff about tournaments, too.
- SPEED RACER -- Jesler's stock car racing sim Carismo comes with a three-quarter-scale Pro Challenge Series body, two degrees of interactive motion-based freedom, and Dirt Track Racing 2. It's also designed to be used for tournaments and accommodate other racing software.
- READY FOR TAKEOFF -- BugEye Technologies, an offshoot of commercial plane manufacturer, burst onto the scene late last year with a unique visual display that they hope will revolutionize high-end game play. Read more about where this flight sim technology came from and where it's heading.
- PRO-PINBALL OPS -- In RePlay's second installment of discussion about pinball earnings, operators talk about long-term earning potential, home sales, maintenance and other issues. Here's some of their flipper philosophies, insights and tips.
- THE DR. IS IN -- Scott Sheridan, Dr. Scott's Pinball Store owner/op, talks about getting hooked on pins, finding that spark of pinball life, and the untraditional business methods of coupling his long-term flipper passion with his day job.
- HIGH NOON AT THE PC GAME CORRAL -- It's clear from recent growth figures that so-called home PC games can be an out-of-home enterprise in PC game centers, what some are calling the next-generation arcade. But how will traditional coin-op fit into this emerging U.S. trend? Coin machine operators face off with PC game center pros in this debate.
- REDEEMING QUALITY -- Redemption supplier Kemac Distributing builds their merchandise biz on a foundation of listening to operators, attentive personal service with high-quality goods, and shifting from the mindset of "We don't have that" to "Let me see if I can find it."
- THE GREAT PRODUCT SEARCH -- Now that the shows are over and the season's slew of new videos, countertops, redemption games, pins, jukes and more have been unveiled, what are operators actually buying? Hear it straight from the horse's mouth in this month's Operator Interface.
- ARNOLD2 -- Two celebrity Arnolds (Schwarzenegger and Tom) helped Hollywood Games celebrate L.A.'s Inner City Games after-school program.
- RIDING THE CREST-- Kansas City's Lee Vending runs its amusement division from a pretty impressive headquarter facility, the company-owned Cool Crest Family Fun Center, which the route acquired in 1997. Read how a full-line vendor delved into amusements and ultimately FECs.
- HOT PROPERTY -- The innovative product designers at dart maker Arachnid Inc. have released their new player Hot Button, which will allow shooters the ability to take their identity anywhere.
- IN THE DEAD ZONE --The release of House of the Dead III not only marks the return of this wildly popular game franchise, but also serves notice to the coin-op world with a brand-new hardware system designed jointly by software giant and Xbox maker Microsoft and the game pros at Sega.
- DOUBLE WHAMMY -- Popcorn, Bay-Tek's newest redemption title, grabbed the attention of distributors and operators alike when it was debuted earlier this fall. The factory has also released their newest alley bowler Bustin' Balloons.
- TAKING A HARD(WARE) LOOK -- Video console hardware seems to have found a second home in new coin-op industry releases. RePlay contributor Kevin Williams attempts to chart the anatomy of these new releases and their impact on renewed sales.
- DOUBLE COVERAGE -- A spirit of enthusiasm was in the air at both AMOA and Fun Expo, the fall's amusement and FEC shows held side-by-side in Las Vegas. We bring you full show floor coverage, as well as a catalog of new products and a look at many of the special events and meetings held during this late- September industry extravaganza.
- HERE COMES THE PARKS SHOW -- The convention season remains in full swing. Even as we bring exhaustive coverage of AMOA and Fun Expo to you in this issue, many in the trade will be packing their bags for the mammoth IAAPA show in Orlando. Take a look at what's on tap.
- REDEMPTION ROUND UP -- The holidays are approaching and with it the industry turns it collective eye toward the season's newest prizes for cranes, rotaries, merchandisers and redemption counters. Check out our fall redemption round up of "stuff".
- A VOICE FROM THE PAST -- On the eve of AMOA Expo, we got an intriguing email from none other than former Microsoft coin-op evangelist James Plamondon, the man who filled a crowded auditorium for his Dallas AMOA seminar.
- MEETING OF THE MINDS -- How about some first-hand knowledge with those eggs? That's what participants at the AMOA Expo supply chain breakfast were served when operators, distributors and suppliers all sat down to talk about their experiences one on one.
- TOURNAMENT TIME -- With a growing array of tournament products on the market, Operators Interface this month on their tournament plans, both present and future.
- MACHINES GALORE -- This is a product-driven business and we're happy to provide a look at the brand-new-at-expo machines in our traditional post-show machine catalog, beginning with a "Games at a Glance" single-page reference of the products that follow.
- LET IT FLY -- After making big summer news with the launch of their much-awaited EA Sports PGA Tour Golf game, the team at Global VR is beginning to put their tournament and promotion plans into action with new software upgrades and the first competition on the horizon.
- YOU'RE THE ToPS -- That's the word on the new Tournament Pinball System (ToPS) debuted at AMOA by Gary "Last Man Standing" Stern's pinball factory. Learn more about how this automated promotional tool works.
- SMALLER THAN A BREADBOX -- That's right, the new TuneCentral feature from TouchTunes offers the downloading juke factory's entire universe of songs, all in a small metal box set for on-site, instant downloads without broadband.
- THE MUSIC MAN -- It's not lonely at the top for TouchTunes' new CEO and president John Perrachon. The former record label music marketer is already hard at work keeping the Canadian-based digital juke company focused on its core business and the key leverage points that will drive the firm toward future growth and success.
- THE IMAX FACTOR -- RePlay contributor Loni Reeder checks out the flagship Max Games video game tournament, which includes 300 young players getting involved in console competitions at a museum with their final contest projected on an IMAX screen.
- WHO IS OUR CUSTOMER? -- Game room attraction maven Kevin Williams takes a look at today's LBE customer, and discovers that the patron attracted to the current crop of high-end game rooms is a far different animal than the classic arcade customer. They are older, have more to spend and are looking for unique experiences.
- MARCHING TO HIS OWN BEAT -- Rich Holley is an island native who found his mainland home in the coin-op industry. Last month the engineer-turned-professional-musician-turned-amusement game-operator took over as president of the national operators' association, AMOA, having cut his teeth there dealing with the thorny issue of video content.
- BUCKEYE BASH -- The 28th Annual Ohio Coin Machine Association Expo of Music and Games may not have been the group's biggest, but judged against the benchmark of current business conditions, the event passed with flying colors as one of the group's best.
- FORMER GLORY -- Windy City trade veteran Herb Perkins, who was at one time or another an operator, distributor and manufacturer in the coin-op industry, remembers the post-war glory days when Chicago factories ruled the biz.
- HERE COMES ATOMISWAVE -- Japanese video and redemption game maker Sammy released a much-talked-about video game system at last month's AMOA called Atomiswave. Priced right, the system also offers ops the ability to convert the cabinet to many different configurations and update the software regularly with affordable game cartridges.
- THE ALL-IN-ONE MERIT MACHINE -- The digital jukebox may have finally come of age with the marriage of downloadable music from TouchTunes to a Merit touchscreen game machine. Read all about it, and more from the touchscreen maker, in this month's Cover Story on Merit Industries.
- SPOTLIGHT ON ROWE -- Rowe International released the first major redesign of its classic CD floor model last month. Check out this month's Spotlight Special on the Rowe StarGlo, including a look at how the unit was re-engineered from the ground up.
- SHOW SPECTACULAR -- If it's September, it's time for the now annual co-location of AMOA International Expo and Fun Expo. This year's Fun Expo will bring a whole new extreme sports crowd, too. To get you prepared for the two expos, we have an entire show section including a preview of what to expect as well as comprehensive seminar, exhibitor listings and schedules, plus a look at both show floors.
- A YEAR LATER -- The first anniversary of last year's tragic terrorist attack on the U.S. is fast upon us, and RePlay's Kate Miller gives us a fascinating look back at how those events unfolded for a handful of tradesters in the Manhattan area and what it has meant to them since that fateful day. She also used this month's Operator Interface to check in with New York operators about the state of the trade there since the events of 9/11.
- AROUND THE ROUTE -- Virginia op Charles Rowland helps us revive a RePlay classic, the Around the Route column, with his thoughts on the state of the biz, namely that operators need games designed to earn for longer periods of time to create a healthier and more stable industry.
- BULKING UP -- Long considered one of the nation's most prosperous music routes, Chicago's Velasquez Automatic Music has been diversifying their product offerings in recent times, most notably with an expansion into the bulk vending arena for some of their high-traffic locations. In this month's issue, Ed Velasquez talks about the results to date.
- DIFFERENT STROKES -- Operating a successful fun center in today's climate requires a unique approach. This month we look at two ways to slice that apple, including an East Coast seaside gameroom, Sportland, which combines classic boardwalk attractions with high-tech VR, and a West Coast location, Hollywood Sports, that has resorted to Xtreme measures..
- THANK YOU VERY MUCH -- Coming on the 25th anniversary of the King of Rock 'N Roll's death, Coastal Amusements has released a unique Harry Levy pusher based on Elvis and featuring live concert music from one of his infamous Vegas shows.
- AN IMPRESSIVE SHOWING -- Innovative Concepts in Entertainment has been busy this summer, readying four new products for market including two new round-shaped cranes (Round Up and Yellow Submarine), a Bell Fruit pusher (Quarterback) that automatically manages tokens through a closed loop system, and a two-player version of Spacey Racers called Rock 'N Moon Rally.
- SEGA SADDLES UP -- Sega Enterprises held a distributor meeting in late July to unveil its new product line including the twin driver with card reader, Initial D, as well as a new fighting game and soccer video. They also previewed coming redemption pieces designed by their new special products division. Read our coverage in this month's Spotlight.
- MOSS ON THE MOVE -- Moss Distributing has opened a new office near Minneapolis where the dealer will represent a whole lineup of amusement product. Meantime, not so coincidentally, Minnesota's Hanson Distributing is closing after selling to Australian slot machine maker Aristocrat
- THE TRIPLE CROWN -- Jukebox wise man Glenn Streeter has been making stylish machines for a quarter century now, the last 10 years under the much-respected Rock-Ola brand, a name that itself has been around for 75 years. We celebrate the success of this company with a history of its founding by patriarch David Rockola, the dynamic growth of the Chicago factory during mid-century and its transition to new owner Streeter, who now runs the show in southern California.
- TEE TIME -- Global VR held a distributor meeting last month in northern California where the quickly emerging factory debuted their product line, including a much anticipated video golf game
- SUMMER SESSIONS -- May and June mark prime time for operator associations powwows, especially in the Midwest, where state groups held meetings, and in some instances trade shows exhibiting new product and services. Operators also gathered to discuss state and national politics and the current state of the coin machine biz. These active states include Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. attended the ICMOA and WAMO shows in person. Check out our coverage of all of these events
- CONSOLIDATION BLUES -- Are all the small mom and pop operations being squeezed about by big national firms? Not exactly. See what operator readers had to say about this hot topic in our monthly Interface column
- READY, AIM, FIRE -- Incredible Technologies has launched their second major ITS initiative, Big Buck Hunter 2, which is tournament ready and can leverage all the same features currently being used by online Golden Tee Fore! operators
- A WILD RIDE -- Stern Pinball unveils their newest flipper, the amusement themed Roller Coaster Tycoon.
- DELICATE NEGOTIATIONS -- NSM Music execs talk with RePlay about their adventures in the world of music licensing as they move forward with their digital Remote Jukebox.
- BIG CHANGES -- Rowe International has made some big changes at the top levels, and announced a groundbreaking alliance with the one of the industry's newest consultants, former Midway and Dynamo veteran Mark Struhs.
- FOUR DECADES OF SUCCESS -- This month's cover feature offers an extensive profile of Wisconsin distributor Pioneer Sales & Service, which has been providing top-notch equipment and service to their customer base for four decades under the steady hand of Joel Kleiman and now his son Jon as well. Read all about the dealer's history, and get an inside look at the crack staff who make it all happen behind the scenes
- LAB RESULTS -- New Jersey game lab veteran Nick Farley has opened a new testing house in Ohio, offering his evaluation and forensic services to both gaming and amusement machine makers around the U.S. RePlay's Katie Martin profiles this new firm
- E3 EXTRAVAGANZA -- The other video game industry, the consumer biz that is, met in late May in Los Angeles for the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, and contributing writer Loni Reeder and RePlay columnist Matt Bettelman were on hand. Take in their impressions of this mega-show and what it might mean for coin-op
- MAKING HISTORY -- The Chicago Historical Society recently inducted one of our own, Windy City jukebox king Arturo Velasquez. Read about his civic contributions
- TOURNAMENTS GALORE -- The annual tournament season has come to a close, and we have full coverage of the majors including BullShooter, NDA and VNEA, as well as highlight wrap-up from the BCA, VIFA and Mall of America Golden Tee championship
- HANDS ON OPERATING -- Want to put those warehouse games to work for you? Secure a weekly minimum with location owners? Michigan street and arcade op Bryan Scopel talks about how diversifying, being thrifty and taking chances on unconventional venues has made a difference
- SUMMER VACATION -- Summer is traditionally good for many arcade ops, especially those who operate in seasonal locations and tourist areas. We caught up with a group of arcade heavies to gauge this year's summer season as it gets underway
- HIGH CALIBER -- Namco releases Soul Calibur II, an upright fighter in which players choose from 13 default characters, each with their own unique fighting styles and unique weapons and fight their way through a variety of stages. The majority of the characters from Soul Calibur return to unearth and seize the "Sword of Souls." There are four new combatants as well
- A STAR IS BORN -- Ecast and Rowe began shipping initial production units of their new GemStar touchscreen last month, featuring licensed Midway content and a plethora of additional online features. They have also introduced a software upgrade for their NetStar and StarLink digital juke
- WHAT'S HAPP-ENING? The answer is "lots" at Happ Controls where their attention to quality has enabled the parts specialty firm to grow to include more offices and even the licensing and remanufacture of some classic video titles from Midway.
- THE OTHER VENDING BIZ: The word vending often conjures up images of can drinks or pre-packaged sandwicheTRADE DEFICIT -- A crippling tariff on U.S. goods may or may not be targeted at coin-op games. At first blush that's how it looked, but trade leaders say the European proposal appears to be aimed at the X-Box and other consumer game products
- THROW ME A LAN LINE -- Still see PC games as coin-op competition? Here's how LAN game rooms, an arcade-style setting of networked computers, can capitalize on the home game trend -- while also lining the traditional arcade's cashbox
- FORGING AHEAD -- Top Line Cabinets, a mainstay coin-op supplier in the Chicagoland area, is moving into new realms with their MegaRcade video system as well as a turnkey LAN gaming platform.
- A BUYER'S MARKET -- In this month's Interface, operators from around the country talk about the current crop of spring product: what it is, what they like, and how much they're buying,
- MR. PROMOTION -- Street operator Andy Shaffer of Shaffer Services in Columbus, Ohio, says keeping earnings up on the route requires constant promotion in order to pull patrons off their bar stools and out of their homes
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN SUCCESS -- Red and Jerry's, the Denver area mega-LBE, offers an interesting combination of games, food, nightlife and off-track gaming. Learn more about their unique formula for success
- SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL -- TsuMo -- short for Tsunami Motion System -- simulates its way into arcades, FECs, LBEs, theaters and sports bars worldwide with the kind of 360-degree interactive play you can't get rolling around in front of your computer screen
- TEE TIME -- Konami has released their newest motion capture video simulator, mocapgolf, which tests players' ability to master exotic tropical links using the free-swinging club interface
- A TWOFER -- Sega has two hot summer titles: the new role playing upright The Maze of The Kings and their newest sports sim, Soul Surfer.
- GO FISH -- Namco's Fishing Treasure brings a whole new hook to merchandisers with rod, reel and fish-shaped prize capsules plus special touches to let ops tailor the Treasure to their locations,
- THE OTHER VENDING BIZ: The word vending often conjures up images of can drinks or pre-packaged sandwiches, but there is another vending universe that handles so-called bulk product (gumballs, capsules, superballs and the like). A number of coin-op firms were in attendance at the recent NBVA show in Vegas.
- FACTS AND FIGURES: Most FECs do not revenue share their amusement games with separate operating companies, although most amusement parks are utilizing an outside operator. That's just one of the many fascinating insights provided by IALEI's annual survey of the industry
- PRIZES GALORE: Our periodic premium section, Redemption Roundup, continues to expand with our best section ever on prizes, big and small, for redemption and merchandise machine operators. See what new things the market has to offer in this installment
- ALL OPPOSED: This month's Operator Interface asks the burning question: Would you want to see bar owners allowed into the spring coin-op show? They responded with a resounding: No! Read all of their comments in this month's Interface
- A GROWTH BUSINESS: Odyssey Fun World with two impressive FEC locations in suburban Chicago (Naperville and Tinley Park) is experiencing a growth spurt under the leadership of operating veteran Rob Farrel.
- MAN ON A MISSION: Southern California arcade operator and former route man Jim Rowton built his dream arcade in the San Fernando Valley hub of Van Nuys almost four years ago, and he has been loving life ever since.
- CHECK OUT THEIR MOVES: Andamiro USA, the U.S. factory known for their competitively-priced product from Korea, has a new upgrade for their dance simulator platform as well as two new novelty games, Real Shooting and Musical Chairs
- KERMIT AND THE GANG: Bromley, a household name in the coin-op redemption biz, has two new titles coming to market including Thunderation and the Henson-licensed Muppets Haunted House Adventure, designed by none other than flipper maven Roger Sharpe
- TEE TIME: They're here, five brand new international courses from Stonehenge to the Bayou, all rendered with a meticulous eye for environmental detail, not to mention an option for operators to purchase them online.
- Spring Show Special -- Check out our full coverage of the Amusement Showcase International, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center side-by-side with both NAMA and Nightclub and Bar (we covered those shows as well). So read our wrap up story, peruse the booth pictures, check out who won the big awards and review our catalog of new products debuted at the show
- NAMA Western Show Scores -- One thing you have to say about the more mundane side of the coin machine business vending it's "dependable." Their spring expo did the "usual" 3,000-plus attendees and lots of container drink machines stood out
- Out To Lunch -- The Italian food at the Melrose Park eatery was tasty, but it was the company that Alexander Woo and his wife traveled from Hong Kong to enjoy. The couple donated almost $2,000 to charity, through a special Ebay auction, to visit the Stern Pinball factory and lunch with Gary Stern and famed pinball designer Pat Lawlor
- Online Security Redux -- Following recent news that two factories have signed the AMOA Privacy and Security Policy, we asked several operators from around the U.S. to Interface on their own level of security when it comes to online data
- The Next Generation -- He's opinionated, he's young and he may well be the face of the industry's future. Meet southern Louisiana operator Troy Estopinal, one of the youngest members of the AMOA board, and a real mover and shaker from the Bayou State
- New Kid On The Block -- This month, we profile Chicagoland's newest distributor, Signature Sales & Service, founded by trade veteran Frank Gumma Jr. This new distributing company boasts decades of collective experience with a staff of coin-op veterans.
- Simple Solutions -- Amusement Solutions recently introduced two innovative products for the game room operator, a debit-based token replacement system called GateKeyper and the wireless data collector DataTrieve, both created to streamline amusement operations through technology.
- A PC Pool Table -- Sunline USA, backed by veteran tradester Jed Foreman, has introduced a new computerized pool table that will help operators control pricing and traffic flow on location, along with many other unique features
- The Ultra Facelift -- Hyperware has upgraded their new Ultracade system with the addition of eight new games, as well as a new player software interface that allows more intuitive access to all of the unit's software attractions
- COIN BIZ DESCENDS ON VEGAS -- The spring show is here! We've got a full heads-up on what to expect at ASI (March 6-8 in Vegas) and as a bonus, we've also got previews of the NAMA vending show and Nightclub & Bar Expo, also taking place that same week in Vegas
- NEW DISTRIBUTOR OPENS DOORS -- A new distributorship was born last month. Deith Amusement and Vending will ultimately serve the Northeast from four offices in Massachusetts, New York New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Read all about the new joint venture by Innovative Concepts in Entertainment and import/export pro Simon Deith
- FINANCIAL TIMES -- The finance specialists at Firestone Financial have made it their business to know yours. Now, this month's profile of the firm offers you a chance to find out a little bit about what they do.
- BEST OF 2001 -- RePlay's Katie Martin follows up on last year's super chart of hit vids and pins since the mid-'90s, with a more focused look at the top games for the entire calendar of 2001
- HOW'S BUSINESS? The age-old question, so appropriate to ask these days, gets some rather pleasing responses from a good group of arcade and route folks.
- MR. NEW ORLEANS -- The late Bob Nims, a New Orleans operator, distributor and former AMOA president, loved his adopted home city so much that even after he passed away, his legacy is still growing there under the direction of his widow Jeri
- PUTTING PLAYERS FIRST -- It's all about the player, period. That's the philosophy on which Cedars Rapids, Iowa street route Camden Amusement is run. Read our Katie Martin's first-hand profile of this first-rate operation
- THE QUEEN OF PROMOTIONS -- "New promotions are what keep this industry going," says Dorothy Lewis, operations manager at Fun Station USA. "You have to offer more than just a place to come and play games."
- THE WRITING ON THE FELT -- What would prompt you to put an ad on your pool table cloth? How about $400 plus two free cloths (including installation) each year? Chicago-based Eightball Media is hoping the answer to that question is "yes" as they launch a nationwide advertising effort
- PINBALL PEEK-A-BOO -- Stern's newest flipper game, Playboy, has some of the deepest rules yet, denoting a serious pingame for the avid player. But that's not really the point, says factory topper Gary Stern. "The idea behind this game, from the players' perspective, is to make shots and look at pictures of gorgeous girls." Check out our full product preview
- ADVENTURE TIME -- Konami releases two new adventure themed videos, including Police 911 2, the sequel to their original motion capture video shooter, as well as the deluxe two-person dino shooter Jurassic Park III. Look for these games at ASI
- PARKS SHOW EXTRAVAGANZA - The massive leisure product show held annually by the International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions returned last month to the theme park capital of the world, Orlando, Fla. See our first-hand report from the 640,000-sq.-ft. bazaar offering every imaginable product and service under the sun for the amusement park and FEC biz pg. 37
- VENDING CENTRAL - RePlay saw many friendly distributor and operator faces when it visited Chicago's McCormick Place, Oct. 25-27, for the 65th Annual National Automatic Merchandising Association Expo. This year's main event for the vending industry showcased equipment advances, cutting edge technology and emerging services pg. 46
- TAKING STOCK - The task of summing up an entire year, even as it is still unfolding, is daunting at best. But it can also help frame all of the year's event in some context and maybe even giving us a second look at something that snuck past our view the first time around. So take a walk down short-term memory lane starting on pg. 53
- HAVING FUN AND GROWING - Sam's Fun City in Pensacola, Florida, has been open for just over a year, but the location is already gaining notoriety, having garnered two sought-after Golden Token awards from IALEI this fall. Owner Richard Sanfilippo tells RePlay the award-winning FEC is still in its infancy with big growth plans in the works pg. 93
- LIVE AND IN-PERSON - No longer content to compete in cyberspace, Golden Tee competitors are now meeting around the country for live, organized competitions. These events are relatively new occurrences. Prior to last year, the only major live event was the National Championship held annually by the factory in Vegas. Now there's talk of a national tour with monthly or bi-monthly tourneys pg. 113
- FAIRYTALE FEC - Michigan's top tourist attraction isn't an automobile manufacturing plant or a Great Lakes resort. Its most popular draw is Frankenmuth, a themed fairytale village north of Lansing. Now visitors now have more entertainment choices than ever before as a result of a growing relationship between the tourist destination and Alpha-Omega Amusements. Read about this unique partnership pg. 89
- TEE IT UP Global VR, the virtual reality attraction maker that has begun producing more traditional video sims, now takes aim at the upright market as well with their EA Sports-licensed Tiger Woods video golf game. We've got the inside scoop on this major development in this month's Spotlight pg. 103
- WHAT GOES AROUND Started by computer graphic specialist Quantum3D, Hyperware is now emerging as a popular game maker in its own right. Get the full story on this firm, now headed by Quantum vets Rob Ligetti and Dave Foley, and their UltraCade multi-game video platform pg. 105
- GET READY FOR IAAPA While most people begin to turn their attention toward the holidays at this time of year, those in the amusement trade gear up for the mother of all trade shows, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions convention. This year IAAPA is going back to Orlando for its feast of the senses including fun rides, thrilling games and tasty food.
- A WIN, WIN Organizers of both the AMOA and Fun Expos, held last month in Las Vegas, breathed a sigh of relief on the opening day of the co-located shows as they saw sizeable crowds milling through the aisles of both. In light of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing mood of fear that fell over the nation, both shows surpassed gloomy expectations. They were good shows, everybody agreed! See our extensive coverage of both shows, including product, people and politics
- STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS Albuquerque real estate maven turned FEC owner and operator Gene Hinkle is the new president of the IALEI fun center association. We caught up with this straight talking tradester to get the inside scoop on that association and the Fun Expo
- FIRST CLASS TREATMENT Sega Service staffers recently completed a third and final in-house training session in San Francisco with representatives from five national operating companies. Two previous sessions had seen technical mavens from all of the firm's distributors travel to the Bay area for a hands-on education.
- TAKING CARE OF BIG BUSINESS Minneapolis-based Weisman Enterprises manages over 100,000 pieces of equipment producing $500 million in revenue at 30,000 locations across the country. They serve over 230 clients, many large national companies, working with operators in every state of the U.S., as well as Canada and Puerto Rico.
- A DYNAMIC DUO This month's Spotlight is on two firms that have partnered together to create a new and dynamic force in the coin-op industry, Ecast Inc. and jukebox maker Rowe International. The former has licensed content and technology from Midway for its online game and music network, working with Rowe to built out new hardware, while the latter has gotten into the game biz with their licensed Who Wants to Be a Millionaire touchscreen
- DO NOT PASS GO ON THIS FLIPPER This month's cover story subject, Stern Pinball, has a real winner with its new Monopoly flipper designed in a "partnership" between the factory and former Williams pin designer Pat Lawlor. The game, debuted at AMOA Expo last month, is already creating a serious buzz for the last factory standing in the pinball biz
- PRIZES GALORE Once again, RePlay brings its readers the now tri-annual Redemption Roundup, a comprehensive look at the best and brightest plush toys and prizes for cranes, merchandisers and game room redemption counters
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