Spotlight Feature – The Latest from Benchmark Games & Elaut


Taking it to the Next Level

The Latest in Fun from Benchmark and Elaut Is Ready for Market!

The team at the Elaut Group is excited about the coming Amusement Expo and taking a look at their new game lineup, it’s easy to see why.

First, their Benchmark Games International (BGI) brand is leading with Superman: Worlds United, an “Xtreme”-sized amusement pusher that wows with its colorful cabinet, comic-book feel and gameplay themed on the Man of Steel. Then, there’s a new line of street games from BGI (games, by the way, that will be equally at home on the game room floor): Standard Upright Boxer, Combo KickBoxer With Prize, Alley Hoops Basketball (in three models: junior, standard and deluxe) and Funky Beatz Curved Air Hockey.

If all of that’s not enough, Elaut invites operators to “Join the Blue Crew” with The Smurfs Coin Pusher, a two-player featuring the beloved characters created by Belgian artist and comics writer Peyo (Pierre Culliford). In a word, it’s “Smurftastic!”

Benchmark’s Resurgence

Benchmark Games' Funky Beats Air Hockey

Benchmark Games’ Funky Beats Air Hockey

Before diving into more product particulars, it’s helpful to know what’s been going on behind the scenes at Benchmark. Joining the company in 2022 and leading the charge in Benchmark game design is Kern Jennison, EVP of Product Development. No stranger to the amusement business, he started his career in 1996, getting into game design and production with his own company, founded in 2003.

“My background includes experience in all aspects of our industry including distribution, manufacturing, operating and design which really helps me understand users,” Jennison said. “And Elaut has a lot of resources and ability to take ideas and creativity and build the games you thought you could only dream about.” Superman is just one example of that, Jennison explained. “I came aboard after the basic game was built but then was tasked with altering it and taking it to the next level, resulting in the game that’s coming to market.”

Benchmark Games' boxers

Benchmark has added boxers to its street games lineup, both the Standard and the Combo KickBoxer With Prize.

He said his objective over the next several years is to continue revitalizing and reimagining the Benchmark brand and product lineup. “With Benchmark’s solid footing in the market and Elaut’s extensive history, there’s a great opportunity to synergize their strengths and elevate our product lineup.”

Benchmark Games' Alley Hoops

Benchmark offers three sizes of
their Alley Hoops basketball game: regular, junior and deluxe (pictured).

Jennison says he’s excited about taking his own expertise in redemption games (including video redemption) and tapping into the wealth of knowledge at his disposal. “It’s been a rewarding experience to merge insights and explore various product types, recognizing their successes and potential areas for growth, and there’s more of that to come,” he said.

Jennison and his team are equipped with all the tools they need to craft their games at their expansive facility (over 100,000-sq.-ft.) in Lake Worth Beach, Florida. Explained Trevor Gianaris, CEO/President of Elaut Group USA, “Everything is done in-house, from wiring and harnessing to cabinet making, printing, CNC operations, laser cutting, service and research and development. We even have our own metal factory at our Belgium headquarters. Kern’s expertise shines in transforming diverse concepts and dreams into tangible realities, adapting to available materials while also innovating new methods and materials to bring our visions to life.”

Gianaris added that one of Jenni­son’s missions coming into Benchmark was to grow the team that will produce future games: “Kern is doing just that, enlarging the R&D team three or four times in the last couple of years.”

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s…

Benchmark Games' Superman: Worlds United

Benchmark Games’ Superman: Worlds United

…Benchmark’s Superman: Worlds United! The game, expected to ship around showtime, is a drop-the-puck/pusher combo in which players “strategically drop pucks to aid Superman in capturing villains, using a custom color sensor for precise control,” explained Jennison. Players accumulate tickets with each skillful move, navigating to fill columns in Super­man’s two worlds – Fortress of Solitude and Metropolis – in gameplay that he says is both challenging and rewarding.

The pucks themselves are custom and air hockey-sized, adding “a dynamic element to player interaction as players try to drop them into certain columns for points and bonuses.” Jennison said the high-resolution 37-inch stretch display, is an industry first and is exclusively dedicated to scoring for “a new standard for visual immersion.”

Superman also offers licensed cards players can collect, which along with tickets, offer tangible rewards to keep them coming back. Also adding to the play and attraction are the game’s 13 sq. ft. 4K high-resolution commercial monitors, upon which classic DC Comic’s characters come to life.

And as mentioned, joining Super­man is a new line of games designed with the route operator in mind – basketballs, boxers and air hockey tables (all available now with more to come). They’ve employed bright, eye-catching “generic” Benchmark styling on all, but are also working on tying them into some intellectual properties as well (one of which they hope to debut at AEI).

Tony Maniscalco, EVP of Sales, said he’s especially excited about the air hockey game. “We turned a lot of heads at IAAPA with its LED lighting, subwoofer and other features. We were pretty excited about the reception that product had,” he said. “We’re also going to debut a standard air hockey table at Amusement Expo, as well as some additional titles tied to IPs.”

Enter Elaut’s Blue Crew

Elaut Smurfs 2-player coin pusher

Elaut’s 2-player Smurfs Coin Pusher adds collectible cards and optional use of Smurf

“The Smurfs story is a great one,” said Eric Verstraeten, Elaut Group CEO. “Kern and Tony were at the licensing show a couple of years ago, looking for IPs that would work well with our games. They saw the Smurfs booth and stopped by to see what opportunities were there, and it happened to come up that Elaut was in Belgium and that’s where they’re from, too. We’re just about 40 minutes from each other!

“That led to a lovefest between our two companies as they looked for a way to take the iconic Belgian creation of The Smurfs and turn it into an arcade game,” he continued. The design effort took place overseas with Elaut and Peyo (creator of The Smurfs) working closely together.

The result is a fun two-player, classic coin pusher, but with great bells and whistles to increase repeat play such as collectible Smurf cards and prize capsules featuring one of six collectible “Smurfurines,” said Verstraeten. The uniqueness of the Smurf cards is that they use RFID to prevent counterfeiting. The prize capsule vendor is standard on the machines but use by the operator is optional. The Smurfs Coin Pusher is expected to ship in mid-April.

“Fans of the Smurfs will see it, be drawn to it, and want to play it,” Verstraeten said. “Graphics feature Papa Smurf, Smurfette and the gang, along with authentic Smurf speech and sound effects. The game has a 27” LCD panel with a rotating bonus wheel of prizes for players to win with play that is both mechanical and on-screen.”

As players drop their coins into the machine, they’ll become part of the Smurfs’ quest to collect valuable treasures and push the coins over the edge to win prizes. The factory notes that on top of the great visuals and popular characters, they’ve engineered the pusher to provide smooth and reliable gameplay. “The precise coin counting mechanism ensures fair gameplay, while the easy-to-use controls make it accessible to both casual players and seasoned arcade enthusiasts,” says Elaut.

Verstraeten hinted readers can expect to see more from the partnership between the two Belgian companies. “It’s a match made in heaven to be able to work with that license, and they’re a great, very-easy-to-work-with company. We have a lot of products that we plan to bring out over the next several years with that title,” he said.

“Something we’ve been trying to do is to advance Elaut into multiple IPs, some very well-known and some that maybe aren’t, and then create different products around those,” Verstraeten continued. “Smurfs is just a sample of some new ideas and technologies we’re working on in the pusher world. Elaut’s core development over the years has been with pushers, as well as merchandisers and cranes, so there’s a lot of expertise to draw from.”

Gianaris couldn’t agree more: “Elaut is a very storied brand with a lot of history and things going on, and at the same time, Benchmark is making a triumphant comeback with Kern leading the way along with a thought process focused on making games for the street. I encourage FEC and route operators to take a look at Amusement Expo.”

For more information, visit their Amusement Expo booths (Elaut is in booth #245; Benchmark Games is in booth #141), contact your distributor, or visit and Their Coast to Coast Entertainment prize division is also exhibiting (booth #237).



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