Endgame – March 2024


A Time for Amusement, Amusement Expo, That Is!

Adam Pratt

by Adam Pratt, Arcade Galactic & ArcadeHeroes.com

It seems like it was just yesterday that we were celebrating the new year but we’re already getting ready for Amusement Expo! As I usually do, I’ll run down some of the new equipment you can expect to see in Las Vegas. (Also as usual, since some announcements are forth-coming, I’ll also make some educated guesses.)

Let’s start with the easy stuff: games that have been put into production since IAAPA 2023. Not counting game releases at that show (such as King Kong II by Raw Thrills or Drakons: Realm Keepers by Adrenaline), December saw the launch of a major update to Big Buck Hunter Reloaded by Raw Thrills; Bullseye: Crackshot and Wild Things by Coastal Amusements; Arcana Heart 3 Xtend by exA-Arcadia; and a new multi-game cabinet called Crazy Speed from VR 360 Action.

While Jack Frost extended his icy grip over much of the country in January, LAI Games warmed things up with three titles – Air Strike, Asphalt Moto Blitz DX and Dragon’s Bane – while Stern Pinball made us afraid to go into the water again with JAWS. Andamiro USA resurrected America’s favorite past-time in Bobble -head Baseball VS., and Raw Thrills surprised us with the sneak release of T-Rex Safari VR Adventure.

As I write this in mid-Feburary, Sega’s latest racer, Apex Rebels (shown at IAAPA), has gone into production; and LAI Games introduced a new coin pusher called Cosmic Tower. I’d expect you to see those and some of the other IAAPA games that weren’t already available. Aside from those two, I don’t know what else might be released between now and the AEI. I’ve never worked for a game manufacturer, but have learned to appreciate and respect the many elements that go into getting a game from paper to shipping out on a truck.

Two games that most certainly will begin shipping around AEI time are Mega Shot by JET Games USA and Godzilla Kaiju Wars VR by Raw Thrills. I’m sure Raw Thrills would have loved to have that game out in time for the unex-pected success of Godzilla Minus One (the movie critic in me rates that as the best film of 2023), but it’s always better to wait until the game is fully location-ready. I would also expect to see additions and improvements to Mega Shot over the model we saw at IAAPA.

I’ll have to undertake a little guesswork from here on out.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune (sold here without the Wangan Midnight part), but I doubt we’ll see the new 6RR+ upgrade that Japan is getting to celebrate. That said, Bandai Namco isn’t idle – they’ve been showing off a few new games for a little while now, including a special U.S. version of their popular drumming game, Taiko No Tatsujin. They’ve also been testing a sequel to Deadstorm Pirates called Goldstorm Pirates, along with a food delivery game called Bike Dash Delivery. The chances of seeing any of those three at AEI are higher than they were at IAAPA, but I don’t know that I’m feeling my luck on the slots just yet.

Expect to see exA-Arcadia back in force at AEI. They’ve launched a new website and plan to roll out several new games for their platform. Which ones will make their debut at the show is still up in the air, but I do know a few of them. One in particular has a name that pretty much any kid of the ’90s will recognize. I’m expect-ing some great things from that one! We should also see more fighting games, so if your location could benefit from getting a fresh fighter, exA is worth a look.

We should also see the return of indie developers like Alan-1 with their Avian Knights game along with Playmind and a smaller edition of their Playbox concept. Amusement Source Int’l. has a much larger space than they had at IAAPA, so I’d expect a surprise or two there.

On the pinball front, the only maker exhibiting (at press time) is Stern. I’m happy I can finally give JAWS a play or two. I do wish that some of the smaller pinball makers, like Spooky Pinball, would exhibit at our show.

I always look forward to surprises, though I just wish that my financial situation was improved so I could also be doing a little shopping. As it is, I’m still hunkered down, making the most of what I can as I work on servicing my debts. That’s a lesson for the future: Never bite off more than you can chew. Of course, at the time, it seemed like the way to
If we bump into each other at the show, say hi! I’ll try not to talk your ear off.


Adam Pratt is the owner and operator of Arcade Galactic near Salt Lake City, Utah, and also publishes the Arcade Heroes blog site. He can be reached at [email protected].





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