For its third edition, EAG Expo changes its name to EAG International to better reflect the global nature of this amusement trade show. The 2012 edition was held at ExCeL London from January 24 to 26. This year, we'll proceed differently by starting with the presentation of video games. Let's start...
About 6000 visitors are expected at the ExCeL during those 3 days. Let's start our visit with the main event at Bandai Namco Games: Deadstorm Pirates 3D. This is a theater featuring a 150" (3.80m) screen and 2 independent control stations accepting two people each. Wearing 3D glasses, the 4 players must work together because the combination shots are more powerful and that the bar actions adds up. A choice of 4 stages is offered at the beginning of the game, 2 new stages will be added at a later date. The motion seats ensure a total immersion. Amusement parks should acquire it as soon as possible because this attraction is awesome!
Deadstorm Pirates is available in many versions. This year's novelty is the upright version that keeps the wheel and the guns recoil effect but with a smaller footprint. Even in this version, the game does not lose its interest. It is therefore advisable for smaller locations. Still available are the deluxe and super deluxe (motion) versions in cabins featuring 5.1 surround sound system.
Kid game Animal Kaiser finally arrives in Europe! Already in its third version, it offers 81 trading cards. Gameplay is simple, each player scans an "Animal" card (there are 40 different cards including a lion, a shark, a monkey, a manta ray, a tarantula, an eagle, ...), followed by a "Strengh" and a "Miracle" card. The game is played with a reel system that you should stop at the right time to send a devastating attack on the enemy. The animations are crazy with actions such as the invocation of an alien egg that hatches to drop a dish on the head of the enemy or a nuclear explosion devastating one fourth of the earth. The game is instructive nevertheless since each card contains information about the animal. Each game consists of three rounds, the winner of the duel wins a new card at the end of the game. Animal Kaiser has real potential, hopefully it won't remain confined to the UK market (unlike Sega's Dinosaur King).
After the cocktail version introduced last year, Pac-Man Battle Royale is back in an impressive deluxe format (the cabinet is 2.80m high) equipped with a 54" screen. The concept has not changed: up to 4 players try to eat each other while avoiding the ghosts. It's a fun party game and, everyone loves Pac-Man! On the right you see the Pac-Man's Arcade Party compilation declined in upright, cabaret and cocktail versions that will appeal to fans of the old Namco games.
Street racing game Dead Heat is once again part of the show. As a reminder, its particularity is to record the behaviour of players to reproduce it in their absence. It is therefore possible to face a replica of an absent person. Combined with the Nam-Cam (photo of the player's face) and PIN system, Dead Heat facilitates the development of a community. A good game while waiting for the European release of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4.
Also on Bandai Namco Games booth, here is a future hit: ReRave! This is a music game by US companies Step Evolution and Coast to Coast Entertainment where players must press the symbols that appear across the screen in rhythm. The 46" touch screen allows two people to play simultaneously. The cabinet features a 1000 watt sound system and headphone mini jack ports. The machine can be connected to the Internet, allowing players to participate in world ranking and the operator to receive updates and new songs every month. Unlike other music games that are often elitist, ReRave is very accessible and will appeal to a wide audience (you must try it to believe it). Beware, it does not mean that challenge is not present, seeing a player master the hardest tracks is really impressive. Highly recommended!
New from Raw Thrills: Dirty Drivin'. A racing game that looks like a Hydro Thunder/H2Overdrive road (in more furious) in several respects, including the many shortcuts, jump ramps, crazy tracks and flying bonuses. It's not surprising because the same team (Specular Interactive) is behind those three games. The driving aspect is reduced to its simplest form, since there is only one pedal (accelerator) and no speed shifter but a skull shaped lever used to activate weapons. The player can customize his vehicle (a pin code system saves profiles on the local network) and the car takes damages, but even driving with 3 wheels does not seem to affect performance.
The principle is a bit of a Mario Kart on steroids (albeit more brutal). Graphically, the game is not at the level of GRID or Sega Rally 3, but is not ugly either. The courses are full of fantasy (for example, the spider hideout where you fall through its web or the dinosaur that invites itself to the race around a corner). There are also Achievements to be completed in order to increase the score and thus the points to spend on improving the car. Among the weapons, there are mines to launch forward, homing missiles, machine guns, a big foot mode, a "mini" mode, ... Dirty Drivin' is fun as hell in multiplayer (up to 8 machines can be lined-up).
Terminator Salvation is presented for the first time in its super deluxe format at the London show. Equipped with a projector, a 100" screen and a big sound system, players fight almost full sized Terminators. The machine is impressive, you must just be careful not to place it too close to a light source.
Still available too, Super Bikes 2 is more immersive than the first one thanks to its 42" HD LCD screen. Do not hesitate to replace it with this one, you won't regret it!
In Cascading Balls, the player must release the balls at the right time to descend the rapids and reach the gates worth of tickets. If you touch the right gate, you trigger the "Mammoth Jackpot" which drops new balls. Cascading Balls is fully adjustable for prices.
Dunk Tank Prize uses two buttons to direct and bring down a plunger on a switch to release a price sometimes with an amazing size as this giant Toblerone. As well as Toblerone, Namco provides also electronic products of its own brand Kyoto.
Namco Prize distributes many derived products of its headlight licenses but sells other products like these adorable stuffed animals.
Unlike its predecessor, this one is no longer equipped with a camera digitizing the player's head but can dispensing tickets. The graphics are now 3D. In Real Puncher 2, the player will face a burglar, a crazy truck, a sea monster and a giant meteorite. The game consists of three trials: the machine calculates the equivalent in weight of the player's striking force and the stage is cleared if he reaches the required number of kg.
Shh...! Welcome to Frightfearland (Haunted Museum II in Japan) arrives in Europe now. This lightgun shooter takes place in an amusement park haunted by evil clowns. Players must show no fear to get rid of these clowns while rescuing the hostages since the goal is to rescue 100 hostages spread across the 15 levels (plus 1 bonus). In addition, there are three different endings depending on the numbers of people saved. 12 mini-games are added to the missions. It's too bad that the realization is so bad, there are good ideas in this game...
On the stand, there is also Power Truck, a truck racing game from Taiwanese company IGS. There are six races that can be selected in 2 directions and 5 trucks are available. Two types of bonuses are dispersed on the tracks: "woofer" produces sound waves that shake rivals and "booster" increases the truck speed temporarily. In addition to the "race" mode, there are a "battle" mode for up to 4 players and an "extra" mode composed of 3 trials (slam, drift and time trial) for which the player can participate to the world ranking. The game has an honest realization but unfortunately all the fun is spoiled by an awful handling.
Go go Grand Prix, the 4 players slot car racing game from Gamewax is also still available but now with an optional ticket dispenser.
Guns, equipped with 3 firing modes, are the same as in Ghost Squad with the addition of a scope on which a speaker broadcasts the instructions of GHOST's chief. There is unfortunately no card reader anymore, suppressing the unlockable alternate paths and the choice of weapons and costumes in game start. However, players can always get new weapons and gadgets throughout the game. Operation G.H.O.S.T. is not bad but it has lost interest compared to the first episode and it's not much better graphically. The cabinet features LEDs that light up in sync with the events on screen. It is available in 42 " and 52 " deluxe versions.
Sega pleases Virtua Tennis series fans by releasing Virtua Tennis 4 in arcades. The line-up includes 19 male and female players such as Federer, Nadal, Sharapova, Wozniacki,... There are now three buttons, the third being used to trigger a devastating blow when the 'match monument' gauge is full. Another novelty is the presence of mini-games designed to help players improving their game. The cabinet welcomes up to four players for 2v2 matches. The game runs on RingEdge and has very neat graphics.
Still available, Super Monkey Ball Ticket Blitz is one of the best redemption video game.
Riding the wave of small mobile and PC games, Sega releases the Bejeweled puzzle game where you have to swap gems on the touchscreen to create lines of 3 gems of the same kind. 2 cabinets placed back-to-back creates a large multicolored diamond welcoming four players who can play together to win tickets. Stools are optional.
Deal or no Deal is back in a Mega Deluxe version equipped with a bonus wheel offering up to 2000 tickets. Based on the popular TV show, this game is very addictive. Good point: the game is localized in English, French, Spanish and Russian. Lit floor and stool are optional.
Another redemption, Frogger is still available.
Andamiro releases the arm wrestling game Over the Top which reminds of Jaleco's Arm Champs series (and the Sylvester Stallone movie). This game features irresistible graphics and allows players to take on opponents of an equivalent force to theirs. The machine gives tickets. Classic but effective.
This new Sonic kiddie ride will delight the two small kids which will move to the sound of Sonic games music. The car model is inspired by Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Arcade.
Unveiled in Japan a year ago, the iP system makes the urinal fun by offering "daring" mini-games where the accuracy of your stream will be tested. The idea is that customers will urinate less on the floor thanks to this system.
Billed as the first interactive 7D attraction, Triotech's XD Dark Ride is the top of the crop. Several trips are offered, adventures in which players equipped with 3D glasses and armed with pistols have to shoot as many enemies as possible. But the ride is hectic including many vertical drops which are very well simulated by the motion seats. Lighting effects, smoke and wind complete immersion. A real success!!!
Sega Prize Europe!'s 2012 range consists of very beatiful plush toys Bad Bear, MonstAHH!, OMG So Kawaii, Txt Me Bck, Super Monkey Ball, Victoria Cup Cakes and With It. Not forgetting of course, new Hello Kitty: Garden Fairy. These goods are ideal for ICE cranes: Grab 'N' Win and Win Every Time. The peculiarity of the latter is that if the player does not catch the plush, he wins a consolation prize.
For their first time at EAG, Scan Coin presents their cash management systems: RCS 800 (coins and notes), CashComplete (no cash exposure until its in a secure place) and CDS 707 (7 bills per second, fake money detection and note recognition included).
Industrias Lorenzo showcase their range of spare parts (including some custom products manufactured to customer needs): joysticks, buttons, steering wheels, pedals, speed shifters, doors,...
A.G.I.S. is another Taiwanese editor publishing the magazines A.G.I.S. Magazine, Hot Games, Hot Games Annual, Hot Games Amusement & Parks, Selections and On Sale.
Polish company Jakar Arkadiusz Zielinski manufactures all sort of amusement machines, from kiddie rides to boxers as well as pushers and air hockey tables.
Digital Centre designs and manufactures photo booths: The Strip, The Wall Strip, The Mega Strip and the new Fold 'n' Go.
This year, E-Service presents its new website and 2012 catalogue listing 26" and 42" screen replacement kits, LED lighting and pool clothes and spare parts among other things.
Innovative Technology exhibits its large range of cash handling equipment (bank note validators, bill acceptors, payout solutions).
Carpets from Antrim Contract Carpets are made in Belfast from pure English wool. On booth, some examples of the new Vegas Nights collection.
Beside gaming machines, Wessex Coin sells new and used video games and redemptions.
Kids will always be secure in Jolly Roger's interactive and non-interactive kiddie rides since safety is their #1 priority.
In 2012, Suzo Happ extends its range of LED lighting options that will revitalize your old machines.
Change machine manufacturer Thomas Automatics showcases its latest 8000 series range as well as a cashless payment solution.
Beside prizes for arcades, capsule toys and bouncing balls, Expendedora Kalash provides candy machines and virtual pinballs.
>As usual, all kinds of amusement machines are present at United Distributing Company. Here are some advanced kiddie rides such as the Rockin' Helmet Ride which offers 4 selectable rides and the Coffee cup Carousel.
Aside Fruit Ninja FX, 2 new games are showcased for Adrenaline Amusements' 46" touchscreen platform Touch FX: Flight Control FX where the player has to guide airplanes to their landing zones and Infinity Blade FX where the player faces more and more powerful knights in epic duels. Furtunately, points won during fights can be used to upgrade equipment (helmet, armor, sword and shield). This game is very beautiful thanks to its use of the Unreal 3 engine. The Touch FX cabinet is available as mono station and 2 and 3 screen setup, an optional ticket dispenser is available.
Another original redemption: Cube Shooter. A lightgun shooting game where you have to hit the LED blocs a maximum of times in the allowed time for each level. Accuracy is very important in this game since each missed shot cancels the point multiplayer.
Currently very popular are the cotton candy vending machines. The Fresh Cotton Candy Factory serves you a delicious cotton candy in 60 seconds. The icing on the cake: it is not sticky and is only 70 calories.
Sound Leisure showcases its large range of jukeboxes. New this year: the new version of Opweb website that allows operator to manage their jukeboxes remotely, the new VenueHub P32 audio/video jukebox, the Starburst budget digital jukebox and the Rocket 88 classic CD jukebox CD based on a Rock-Ola model of the 50's.
Other jukebox manufacturer JayBox provides jukeboxes that can permanently accesses an online stock of more than 100,000 chansons from the 50's to today's hits. Currently on trials, JayBox Live Access will soon offer remote monitoring of the jukeboxes. A particularity of JayBox's online jukeboxes is the strong backward compatibility allowing 5 year old machines to be updated the same way as the newest models.
Spanish company Salysol produces canned dried nuts and sweets for the vending market. They also sells the related machines.
New at Northern Leisure Group T/A Kiddy Rides: Peppa Pig car, "Sing-A-Long Bus" karaoke bus and Swing Boat.
We're now at Harry Levy. By the way, let's note the X-Terminator slot machine which include almost unchanged Terminators from the movies in its design...
Here is the 1 player version of Chameleon Paradise, a redemption that met a great success last year.
Harry Levy's flagship product this year is the High Wire 12-player inline bulldozer and its acrobatic clown traveling along the machine.
Xcel Concepts provides gadgets and their packaging for restaurants and fast-foods children menus (Magic Box, Happy Meal, ...). They can of course be customized.
TouchHits manufactures digital touchscreen jukeboxes.
The usual crane and excavator for kids at Ritter.
Belgian manufacturer Elaut showcases a 3-player version of their The Wizard of Oz pusher (which is equipped with a joystick) and a trailer version of the E-Claw crane.
After Hello Koty, Kupper-Automaty strikes again with this Lightning McQueen disguised as a police car.
Originally formed to provide conversion kits and rebuilt machines, PW Sales presents its first product: Gold Mine, a 6-player pusher delivered at a very competitive price.
Portuguese company Electrodiver makes the smallest kiddie rides in the world.
Network Resource Management is the network bingo specialist with products like Bingo Express, Freestyle Paper Bingo, Lotto-Xtra and Bingo-Xtra.
Many different machines are on display at Instance Automatics including Maxx Grab Evolution, Police Box, Surprise Eggs, Candy Princess, Pirate and Pirate Junior cranes and Tubin' Twist redemption.
Among others, AMG Leisure distributes LAI Games skill games: Choo Choo Train, Princess Castle, Pirate Battle and Speed of Light. In this one, the player must press the lit buttons in time. Players speed and reflexes are put to the test!
Tool Billiard provides pool table clothes of all dimensions, colours and weight through its different collections: Eurospeed, Eurosprint, Le Cardinal and Petrow.
WIK builds snookers, darts, soccer tables and air hockey tables such as the aquatic Shark which playfield is underwater.
Kalkomat's latest release is the Lumberjack strength tester, which is located next to the Mask Boxer. Also exhibited; Sexer (where the player earn thongs for his girlfriend), Dog (for kids) and Boxer Fire. The Kalkomat calendar can be seen as Amusement's Pirelli. The theme for 2012 is "Rock Out!" where all models pose with electric guitars.
SB Machines sells Italian kiddie rides, some of which being manufactured under license (Hello Kitty, Tom & Jerry, The Smurfs, ...). Also on booth is the brand new VdW International pusher: Zodiac. It features an interactive bonus game based on astrological signs.
SAM Leisure is specialized in billiard and air hockey tables of all sizes.
As usual, let's finish this tour with the promo girls. This charming pirate welcomes you at the entrance of the Deadstorm Pirates 3D attraction.
Give some money to Rays of Sunshine and you will help to realize the wishes of ill children.
Regarding video games, big attractions Deadstorm Pirates 3D and XD Dark Ride are highly recommended to all amusement parks. For arcades, there are some good new machines: ReRave by Step Evolution, Dirty Drivin' from Raw Thrills and Sega's Virtua Tennis 4. Super deluxe versions of Terminator Salvation and Pac-Man Battle Royale are good choices if you have the required space. At Taito, we apprecdiate the return of Real Puncher while regretting the absence from the show of Darius Burst Another Chronicle which is a masterpiece. Deadstorm Pirates and Let's Go Island are proposed this year in upright versions which are good for location with limited space since these games don't lose their interest in this format. On the other hand, Let's Go Island 3D doesn't add much value to the original while Operation GHOST and Shh...! Welcome to Frightfearland suffer from a poor realization. Despite not being shown at the show, Tekken 6 Bloodline Rebellion fighting game is now available at Namco. Although belated, the initiative is welcome as well as the European release of the Animal Kaiser trading card game for kids.
The trend observed last year continues: more and more video games are offered with an optional ticket dispenser. Among good redemption machines, last year productions Super Monkey Ball Ticket Blitz from Sega and Hopping Road from Taito are still good bets.
EAG International 2013 will be held at the ExCeL from January 22 to 24, 2013. Hopefully, we'll see titles expected by Western players such as Initial D Arcade Stage 6 AA, Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4, Hatsune Miku Project DIVA Arcade, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS. Full Boost, Dragon Ball Zenkai Batlle Royale, Taiko no Tatsujin, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, ...
Text / pictures: Sophie & Nomax.
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