As usual, London's Preview trade show will be the place to be to discover what's coming next year. Preview 2008 will be held on Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th October in Novotel London West. Of course, the biggest manufacturers and distributors will be there, here's what you'll be able to see this year: Let's start with Bandai Namco's stand where you'll can try for the first time the "super deluxe" versions of Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 3 and The Fast and the Furious Drift. In fact, it's composed of four linked standard units on a specially designed platform surrounded by a giant header specially lightened to attract potential players. Tekken 6 should also be present on the booth aside a two players skill vending machine, a ticket redemption game and two different photo booths. Products shown at ATEI 2007 will be showcased once more. At Sega's, you'll find Sega Race TV, Virtua Fighter 5, Asian Dynamite, Primeval Hunt, Let's Go Jungle! Special, 2 Spicy, Virtua Tennis 3 and Shoot This Win This. While Cosmic Video will present latest Global VR titles (NASCAR Racing, America's Army, Alien Extermination and Paradise Lost). Last but not least, you'll find Chase HQ 2 on Electrocoin's booth. There will surely be other interesting machines showcased there and if you want to avoid queues at the entrance, you should register today because preregistration closes tomorrow.
Let's Go Jungle! Special, Sega's latest big attraction, is coming to Europe in January 2008! This game is hosted in the same giant cabinet as The House of the Dead 4 Special: a big box of 3,6 on 3 meters and a height of 2,72m including two 2,5m screens and a 360° rotating seat immersing players in the game's environment. Here, you have to battle hordes of insects and other mutant beasts in a exciting ride throughout jungle in a jeep, on a boat and while riding an elephant. The seat is equipped with two vibrating UZIs, 5 speakers and air blasters. The choice of Let's Go Jungle! as the second title to be converted to the "Theatre Attraction" format is logical as this refreshing shooting game meets a good success worldwide. Find more information on the game's page.
Last years, more and more gamerooms saw daylight. Indeed, a lot of young adults dedicate a room of their house to their video games passion with this electronic version of our childhood's "playroom". Today's trend is to open these rooms to the general public. This week, Jof from Anderlecht opens his gameroom's doors. All gamers are cordially invited to come have a drink while playing this Sunday, September 9th at 2 o'clock. You'll find there: consoles (Dreamcast, PC Engine, NES), pinballs (Fish Tales, The Flinstones, Last Action Hero, Popeye), pachislots (Dracula X, O Gamera, Yoshimune) and of course arcade games including a Neo-Geo MVS, Fist of the North Star and Out Run. The gameroom is located at 284 Rue de Nerpede in Anderlecht (Belgium). Prior coming, you have to confirm your presence as well as the number of persons coming with you by e-mail.
Global VR offers the occasion to "wannabe" GI to discover in arcade the "wonderful" U.S. Army world. In America's Army (AA for close friends), the player makes his firt steps as a new recruit of Uncle Sam's grand army... Before arcade market, U.S. army has already invaded (sic) PC, console and cellular phones markets. All kind of merchandising has also been launched (see official website)... According to Global VR, it's a new communication channel with young americans. Training exercices are 100% official and were created with cooperation of units of the U.S. army : exrcices are always released with target (of course it's not question of taking part here in an unspecified war, it's only training), the game get the green label "non-violent target shooter". To convince young amercian that the army it's good, authentic army videos and other information have been added to the game. Depending on the results, the drill sergeant will evaluate his pupil's skills: teamwork, accuracy, speed and judgment... Those are indeed qualities of a real soldier to join U.S. army leaderboard (notice that torture is'nt quoted). The game has 8 levels (sniper course, shotgun training, mover target, ...) and the "dynamic" difficulty system will make the game easy for new recruits and more difficult for experienced players. AA can be played up to 2 players.
Atlus announced on Tuesday that all 150 machines named Udemashii (Arm Spirit) in operation in Japan will be recalled. The cause: 3 players broke their arms while playing this arm wrestling simulator: a Japanese and South-Korean and French tourists. Throughout the 10 levels the game counts, you battle (among others) a Chihuahua, a french maid, a drunken martial arts Master to finish with a professional wrestler. Ayano Sakiyama, spokeswoman of Atlus is surprised: "The machine isn't that strong, much less so than a muscular man. Even women should be able to beat it". "We think that maybe some players get overexcited and twist their arms in an unnatural way." she said. Machines will be checked for any signs of malfunction as a precaution. Atlus should re-brand the game as "Arm Breaker", at least, potential players will be warned. This event brings to mind a similar story happened in the 90's. The game was Taito's Sonic Blast Man. The company was accused by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to have failed to report about 70 players injury cases. Taito had to pay a $ 50 000 fine and the game disappeared from Taito America's catalog. Reaction was faster this time.
Sega finally changed its mind! During the last AAMA (American Amusement Machine Association) distributor gala that was held on 3rd august in Itasca, Illinois, the blue hedgehog company announced the future american (and possibly european) release of Virtua Fighter 5. This move's purpose is surely to counter the close arrival of Namco's Tekken 6. The english version of Virtua Fighter 5 will be based on japanese version C but without VF.Net features that will be deactivated. The fighting game will ship in the same Lindbergh Universal Cabinet that already hosted the widescreen version of Virtua Tennis 3. Release is planned before the end of the year.
During august will be released brand new car racing game Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune. It's the third one. Namco prepared some novelties: decorate your car as you like it, enter hundreds of races, play a new "ghost car" mode. Saving cards are still in but cards and card readers used on Maximum Tune 2 cannot be used on Maximum Tune 3 (level up fans will have it hard). New players weren't forgotten since a new concept appeared, gradual learning curve, which will turn casual gamers into hardcore fans! Maximum Tune 3 runs on Namco new N2 hardware, which is said to bring "unprecedented speed and realism"... Multiplayer mode will let 4 drivers face each others. You can contact your Namco distributor for further information knowing that an converting MT 2 into MT3 upgrade kit will be available 2 months after the complete version.
Good news for all pinball lovers: the latest Stern will hit Belgium tomorrow. While playing Spider-Man, you must fight enemies from the 3 movies: Green Goblin, Doc Ock, Sandman and Venom. The playfield is loaded full of interesting features such as a magnet holding the ball, motorized targets, a moving character and multiball modes. The movie staff was involved in the machine design, it includes over 800 voice effects and dot matrix animations showing key scenes of the motion picture. From tomorrow on, Spider-Man will be available from Namusco. About Namusco, M. Bernard Leroy recently left the company, he leaves his Managing Director position to M. Urbain Théwissen (who has been a manager for 6 years). M. Stefaan Michels becomes the new Sales and Export Manager. We wish a lot of success to this new team.
Ben Herman (SNK Playmore's american branch president) recently said the company would develop more arcade games. But on the japanese side, people are not that optimistic. Indeed, the platform switch from Atomiswave to Taito Type X² proved to be harder than tought as problems were encountered, notably regarding products international distribution by Taito. Two games are being developed on this hardware: a new Samurai Shodown and The King of Fighters Maximum Impact Regulation "A" which last test phase is planned for August with a showcase at September's AM Show. However, any delay could mean the end of any further amusement activity for SNK Playmore. Everything will depend on reactions to this KOF. Talking about KOF, the filming of a live motion picture based on King of Fighters will begin in 2008 in Asia. It will be an american/japanese coproduction played in english and directed by Hong-Kong director Gordon Chan (Fist of Legend). The screenplay is signed Chris Chow (Fearless).
After a price drop for Need for Speed Underground (for which Carbon upgrade will be released in 2008), Global VR just announced lower prices for some titles including UltraPin. In addition, the base version of this "pinball simulator" now includes 12 tables. Operators owning the old version can obtain an upgrade CD free of charge containing the 6 new tables as well as a software update by simply contacting their local Global VR distributor. These new tables are: Funhouse, Firepower, Eight Ball Champ, Pin•Bot, Fathom and Black Knight. These price drops were made possible thanks to initiatives taken recently by the company to lower operational costs and to the manufacturing optimizations due to large ordered quantities. Next titles will also be affected.
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