The following post has been adapted for use from this post over at ArcadeHeroes.com. Original post by Adam Pratt of Arcadeheroes.com, used with permission. Some changes have been made for our audience, with a stronger focus on redemption content. We will link to some of Arcade Heroes’ videos, or we’ll link to our own videos from the show where prudent. We will also link to various products on our site where they are listed already. For those that aren’t, stay tuned!
Amusement Expo 2021 is officially over, so with the dust settled, let’s take this opportunity to talk about what was on-hand, and what is coming to our industry in the months ahead. While our friends at Arcade Heroes were there, our own Walter K. also made a visit and was able to check out what the show had to offer.
For those who aren’t familiar with Amusement Expo, this is an annual tradeshow that focuses on the arcade, laser tag, and “LBE VR” (Location-based Entertainment VR) industries. It’s usually held in Las Vegas, as it was this year.
The Arcade Heroes booth wrap-up video. Some of the booths/products mentioned below can be found here.
We’ll go through each manufacturer alphabetically, which means that we start with:
They brought two new games: Twister and an Angry Birds-themed whacker, which joins the ranks of their Minions-themed whacker. Twister is a licensed redemption game based upon the classic board game of the same name and comes with a giant cabinet that senses both foot and hand touch on the colored dots.
While Adrenaline has been testing several titles on the market lately, such as Hungry Hungry Hippos, Drakons: Keepers of the Realm and Zombie Smasher, those particular games were not there. This was mainly due to the fact that the company is headquartered in Quebec and due to the on-going travel restrictions, that prevented all but two of the staff from attending. Otherwise, they also featured the redemption game Spinner Frenzy, Crazy Tower, the 65″ version of Tomb Raider and the 4-player version of Hot Wheels: King of the Road.
They had a small booth, with a focus on their new titles which work great for routes. These were: Avengers, Basketball Pro, and Spongebob SquarePants Soccers Stars vending model. The latter two games have route specific models that are compact & pretty inexpensive, but you can also find ticket redemption versions of each.
We didn’t have a lot of time to visit photobooth creators, but Apple was there showing off their Marvel Adventure Lab, which is still available new.
This was perhaps the most sparse I’ve ever seen a BNA booth, with Pac-Man’s Pixel Bash cocktail model serving as the only video piece, but they did assure me that IAAPA will have some new stuff. I heard from a non-BNA source that they are working on revitalizing one of their 00’s era titles, so we’ll see if it’s there…
This was a pretty busy booth any time I dropped by, as their two newest pieces – Axe Master and Rock The Rim – were drawing crowds. Axe Master is out there at Dave & Busters as Hatchet Hero, bringing axe throwing to arcades (although it’s still an enormous game) while Rock The Rim is Bay Tek’s take on the popular video basketball genre (I.e., it has a video screen as the backboard and you play one of several mini-games, not just shooting hoops or doing typical rounds). That one also makes use of LEDs in the rim as a timer which was a nice touch. I wasn’t able to get a turn on Axe Master but it was one game I never saw unoccupied. You can see those two pieces in the video at the top [PTA Note: We will have both video and product listings for these two games soon]
The star of this booth was a new rendition of their carnival game Ring Toss called Ring Toss Jr. It’s the same game, just in a slightly smaller package that will be available at a lower price. They also had Plinko, Boardwalk Big Spin and Black Hole redemption games on hand.
To my surprise, none of the products that they showed off at Bowl Expo the week prior were present (SpaceWarp 66 Mega, VR-Xperience and Surfin’ Surfari), but they did have a few smaller crane machines and Dicey Jump by Touch Magix. While things have changed behind the scenes for Touch Magix (due to the pandemic), orders are still placed through distributors like us; The only difference is the shipment origin.
Arcade Heroes did an extensive report on what was found for this new company based out of Japan & Singapore, but you might have noticed that we have listed three new dedicated cabinet designs for this system on our website. These debuted at Amusement Expo 2021 as: 2-player horizontal screen; 2-player vertical screen; and the 4-player horizontal screen models. We are the first US distributor to list their product and provide the most details on their systems via those product pages.
The exA itself is a modern system designed with the Neo Geo MVS concept in mind, allowing the operator to change out the games as each is on a small cartridge. This makes obtaining new games or refreshing your selection easy and inexpensive. But it also means that you can obtain more new content without having to break the bank. In fact, this company had more new titles on display than anyone else at the show, offering more than we’ve ever seen for new in one show sitting. Many more titles are in development, making this the perfect option for route operators and arcades who are looking to revitalize and expand their game selection.
ICE had a packed booth, primarily showcasing their new Monopoly Roll-N-Go game(which is available in different sizes), as well as a newer-looking version of their All-In redemption game, their Hoop It Up game and the NBA Game Time Pro, one of the pieces meant for homes. The rest of the booth was filled out with familiar favorites, including their air hockey and other sports games.
IT was focused on two pieces – Golden Tee PGA Tour and Retro Raccoons. For obvious reasons, Golden Tee 2021 was nowhere around. The new cabinet for Golden Tee looks really nice, far better than the old one, and at least the game is in 4K. It also has no coin payment available – just bills or NFC. The same mostly goes for Retro Raccoons, which has a bill acceptor option, but not your traditional coin door. RR now has around 40 mini-games with more on the way; I’ll also have news on this one sometime soon. This is possibly the lowest priced brand new video piece of the show, making it attractive for its bar/arcades target market.
Komuse is making a strong play for the US market by introducing three new pieces at this show, a merchandiser called Swing & Smash, then two redemption titles known respecitvely as Drop It Drop It and CocoBowl. Swing & Smash serves as a great replacement to the KeyMaster while the other two make for excellent redemption pieces. Stay tuned for more info on those soon.
The star of this booth was certainly Angry Birds Coin Crash, which was also being played the few times I stopped by. While this one won’t be available to ship until August, it may very well become the hottest and best earning coin pusher ever made, due to the coin tower crashing mechanic. The company also had their Slam ‘N Jam Ultra basketball machine, Pearl Fishery 2p, Virtual Rabbids: The Big Ride, Toy Frenzy, and a Hyper Pitch.
This big booth had two new pieces that have been in the news for a while: Minecraft Dungeons Arcade and King Kong of Skull Island VR. The videos below provide more detail about these titles, which were two of the most popular games seen at the show. The booth also had a variety of other RT pieces we’d seen in the past, including Nitro Trucks, the non-ticket/amusement mode of Bust-A-Move Frenzy, the 2-player model for Halo: Fireteam Raven, TMNT, Big Buck Hunter Reloaded, and Cruis’n Blast. While some were lamenting that the show had “no new drivers,” we would consider Nitro Trucks to be new, since it was short-changed by the pandemic and the full release happened last summer, but many overlooked it as they held off on investments until now.
Really Big Crane Co.
This up & coming crane manufacturer was there with their Buzz & Win and Find A Key machines. They also had their video basketball game Zombie Jam running a complete/finished version of their software compared to when we saw them last year. The video below shows the old version; This post will be updated with the new version once posted to YouTube.
Sega filled out their booth space nicely, although if you were looking for something new-new, I think they’re keeping that powder dry for IAAPA. As seen in the booth’s video at the top, they did have Power Roll, House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, ATV Slam, Mario & Sonic Olympics Tokyo 2020 Arcade Edition, Hot Racers and a Capto Crane. Mission: Impossible Arcade was not there, which might be due to the limited supply and is a bit large to be handling right now(shipping costs have been very high this year), but I’m sure we’ll see it, Jet Blaster, and some other new games at IAAPA.
Stern had a great-looking booth, packed with their latest stuff including 4x The Mandalorian (3 Pros, 1 Premium), a Led Zepplin, Avengers Infinity Quest, and more. I enjoyed The Mandalorian, it has a much better game flow than Star Wars 2018 does, and the series is probably the hottest thing in Star Wars right now.
Jet Pong was the big star of this booth, although they had plenty of air hockey to enjoy too. If Jet Pong sounds unfamiliar to you, Arcade Heroes recorded a very early version of the concept back in 2015, but what they had here looked completely different and arcade-ready. Unfortunately, it’s a title that we didn’t capture on film, so we’ll have to wait for the next show to share a glimpse.
They had one game to play, and that was Vader Immortal Lightsaber Dojo. Graphically this one looks really nice, the cabinet is impressive and the gameplay is a little different than you might expect, given that you’re training on the dark side of the Force instead of the light.
They had a packed booth with several new redemption pieces (as shown at the video at the top); There were several new redemption pieces, but we were unable to find out about distribution at this time. If they are made available for us to carry, then they will be added to the site in all of the detail you expect us to provide.
Unfortunately, there were several companies who normally appear at events like this who were not there – some domestic, some international. We hope that this situation changes by the next trade show that we attend, but understand that it’s a fluid situation. If you are curious about other tradeshows, check out our 2021 tradeshow & event calendar.
We agree with Arcade Heroes that it was a good show. It was great to connect with old friends as well as our new ones that we’ve been unable to see during the pandemic, and we really look forward to what is in store with IAAPA 2021.