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.
Seen in TF1's one o'clock news (the biggest french private TV channel) is a 2 minutes report on arcade games. The action was shot in Tokyo where we could see people playing Taiko no Tatsujin, DrumMania V3, beatmania, GuitarFreaks, Dance Dance Revolution SuperNOVA, Pop'n Music and Mah-jong Fight Club. Reporters even briefly explained the operation of Gundam - Senjou no Kizuna, Sangokushi Taisen and Star Horse 2. The news presenter then concludes the report by these words: "Japan will always astonish us that much with their video games.". This report can be seen on the show's website. It's very uncommon for mainstream medias to talk about arcade games and it's worth greeting them for that. Unfortunately, they were once more showed as a "japanese curiosity" even though some of these games stand in our european arcades (those nobody talks about). The time when we were updated with the latest arcade news through the consoles magazines is far behind. Nevertheless, the trend is slowly changing. For instance, english gaming magazine GamesTM recently published a preview of Silent Hill - The Arcade and an After Burner Climax review while american Hardcore Gamer Magazine presented an Aliens Extermination review. Television is also concerned as last friday, US TV channel Spike broadcast a report on Big Buck Hunter Pro developers Play Mechanix in its Game Head show. Air time was 1am, but it's a good start. Hopefully these weren't single shots. Now the door is opening again, it's up to sector actors to better communicate with the external world.
Here's a short report of the World Club Champion Football World Cup that took place on May 19th at Woking's Big Apple (in England). After a 100% italian final, AC3 won against AC West Bromwich by 2 goals to 1 and a tie (1-1). Teams who reached the knockouts were the Japanese Bambi Lion Heart and RC Blue Eagle, Spanish Hidalgos Team V and Allastors, English Plattie and Goal Architect and of course Italian AC3 and AC Bromwich. AC3 eliminated the japanese champion Bambi (1-1, 2-1) then Plattie beat Hidalgos Team V (3-1, 1-2). Goal Architect gave a hard time before losing versus AC West Bromwich (1-0, 0-1, 1-2) and RC Blue Eagle beat the Allastors (2-2, 2-1). Semi-finals were full of suspense; AC3 started by crushing Plattie (2-0), this one took his revenge (3-1) before losing the third match (1-4). All meetings of AC West Bromwich and RC Blue Eagle concluded by ties (1-1, 0-0, 1-1) and Italians reched the final thanks to penalties. So congratulations to Francesco (AC3) from Brescia for his beautiful victory. The competition occured in a good atmosphere and was improved by Kitcarson's lively commentaries. Find all results on the official website.
Soon comes the football world cup finals! I mean the WCCF ones of course! After Italy in 2006; England is chosen to host the second WCCF International Cup. The event will take place on Saturday May 19Th on 10:00am at Woking's Big Apple. it will be a gathering of the best players from England and Scotland but also those from Spain, Italy, Japan and event United Arab Emirates. In addition to the cup, many other prizes will be offered such as signed football shirts and exclusive memorabilia. Of course, we'll keep you informed of this major tournament's results. More than 100 WCCF machines are in operation throughout Europe. They spread between the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Greece. For more information about this title, check out its dedicated page.
Those who love charts will be pleased. As a reply to a request on the forum, we drawn up a ranking of country's 20 biggest arcades and mobile lunaparks. These charts are statistics based only. The following data were used to build it (in this order): the number of different games, the multiplayer setups and the modernity of the titles in operation. Therefore, this is not a quality measurement. This ranking will be updated in real time so remember to report any change happening in your favourite location. Logically, the biggest arcades are found on the coast but not only. For instance, behind Blankenberge's Sportland and Oostende's Reflex, you find the Family Games Center in Charleroi and Westouter's Las Vegas. Look at our map to locate them. Even if video games have become scarcer in our funfairs, lunaparks like the New Casino, the Coney-Island and the Bonanza still have a nice bunch of titles. Check out the charts for the remaining big locations. On the other hand, Tops 5 of the most profitable games in Japan (both upright and dedicated cabinets) covering the period of march to april were just published. At the top, you still find Virtua Fighter 5 and Mah-jong Fight Club 5 respectively. These charts didn't changed much, except for the return of Virtua Tennis 3 in fifth position (upright side) and the arrival of Initial D - Arcade Stage 4 (that should soon be out there) taking the place of Taiko no Tatsujin 9 in second position of the dedicated cabinets ranking. After this mini trip to east asia, let's get back home. As no official belgian "Top 10 best arcade games" charts exist anymore, it's up to you to draw up the ranking. All you have to do is to vote for your favourite game among the last ten titles released in this country. It happens on the forum. You must be registered in order to vote (this is to avoid having multiple entries by the same individual) but it's an opportunity to join us! Nobody forces you to take part in the talks anyway. The important thing is that you vote. If you were on holiday in a galaxy far, far away during the last couple of years and you never tried any of these games, don't worry; where to play them is written below the poll form. Deadline is June 30th 2007. On this date, the ranking will be published on our website. We rely on your contribution! Last but not least, Namco recently put on line the international version of Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 worldwide ranking. From now on, you can enter this ranking using the password written under "Time Attack Password" on your game card.
We all remember Area 51, Atari's lightgun shooting game released in 1995. Developed by Mesa Logic, this smash hit got a sequel three years later poetically named Site 4. Paramount Pictures bought the rights in 2004 to make a movie version (one's find his inspiration where he can). And then... nothing. That's what we thought until well-known scottish comic books author Grant Morrison, who notably published his work through DC Comics and Marvel, joined the team earlier this month. His job is to enhance the current screenplay written by Dean Georgaris (writer for Paycheck and Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life). Good point; creatures will be designed by Stan Winston. In addition to these two men, producers board also includes Christine Forsyth-Peters (How to lose a guy in 10 days) and Michael Aguilar (The Departed). The story is about a hazardous materials specialist called to Area 51 to investigate a viral outbreak that could be of an extra-terrestrial origin. The film should be released in 2009. Hopefully they'll do better than the awful movie adaptation of The House of the Dead!
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