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!
Raw Thrills's new racer is out! Launched at ASI 2007 show in Las Vegas, The Fast and the Furious Drift, that's the name, is an upgrade to the popular Fast and the Furious released in 2004. Still so fun, this brand new version offers 12 new cars and 7 additional tracks taking place in and around Tokyo (for a grand total of 19 courses!). The goal is still to earn money while racing in order to upgrade and tune your car (which is kept in the machine thanks to a PIN code). New feature: the player can purchase spare parts faster by adding credits. Thus like in real life, richest people will have the best cars. The cabinet features a 27" monitor and is available as sitdown and upright versions. Up to 8 machines can be linked-up for furious multiplayer races. The Fast and the Furious Drift will hit Europe in the next few weeks. You can already place an order at your local Namco distributor. For more information, check the game's page.
Good news for Ryo Hazuki fans! Yu Suzuki has recently declared to the japanese magazine Amusement Journal that he's working on a fighting game featuring Shenmue characters. Even if we don't know much about it now, we can already announce the presence of the following fighters: Ryo & Iwao Hazuki, Lan-Di, Fukuhara, Chai, Guizhang Chen, Tom, Ren, Wong and Dou Niu on the boys side. Girls will be represented too with Shenhua Ling, Nozomi Harasaki, Megumi and her cat, Joy, Xiuying Hong, Fang Mei and Yuan. As in the original game, everyone will have his own fighting technique. This game which definitive title has not yet been unveiled will run on Lindbergh Red system. It will use a modified version of the Virtua Fighter 5 engine but will be played with 4 buttons: punch, kick, throw and guard. Yu Suzuki announces they took the Shenmue II character models as a base but that they highly increased the polygons number and texture size to make the most beautiful fighting game ever seen. Fights will take place in locations familiar to players of the first two episodes. Game's development is not far away from ending and the first location tests will occur this summer. This is an april fool!
Mushiking and Love and Berry are, as a reminder, two kiddy arcade games from Sega using collectible cards . If it's for kids, there's some merchandising too... After various products, Sega found another way to take advantage of its licences: cartoons! Indeed from 2005 to 2006, japanese kids followed the adventures of Popo and his insect friends in "King of Beetle Mushiking - Legend of the Forest People", created by a dreamteam led by Shigeyasu Yamauchi (Blood+, Digimon: The Movie, Dragon Ball Z and Saint Seiya movies). The series being very successful, it's naturally that "Mushiking: The Road to the Greatest Champion" animated movie was released in japanese theaters on march 21st with its girly variation "Oshare Majo Love and Berry: Shiawase no Mahou" directed by Tomomi Mochizuki (Maison Ikkoku, Ranma ½, Zettai Shonen) telling a magical girl story. Maybe these animes will come to Europe soon...
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