EAG Trade Show: January 2020

Whilst Arcade Blogger is all about classic arcade video games, it’s always good to go off-piste occasionally, especially when there’s an opportunity to see what’s going on in the world of arcades in the here and now. I visited the annual EAG trade show back in 2018 and wrote about it here. I did attend last year too, but was so underwhelmed by what I saw that I decided it wasn’t worth putting up on the blog. But third time lucky, a bunch of collector friends were going, and I thought I’d take an afternoon off and pop down as I was in London for the day anyway.

Visiting this year reminded me of what I wrote back in 2018 – that is, modern arcades seem to be all about licences, LED strip lights and HUGE cabinets!

Anyway – it was pretty good. There was plenty of stuff to play, and a few interesting pieces that I thought worth sharing here. So here’s the best of what I saw.

Arcade driving games never go out of fashion. What started back in the 70s with the likes of Night Driver and Sprint, has now evolved into huge, brightly coloured, multiplayer units:

Raw Thrills’ Nitro Trucks. Pretty good fun this. This four-play link up produced plenty of laughs as we played. Watch the video here.
Crazy Ride by Unis, is Crazy Taxi on speed. Some interesting gameplay elements on the classic Taxi sim, and a cab that moves around. Watch the video here.
These two have been around for a while now – Mario Kart DX (video) and Super Bikes 3 (video)
This twin rider will set up back £30,000 if you were to buy one here in the UK. Not cheap. But Ultra Moto VR includes VR functionality which really adds plenty to the experience. I loved it. Watch the video here.
And this thing was great. Race Craft is a four player F1 style simulator with pretty authentic car controls. Video here.

VR dominated the show – clearly manufacturers are trying to push this tech out into the public.

The Descent by a company called Holovis looked very interesting. There was always a queue to get on, so I didn’t manage to experience it first hand. But according to the press release: The Descent is a multi-sensory, fully immersive, adrenaline-pumped virtually reality experience, which takes visitors on a journey through a cave system infested by creatures as they battle for survival. The VR experience combines cinematic effects, real-life gaming, 3D soundscapes and immersive audio triggered events, to ensure each experience is unique from the next, as guests reach further into the caves. Four D-Box Actuators create 1.5 inches of heave on the standing motion platform, helping to propel guests into thrilling encounters with terrifying creatures as they make their way through the cave. Holovis decided to team up with D-Box on the project, as the innovative company can generate more than 65,000 different motion cues, including movements, textures and vibrations, designed to enhance the realism of the experience. So there you go!
This was one of a few arenas offering full VR experiences for multiple players at a time. Not quite sure how this pans out in the real world – presumably staff are required to manage the simulator which any operator would need to take into account?

Pinball was poorly represented this year, but I did see Gary Stern wondering about and had a quick “hello” with him. But there were a handful of newer pins on display:

This was pretty much it for pinball – all Stern. From left to right: Iron Maiden, Black Knight, The Beatles, Jurassic Park and Stranger Things
The highlight of the show I think. Lots of anticipation for this pin, and I thought it was pretty good as Stern tables go. The Limited Edition version was playable in a private room out the back as it wasn’t quite finished apparently. I’m told it was a significant improvement over the Pro model here on the floor with many additional features and detail. Watch the video here.

A few other things of note:

This was Sega’s Mission:Impossible Arcade. A huge installation that can accommodate up to four players simultaneously
The action was essentially an on-rails shooter, along the lines of Time Crisis
I thought the game play was pretty uninspiring, and left me wondering why it needed a licence at all.

There was a strict “no photography, no video” sign up, but some footage is out there. Here’s a video from the show floor:

WhatsApp Image 2020-01-15 at 14.42.26
Everyone who played this was taken with it. SpaceWarp 66 requires the player to steer down a tunnel, avoiding the barricades and picking up power ups along the way. It as great fun to play. Gameplay video here
The latest iteration of Atari’s Pong franchise was this thing. Pong Knockout replicates the Warlords mechanic pretty well. Gameplay video here
Raw Thrills seem to have the licence on family friendly arcade fun these days. This is their latest game, using a tie-up with the Nerf franchise. Video here
Sega’s House of the Dead franchise has been updated (yet again) with House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn. More on-rails shooty action. Take a closer look at the game here

Sega were dominant as always at the show, taking up a large footprint. Here, according to them, was the best of their products at EAG:

Another reprise of an old Atari franchise here by our friends at Raw Thrills. Centipede Chaos pits three players together to beat the endless streams of Centipedes dropping from the top of the screen. Pretty cool stuff and this one was enjoyable to play. Check out the gameplay video here

Someone posted a walk-though video here, which is worth a watch to give you an idea of the atmosphere. You’ll pick up some other stuff that I haven’t pictured here too:

So there you have it, another EAG show done and dusted. Some pretty interesting stuff I thought this time around.

Thanks for reading this week.


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One Comment Add yours

  1. neil1637 says:

    Whilst it really isn’t my chosen arena, any day out with friends and arcade cabs, has to be good right. Centipede looked fun as did a couple of others. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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