Edit 10/7/2017: I changed all instances of "Q2" to "Q3", because that's when this junk was actually written. My bad, homeslices.
To think I only started this blog in February 2017. It really hasn’t been that long, has it? Sure, there have been some…ahem…holes in my scheduling, to say the least, but I’d like to think I’ve done a fairly decent job of keeping this gosh darned thing going. Oh, and guess what else? The Arcade Hype List was one of my first articles! What a grand return!
Yep, I think it’s finally time to bring this one back. Now, I’ve got a fresh set of five killer arcade games that I’d totally like to play—and heck, you all might wanna play ‘em, too. I’m a bit less emotionally tied to some of these games (cough, Let’s Go Island), but otherwise, I’m hype for a bunch of heavy upcoming hitters. And in the vein of the original Arcade Hype List (then titled the superfluous “Arcade Games That I Can’t Wait to Play”), I’ll start with a brief note.
Brief Note: Q3 2017 doesn’t necessarily mean that all of these games are coming out within the Q3 timeframe. However, I’m pretty sure most of them are. Like last time, it’s just a set of games that we have knowledge of right now, within Q3 2017. They could release in Q4, though. You got me, people?
So yeah, let’s go.
Let’s Go Island: Dream Edition
Release Date: June 2017
Believe it or not, I’m actually rather surprised that I’m anticipating this game. For one, I wasn’t particularly interested in Let’s Go Jungle (mostly because of it’s graphics and theme). I played it once at GattiTown and was done. Also, I have a mild bias against modern Sega arcade games. (Namco and Raw Thrills rule!) Sega’s classic arcade games, however, I really, really like. (I’ll play you one day, The House of the Dead!)
So you’re probably wondering, “What makes you suddenly so interested in Let’s Go Island: Dream Edition?” And honestly, that question is 100 percent justified. My interest in Dream Edition is completely and totally arbitrary in every possible way. For the most part, my interest was piqued by the mere fact that I just find Let’s Go Island: Dream Edition more aesthetically pleasing.
You gotta admit, there is a level of subjectivity in commentary and review.
To put it more eloquently, I like Dream Edition for it’s setting. For whatever reason, I find the island to be more compelling than a jungle—completely subjectively, of course. More objectively, however, I also much prefer the cabinet for Let’s Go Island: Dream Edition. To me, a motion seat is genuinely more compelling as an innovation than an environmental cabinet is. Don’t get me wrong—environmental cabinets are wicked cool. It’s just that, from a gameplay standpoint and from a subjective standpoint, I think the motion seats are a more substantial addition to rail shooters. (Of course, The Walking Dead’s environmental cabinet makes it that much more rad. Also, Jurassic Park Arcade had a deluxe environmental that added motion, as well, so apparently you can have the best of both worlds.)
Perhaps what drew me to this particular Sega arcade release was that, yes, you can totally buy this game as a kit. I know, it’s like…whoa. A kit in 2017? Hey, I’m perfectly fine with that! Though Mr. Adam Pratt of Arcade Heroes probably summed it up more eloquently than me, it sure is uncommon for modern arcade games to be released in kit form. The only other recent kit that I can think of is Skycurser, but as an indie game, I think it has the liberty to do things that are out of the norm. So hey, maybe that’s why I like Let’s Go Island: Dream Edition better than Let’s Go Island! Or maybe it’s because I have no idea what to think about modern Sega arcade games and feel the need to contradict myself into oblivion to avoid making a bad judgment call on their quality.
But yeah, considering that this probably plays exactly the same as any other “Let’s Go” game, I don’t think it’s entirely cruddy for my high opinion of this new release to be hinged on minor theme and cabinet changes. Even if I have no idea what I’m talking about anymore. Moving on?
Daytona Championship USA
Release Date: June 2017
Ah yes, another game that I wasn’t initially pumped about—Daytona Championship USA! Now, it was never that I didn’t care about a new Daytona; it’s just that I don’t have the nostalgic attachment that everyone else has. However, now that I’ve lived through all of those trailers and read so much about it, I think I can honestly call myself, well…hype!
Now of course, there has been a bit of controversy surrounding Daytona Championship USA. For one, Sega removed the “3” from the title because everyone found out that it was just an HD remake with three more tracks. There have also been complaints about the graphics and how the game appears to play. I personally had none of these complaints, though. As we’ve seen in the trailers, the graphics have been significantly improved, and now they look gosh darn great. It’s that proverbial “blue skies 90’s arcade racer” that everybody always talks about in beautiful high-poly, hi-res HD! Also, I haven’t played the original Daytona. I have zero expectations. Just think about it, all you Daytona 3-doubters: This is a chance for young folks like me who never played the original to experience it all in glorious HD! And regardless of how anyone (including myself) feels about the game itself, you have to admit—Sega did a darn good job marketing it. Those 8 slowly released trailers built up my hype and built a sense of mystery and awesomeness around the new game. Sega Amusements has been taking notes from home console marketing efforts, I think!
I sure hope I’m not overhyping this thing. But seriously, the gameplay, graphics, and cabinet all look really nice. I have very limited exposure to Sega racing games. However, after playing Nascar Arcade, I can certainly say that I need to give this game a whirl. And since it was just released, I suppose the only thing I have to do to get my Daytona 3 fix is to go to my local Dave and Buster’s!
Dialed In! Pinball
Developer: Jersey Jack Pinbal
Publisher: Jersey Jack Pinball
Release Date: May 2017
Though I’ve only played actual pinball a few times at the Lake Barkley game room, I still know that it’s totally awesome. I’m also fully aware that Jersey Jack Pinball is particularly spectacular, so naturally, I’m hype for Dialed In! Of course, I still don’t have that much experience with pinball, so…yeah. It’s more that I just wanna play some killer modern pinball from a renowned developer. Also, the theme is pretty cool and amusing. That’s about all I can actually say.
But while we’re on the subject of pinball, I’d like to bring something up. Doesn’t it seem like pinball has increasingly become squarely aimed at collectors? They have all this limited edition crud and the pins are super expensive. Surely I’m not the only one that has assumed this, right? Maybe pinball only appeals to collectors now or something. Well, don’t ask me! I’m inexperienced on the pinball side of things!
I’ve got three words for ya: Arcade Summer Tour.
Yep, Cosmotrons is on my hype for being another cool indie arcade game to pop up within the past few years. And to solidify that hype even further, Arcadeaholics LLC are doing the incredible: taking Cosmotrons on an arcade summer tour. Sure, this is old news—but it’s awesome news just the same. It reminds me of the Mortal Kombat 4 road tour, and it gives me hope that arcades are on the brink of a massive comeback.
Now in terms of the actual game itself, I am still extremely hype. It brings back classic challenging gameplay in an updated format, and that’s just what the arcade scene needs right now. I haven’t played any vector games, but I think it’s safe to say that I’ll still thoroughly enjoy the gameplay experience provided. To top it off, Cosmotrons brings four-player simultaneous multiplayer to the table, taking full advantage of the social aspect of arcades.
Also, Cosmotrons provides us with another glorious innovation of the modern indie arcade game: online content updates. Arcade Heroes reported at the beginning of the month that, beyond the large amount of content that will already be in the game, more content will be added through free online updates.
My only concern with Cosmotrons is its viability outside of retro arcades. Can the Dave and Buster’s market support this? Should Arcadeaholics even bother targeting this market? Time will only tell, I suppose.
Publisher: Raw Thrills
Release Date: TBA 2017
Of all the games on this list, this is most incredibly awesome, incredible, amazing, hype-est of them all. Mark my words: Nex Machina is going to be one of the biggest things to hit the arcade industry in the coming months. It will push the industry forward.
Now of course, this is an extremely bold statement. But believe me, I find it quite justified. For those of you who don’t know (though I’ve written about it before), Nex Machina is a brand new twin-stick shooter produced by the indie developer Housemarque and Eugene Jarvis. It’s already been released on PlayStation 4 and PC, but now it’s coming to arcades. Just like Cosmotrons, it’s bringing classic, tough-as-nails gameplay back to the arcades. Nex Machina also has the benefit of being produced on modern, cutting edge hardware, and it has the blessing of Eugene Jarvis himself.
So what exactly does this mean? Well, my friends, it means that not only are we getting a new and incredible indie release in arcades, but it is also one that is destined to succeed. With Raw Thrills and Housemarque teaming up to release the arcade version, this is a classic-style game that we’ll actually be able to see in Dave and Buster’s. And if they play their cards right (making a cheap cabinet for one thing), Raw Thrills and Housemarque can land their game in all the retro arcades, too!
I’m telling you all, this game will mark a grand movement in arcades. If Housemarque can prove with Nex Machina that hardcore games can still succeed in the modern arcade environment, we may see drastic changes. Raw Thrills may produce even more hardcore games. Heck, Sega and Namco may decide to bring some Japanese titles over to the States that would have NEVER seen before!
Nex Machina is really pushing my hype levels to their limit. The twin-stick shooter genre is one of my all-time favorites, and seeing it come back to the arcades is mind-blowing. Let’s all hope that this game survives—no, thrives. Let’s hope that it’ll be a massive hit, and that developers will no longer feel that there is risk in providing American arcade-goers with hardcore games.
Here’s to the future, people. I just wish I could have thought of more to write for Nex Machina!
You know, things are really looking up for arcades right now. Hardcore games are returning slowly but surely, and it’s really something else. First Killer Queen, then Skycurser, and now Cosmostrons and Nex Machina. Heck, I didn’t even mention ‘Roids!
Keep it really real, people—because things are really real right now.