I am very concerned by how long that title is.
But anyway, I guess I’m doing two articles a week now, aren’t I? Don’t expect that to last too long. School is starting tomorrow, so I think literally all of my time will disappear. School just ain’t too conducive to running a healthy and consistent blog, ya know?
Anyway, I’d better get on with the commentary. If you’ve been reading Arcade Heroes for the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen all three of the above-mentioned little bits of news: the Daytona Championship USA “How-To” video series; the Sega World Drivers Championship 2018 announcement and location test; and the discovery that Injustice: Gods Among Us is coming to arcades. And because of my ever-so-strict schedule, I’m usually a bit late with publishing commentary. Honestly, though, I don’t really mind. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said, “I do this crud for the fun of it,” within the first two paragraphs of a blog post, I’d probably have a few nickels.
I started out this week thinking that I would write an article about “Arcade Games That Should Totally Get Remakes, Sequels, or Spiritual Successors,” but then this all sorta came around and I, you know, dropped it. Man, if I had a nickel for every time I wrote about some article that I was “going to” write but never did. I’d have a few more nickels.
Maybe we should just get on to the commentary, am I right?
Daytona Championship USA “How-To” Video Series
When this video on Daytona 3's Operator Settings popped up in my YouTube notifications, I was quite intrigued. For the most part, Sega’s advertising surrounding Daytona Championship USA had been pretty player-centric, but this video is clearly aimed squarely at operators. And of course, that’s not a bad thing in and of itself. After all, the ability to use these settings effectively is something that operators NEED to know, and operators are the “real” customers in that they’ll be the ones purchasing this game from Sega’s distributors. However, it raises a point that I’ve been iffy on for a while—who are the developers advertising to? Who SHOULD they advertise to?
Like I said, operators are the ones purchasing arcade units; the average player obviously won’t shell out $7-10K for one game. But the thing is, the players are the ones who are, well, playing the games. If they don’t know the game exists in the first place, how are operators supposed to make back their investment?
And you know what? Sega Amusements has been doing an absolutely fantastic job of raising player awareness. They first released a series of trailers, and now, they post on social media every time there’s an arcade that picks up Daytona Championship USA. Players could not possibly be more aware of the game’s existence. However, this “Operator Settings Tutorial” reminds me that, yeah, Sega’s gotta help out their operators, too.
This happens with Raw Thrills, too. While their Instagram account highlights games for players, their Facebook page is full of posts that are unabashedly operator centric, where they’re basically like, “Look at these HUGE earnings!” And these are very necessary posts—it’d just be nice if they could separate advertising to players and advertising to operators. I say this because if players see a video with Operator Settings, for instance, they’ll be aware of every single way their game time can be shortened in the pursuit of higher earnings. And if players see posts about massive earnings, they might just feel like a number, instead of feeling a connection with the arcade games.
So what do I recommend? I think developers could have two accounts—two “sides” of their business—to reach out to different demographics. The main account (let’s call it Sega Amusements) could showcase games and their earning potential, and a secondary account (perhaps “Sega Players,” “Sega Arcade Players,” I dunno) could advertise the games in a much more player-centric way, such as locations that have Sega arcade games and trailers for new games. While my suggested name for the account might not be great, I really do think this is a good idea. The whole “player versus operator advertising” thing has been a problem for a while, and I wish their was some way to perfect it. It IS important—operators buy the games, but players pump money into said games. So whadda we do? Eh, I’m not quite sure. I just really felt like pointing it out.
Oh, by the way: As I was writing this, I saw Mr. Adam Pratt’s reply to my comment about separating advertising efforts, and I figured anything he said would be more worthwhile than my player perspective. (After all, the man has worked at an FEC, worked in distribution, runs THE arcade news site, and owns an arcade himself.) I’ll put a screenshot of the comments here for you all to muse over, and I’ll provide a link to the original article.
Sega World Drivers Championship 2018
Sega’s got another racing coming out; in fact, it’s already on location test in Japan. However, we just don’t know if it’s getting a U.S. release yet, and I really hope it does. I mean, it’s not necessarily that I think this’ll be the coolest game in the universe or anything, but I just don’t like seeing all of these Japanese-only arcade games. Seriously, we can handle ‘em! This game is a pretty technical racer like Maximum Tune 5, and that got a U.S. release. I don’t really see a problem with it, beyond the online play being something U.S. arcade operators aren’t able to handle. (Like seriously, why don’t we have online play in our arcades?)
Racing games in general tend to do well in the West, so a more simulation-esque racer shouldn’t be a deal breaker. And besides, Japanese arcade games have the best graphics in the UNIVERSE. I want some of that arcade-perfect quality in the States!
But yeah, I mostly just brought this game up because of the somewhat shaky possibility of a U.S. release. The way see it, Maximum Tune 5 did it, so Sega should do it with this games. However—and take special note of that however—now might not be the right time. Why, you ask? Well, it’s all because of one huge racing game release that’ll upset this game’s earnings big time: Daytona Championship USA.
Despite my general opinion of Sega Amusements (like how they’ll never be anything like Sega AM2), I have to admit that their handling of Daytona 3 was phenomenal. Sega Amusements slowly but surely released a series of great 30-second trailers that showcased the game really nicely. (Of course, that didn’t stop people from bashing the game, much to my confusion. I’ve never played the original Daytona, but how did the new one look BAD just from a few trailers?) Also, they’ve been, like I said, notifying us of new locations with Daytona 3 setups. With great marketing (and a big helping of mainstream gaming news coverage), Sega has put Daytona Championship USA on the map. They’ve built of plenty of hype, and people actually know about the game. It’s great!
So, uh…how exactly does that affect Sega World Drivers Championship 2018?
Let’s start with the basic fact that this not a well known simulation racer, or even a fairly big Sega IP. In the West, our general knowledge of simulation racers is pretty much limited to Gran Turismo and Forza. Heck, even Maximum Tune’s fans are just a small but dedicated niche—we were lucky for it to even show up in this region. (Thank you again, Namco!)
So, here lies the problem. If Sega drops a fairly unknown simulation racing IP right in the middle of them promoting the heck out of a long-awaited flagship arcade racing franchise, Sega World Drivers Championship 2018 can consider itself as good as dead. Operators will have to make a choice between a new Daytona (which already has a big fanbase) or a much more technical racer that few are already invested in.
It’s not like I don’t want Sega World Drivers Championship, but I can see it being a problem if they release it right now. Luckily, if Sega does decide to bring this game to the West, they’ll have plenty of time to distance the game from Daytona hype, due to just how long it takes to localize a videogame. If it does come over, let’s hope it joins the ranks of Maximum Tune. (And also, like I’ve said before, I hope bringing technical racers to U.S. can help other more complex-ish games be brought over, even though I know there's no genuine correlation there. Japan shouldn’t be the only one to have all the cool arcade games!)
Injustice: Gods Among Us Arcade Release
This news was kind of…interesting to me. I really liked it and was super excited, but at the same time, I was kinda like, “Yeah, but it could’ve been so much MORE.” Don’t worry; I can explain.
You see, Injustice: Gods Among Us was developed by Netherrealm Studios, which happens to helmed by none other than Mr. Ed Boon himself. Unfortunately, he hasn’t worked on an arcade game since The Grid back in 2001, which is quite a shame. (This is especially disheartening considering that he probably would have been the go-to person for keeping fighting games alive in American arcades. Like seriously, Mortal Kombat 9 and Mortal Kombat X should have totally been arcade games.) To hear that Injustice, a fighting game with DC characters, was coming to arcades thanks to good ol’ Raw Thrills—that was awesome news.
Then, I read that it was more like Dinosaur King with DC characters, and that was…pretty okay news. I really like Namco’s Animal Kaiser (another Dinosaur King-esque game), and I wouldn’t mind collecting DC trading cards through the game, so I’m willing to accept the highly simplified gameplay. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the controls are just “Special Attack,” “Light Attack,” “Block,” and “Strong Attack.” So yeah, with the controls and card system, it is kinda just Dinosaur King or Animal Kaiser. But you know what? I can roll with this. Not just because I like Animal Kaiser, and not just because I’d probably like collecting Injustice trading cards—but because of what it could mean for the industry.
Before I explain that, I’d like to take a brief look at a little “Raw Thrills Theory” that I have. In all honesty, I think that they’ve been slowly but surely trying to bring back hardcore arcade games, starting with Killer Queen Arcade in 2014 or so. That was sort of testing the proverbial waters to see if something a little unique could work in arcades. Now, I think they’re going even further by releasing Nex Machina and Injustice: Gods Among Us in arcades. Eugene Jarvis has clearly been wanting to bring hardcore games back for a LONG time, but I think being the head of a business (rather than just making the games) has made it more difficult than he would have liked. So naturally, it’s been a slow process, but…it’s totally worth it. Of course, that’s just a theory.
With that in mind, I think an arcade version of Injustice is just the next step in a grand plan. Sure, it’s not a straight port of a hardcore fighting game, but it IS familiarizing modern arcade gamers with the genre. By simplifying it (and adding the “gimmick” per se of card collecting), Raw Thrills is ensuring that it won’t completely tank in a Dave and Buster’s setting. However, if this arcade-y version of Injustice succeeds (even though fighting games are already inherently “arcade-y” because of their roots), I honestly see Raw Thrills taking the next step and bringing us a legitimate hardcore arcade fighting game.
First, it was providing Killer Queen with a full release. Then, it was Nex Machina. Now, it’s Injustice: Gods Among Us. Get ready, people, because we’re entering a new age of arcade glory. If hardcore games come back and we enter a renaissance, just remember that Wilcox Arcade said it first. If it doesn’t happen…well, nobody reads this crud anyway.
Man, I love Raw Thrills.
It seems like all of the big arcade releases were in the beginning of the summer this year, so I haven’t had a ton to draw from for articles. Luckily, we’ve got three Raw Thrills games coming out that all look really wicked cool: Nex Machina, Injustice: Gods Among Us, and Splash. However, given how we’ve seen absolutely nothing from Splash since the first Arcade Heroes article (and that one deleted article about Specular Interactive being sold to 2K Games), I’m really questioning if it’s even going to be a reality at this point. Don’t fail me now, Specular! Gimme another vehicular combat game or something!
But yeah, I guess that’s it. I simply cannot wait for this Arcade Renaissance I’m predicting. I’d like for it to happen, but I guess I’ll survive if it doesn’t. You know me—arcade fanboy to the end.
Keep it real, ya sweaty nerds. I hope you enjoyed this more than that trainwreck that I posted on Thursday. (Tobey Maguire is still the best Spider-Man, though. Just sayin’.) Also, remember to comment on my posts! I'd love to discuss arcade games and get feedback on how my writing is. I've got a comment bar on my homepage, too, if you'd like to give me general input on my website as a whole. I'm so glad I figured out how to add comments.
And as an added bonus, here are some headers in different themes in case you like Sega World Drivers or Injustice: Gods Among Us better than Daytona USA:
Go away now.