Sweet Mother Theresa, it’s been one heckuva long time since we’ve seen any major arcade news pop up! I get it; September is a slow time for the arcade industry. After all, with the exception of a new Golden Tee, nothing ever really happens. But still, that news drought was REALLY hard for me. Thank goodness there’s a whole year until that nonsense happens again.
Speaking of droughts, I’m not entirely without fault here. I may be a miniscule blip in the arcade journalism world, but I do exist…and I haven’t posted an article since August 28th. I know it’s pitiful, but I genuinely have not had a figurative lick of time. Between giving my weekends to local Chick-fil-A, working on a Governor’s Scholar Application, and doing normal school and extracurricular stuff, I’ve been stretched just a little bit thin. However, I resigned from my place of employment, and I’m on Fall Break for the next week. Don’t expect too much from me in the coming months—school is the priority. (That’s why I quit my job, after all.)
Disregarding my absence from blogging, there IS real news—right now! There are three games coming out that, well, I’m actually pretty gosh darn interested in. And considering that this blog is about “arcade reviews, commentary, and more,” I might as well add my admittedly pointless two cents. Who’s ready to dive right into some cool crud?
When it Hits the Fan Official Arcade Release
Man, indie arcade games must be THE thing right now, because here’s another one popping up out of the blue. (I’m highly considering going off on a tangent about how “indie” in the arcade industry is such a massive misnomer.)
For those of you not in the loop (because I sure wasn’t before Arcade Heroes posted about it), When it Hits the Fan (WIHTF) is a two-dimensional indie game developed by Heartfelt Games that was initially released for PC; now, it’s getting its very own official coin-op arcade release. Not only that, but WIHTF is twin-stick-shooter.
That’s right, kiddos: We’ve got another indie twin-stick shooter hitting the arcades this year. Right now, actually. You can already purchase the arcade version from Shreveport arcade. Thanks, Arcade Heroes, for providing me with a bunch of exposition that I didn’t have to search for myself.
So, what do I think about this game? Well, you know me; an indie arcade game is always a welcome treat. More specifically, though, I am incredibly excited to see another twin-stick shooter grace the arcades, because by golly, do I love ‘em. There’s something oh-so infectious about running around an arena and shooting hordes of enemies in 8-directions independent of your character’s movement. Multiply that enjoyment by 11 if the game happens to be a gory, hilarious mess like Smash TV or Total Carnage.
While WIHTF doesn’t appear to be quite Smash TV, it does look like an absolute crud-load of fun. You know, the kinda game you’d play with a buddy for an afternoon. From the 30-second trailer alone, the environments, enemies, and obstacles appear to be incredibly diverse—an aspect Smash TV admittedly did not have. Oh, and the music sounds pretty awesome. This game is definitely gonna land on my Q3 2017 Arcade Hype List.
So I definitely like this new-fangled indie arcade game—but how does it fare on the FEC-friendly scale? (I’d like to mention that that was both alliteration and near-rhyme. Definitely one of the better sentences that I’ve written on this blog.) Well…When it Hits the Fan doesn’t look like it’ll fare too well, honestly.
First, let’s take a look at the obvious: WIHTF has gargantuan competition. In case you weren’t clear on what the other indie twin-stick shooter was, it’s Nex Machina, which just so happens to be receiving a fully-loaded arcade release through the dominating force that is Raw Thrills. There is no doubt in my mind that Nex Machina is going to be one of the biggest 2017/2018 releases, and there is no doubt in my mind that it will be in every Dave and Buster’s in the country. Nex Machina is also a heckuva lot flashier in terms of both graphics and cabinet, which is something that FECs love. In comparison, When it Hits the Fan is…tiny.
However, good indie arcade games always have one surefire market: the barcade/traditional arcade. WIHTF looks incredible, and I absolutely see it doing extremely well in that market. Behind the doors of barcade and retrocades, a good game is a good game, no matter how flashy it is. Beyond that, based on looks and price projections alone, WIHTF seems to be dirt cheap—cheaper than flipping Skycurser, of all games. I don’t care who you are: that is a darn good sign for the success of this game.
So, does the game look wicked cool? Oh heck, yes. Does it look like it’ll do well in FECs? Oh heck, no. But does it have a good chance in barcades, retrocades, and traditional arcades? I think so. When it Hits the Fan is most certainly a promising title, and I hope to see more arcade releases from Heartfelt games in the future.
Kraut Buster is Close to Release
Though I’ve known about this for a while, I haven’t bothered to write about it yet. Now that it’s very close to release, however, I feel a bit more “qualified” to comment on it. Since it’s been a while and I’ve never written about it, some of y’all might not being finding yourselves within the proverbial loop, so here’s the “low-down” on Kraut Buster:
Kraut Buster is a run-and-gunner in a similar vein to Metal Slug and Contra being released on none other than the NeoGeo AES and MVS systems by Germany-based NG: DEVTEAM (a team that has released other games for the NeoGeo, naturally). Kraut Buster certainly unique in being developed for a piece of hardware that hasn’t seen official development since 2003 or so, but it’s undeniably neat to see something like this in 2017.
I personally am a huge fan of the Metal Slug games, so seeing a new run-and-gunner gets me pretty hype from the start. However, the fact that Kraut Buster looks so kick-butt and awesome on its own merits definitely piques my interest. And while it doesn’t look as beautifully animated as those gloriously smooth SNK games (those animators must have been geniuses), Kraut Buster does look incredible. I’m sure it plays incredibly well, too. Oh, and it’s gory, which is super fun.
Now, of course, I’d like to address the whole NeoGeo-only thing. On one hand, I think it’s super cool that the NeoGeo (and operators who own the NeoGeo) is getting more love. It’s great hardware and totally deserves support. However, on the other hand, I wish indie developers would make games that “felt” more modern. Releasing a slew of pixel art games, no matter how amazing they are, makes the arcade industry look like it never evolved past 1995, which is anything but true.
Still, Kraut Buster intrigues me greatly. Seriously, it looks so amazing. But now, the ever-present question: Will it survive in FECs?
That was a joke. You’re supposed to laugh.
Assuming any Dave and Buster’s-esque FEC in the country even owns a Neo Geo unit, it’s very unlikely that they would be following the efforts of an incredibly small indie team producing new games for the hardware. We can dream, though….
Indie developers are the coolest. I can’t wait for When it Hits the Fan and Kraut Buster.
All-Star Baseball and Zombie League All-Stars
Pardon the pun/idiom/metaphor thing, but this news came WAY out of left field. Seriously, folks, did not expect this one in the slightest. However, two new electromechanical games ARE here, and they seem pretty cool.
All-Star Baseball (is brand-new “bat game,” not to be confused for a pinball machine due to striking cabinet similarities. Zombie League All-Stars is the exact same thing but with zombies, because why not. Both games are developed by Gizmo Game Design and Valley Dynamo, both of which I have never heard of because I do not follow pool tables, air hockey, or foosball developments.
Arcade Heroes describes a bat game as games that “had a pinball-shaped cabinet but featured a baseball-bat like device used to hit the silverball at targets on the playfield. You would also have models with animated baseball teams setup in the backbox.” Something like this is definitely a little unexpected in today’s market, but it’s always nice to see something unique. It’s not something I see happening in the FEC market (because they don’t even bother with pinball, let alone bat games), but like Mr. Adam Pratt said in the article, I absolutely see this working in street locations. My local Pizza Hut has a “pinball machine” (a small mechanical redemption piece with flippers) that lets you win bouncy balls. While a bat game isn’t the same thing as pinball, I don’t see All-Star Baseball or Zombie League All-Stars having too much trouble fulfilling a similar role in restaurants and the like.
So yeah, these games seem cool.
I mean, that’s all I have. I just thought they seemed cool. I don’t know much about these new-fangled electromechanical games.
I guess I’m back from my hiatus, and this seemed like a darned fine way to return. However, I strongly advise you all to tune in next week for a delightful article that I have lined up: “7 Spooky Arcade Games for the Halloween Season.” Let’s see if I actually end up finishing that one. (There’s a strong chance that I will, though!) Since that’s all I can really think of writing, I guess I’ll let you all go now.
Thanks for reading, homeslices. Y’all are great. Whoever you are. Pretty sure no one reads this. Unfortunately, self-deprecatory humor is only funny when you’re high profile enough that people actually read your blog, so…I’m out of luck.
Keep it real, ya sweaty nerds.
Here's a Kraut Buster Wilcox Arcade banner, because why not. It looks kind of bad.