No, this isn’t some elaborate prank. Raw Thrills just won the week, folks.
In case you didn’t get the memo, Arcade Heroes reported last week that Raw Thrills had a big surprise dropping at IAAPA 2017: a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beat ‘em up arcade game. No joke, kiddos. Raw Thrills could not have possibly thrown something more, you know, out of left field than this. Or more incredible than this.
And believe me, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the new TMNT arcade game will be great. Heck, it might be just as great as or even better than the classic Konami TMNT games. (Just maybe.) But since there’s no gameplay footage available right now, I think it’s better if we look at the game’s impact a bit more than, you know, the game itself. Because honestly, a new 2017 beat ‘em up could mean a LOT for the modern arcade industry. What will it mean for FECs? Will a game like this find its way into small traditional arcades and barcades?
I mean, I literally talk about it just a few lines down. Keep reading.
Why am I even bothering with all of these rhetorical questions?
But seriously, keep reading, because I do think TMNT is gonna be, like, the best thing ever for arcades right now.
What does TMNT mean for FECs and the industry itself?
This new-fangled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles beat ‘em up will be perhaps the most influential game of 2017/2018, I tell ya what. (Even if all we’ve seen is a gosh darned flyer.) A major developer like Raw Thrills bringing a long-dormant genre back to life in an industry full of racing and shooting games will have monumental effects on the way modern arcades and developers operate.
You see, this blog has long been a tug-of-war between two opposite ends of the “favorability” spectrum. A lot of the time, you’ll find me highly praising many of new racing games and rail shooters, because they are genuinely good games. However, the rest of the time, I’m highly disappointed by how the arcade industry has seemingly been reduced to these two dominating genres. And heck, I’m sure many of you all are just as fed up as I am with the lack of variety. That’s why there’s been so much excitement surrounding indie arcade developers—they’re doing things that are actually new and exciting!
But good ol’ Raw Thrills is looking to change that. Raw Thrills is swooping in and saving the day with two perfectly timed games that are going to turn the arcade industry completely on its head: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nex Machina. These games are so unlike anything we’ve seen in arcades in the past decade that they truly seem poised to change everything. When was the last time we saw an arcade beat ‘em up like TMNT? Demolish Fist in 2003 and that trash Justice League Game in 2009? Pretty sparse, if you ask me. And heck, when was the last time we saw a gosh darned twin-stick shooter? Was it Total Carnage back in the 90’s?
The point here is that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is the first domino in a long line of innovative games coming from Raw Thrills. Once said domino tips, the entire industry is likely to clamor all over the idea that, yes, you CAN release more than just racing games and rail shooters in 2017!
Raw Thrills has always been the industry leader. What they do successfully, the rest of the industry strives to do. If Raw Thrills can successfully pull off reviving beat ‘em ups and twin-stick shooters (and I’m sure they will), then there is no doubt in mind that we’ll be seeing a lot of neat stuff from all corners of the arcade industry in the coming years. Seriously, can’t you just imagine a Dave and Buster’s littered with fantastic games from ALL genres? It brings a tear to my eye, I tell ya what.
Will we see TMNT in small, local arcades?
The perceptive amongst you have probably already noticed that the question I propose here is very much an inversion of a question I ask all the time: Will [insert indie arcade game here] survive in FECs? And there is no doubt in my mind that TMNT will survive in FECs. Raw Thrills absolutely dominates in Dave and Buster’s and Chuck-E-Cheese’s, folks—they could make almost any game and it would still be at least a moderate hit. But with that in mind, will Raw Thrills make a conscious effort to accommodate the little guys?
As you very well know, not every arcade is a gigantic Dave and Buster’s full of the capital needed to purchase cutting-edge (expensive) experiences like, say, the new Walking Dead arcade game or Cruis’n Blast. One thing that Raw Thrills must keep in mind throughout development is that small arcade and barcade operators would surely be willing to support TMNT. However, if the price is much too insurmountable, it’s very unlikely that they’ll even be able to buy it in the first place. Raw Thrills NEEDS to make a second, smaller version of the cabinet with minor changes (smaller monitor, for example) to keeps costs down and make sure that TMNT can root itself in spaces beyond the FEC market.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure how likely this is. Lately, Raw Thrills has chosen to completely abandon the concept of “standard” cabinets, choosing instead to release gigantic attraction pieces. Jurassic Park and The Walking Dead? They’re both housed in $12,500 environmental cabinets, and neither game has received a standard upright configuration. Cruis’n Blast? The only version in existence is an $8,000 cockpit driver with a 40-inch monitor; no upright or standard sit-down cabinets exist. Space Invaders Frenzy? Actually, that one probably wouldn’t work as a standard cabinet, but you get the point.
If Raw Thrills doesn’t release a more cost-effective of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a prime demographic will be left out. Seriously, I bet a TON of arcades and barcades would love to have this game sitting next to the original Konami TMNT games.
My suggestion? Raw Thrills should do exactly what they did with Big Buck Hunter and release the game without a monitor. That way, operators can choose a monitor that fits within their budget to curb costs. If they want a 32-inch monitor, they can do that. Heck, they could even outfit TMNT with a 100-inch monitor if they so choose. The point is that the freedom of customization makes the game more accessible to the “little guys.” Seriously, if Big Buck Hunter HD can sit in every barcade in the country using this cost-cutting strategy, then so can the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Oh, and by the way, this needs to be the case for Nex Machina, too. There are few games more “retro” in nature than twin-stick shooters, and Raw Thrills should keep in mind that a lot of retro arcade/traditional arcade owners are probably wanting to get their hands on the game. That being said, there NEEDS to be a standard version. The cabinet image released online just screams, “I’m going to be $10k plus.” Come on, Raw Thrills! Do the little guys a favor!
I actually feel a little guilty pointing this out, heh-heh. I like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nex Machina so much that I’m almost afraid to provide constructive feedback. Which...probably isn't very good, you know, journalism-wise.
Ain’t Raw Thrills just the darnedest developer ever? Here I was, just about to write an article bashing Injustice Arcade, and then THIS crud drops. Lemme tell ya, this deserves a HUGE spot on my next Arcade Hype List. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is destined to be both an amazing game on its own merits and a game-changing industry smasher. TMNT is the next big thing. Ladies and gentlemen, color me hype.
I’m sure I said it at some point in an article about indies or something, but we really are on the verge of an arcade revolution. You heard that from me, folks! Document it for posterity!
Man, I wish I was as cool as Arcade Heroes. I’m the gosh darned Space Ghost Coast to Coast of arcade journalism: writing anything and everything because no one’s reading anyway.
Also, before you go, I want you to remember this inspirational quote from Sargent Mike Taylor of the War: Final Assault product video: “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a war—no, an industry—to save.” Raw Thrills and indie developers are gonna be our Sargent Mike Taylors in the coming years, kiddos.
See ya soon, ya sweaty nerds. I’m looking to get another article out on Thursday. Also, I’m just feeling really, really pumped about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles right now. Nothing can bring me down—not even studying for the PSAT!
I hate high school with a passion.