Arcade News has been really, really fantastic lately. Seriously, folks, things have been amazing. Beyond the absolutely amazing announcement (alliteration, people) of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, we’ve also seen a number of announcements regarding other games.
A week or so ago, Arcade Heroes provided us with some new info on the release of Injustice Arcade, details on Jersey Jack Pinball’s fourth game, and details on Table Pong Project’s worldwide release through UNIS. Saying October is a bad time for arcades is like saying that…I dunno, you can’t get milk from cows or something.
I’m saying that October is a good time for arcades. Not sure if that was…if that was clear or not.
Anyway, let’s get on with the news.
Injustice Arcade is just a prank, bro.
Raw Thrills is giving us Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nex Machina, and that’s totally wicked. However, we shouldn’t let those two mega-whoppers distract us from the truth of the matter: Injustice Arcade is a darn lazy game.
Injustice Arcade is not exactly want we wanted—at all. When everyone heard that we were getting Injustice in arcades, they were probably like, “Awesome! A fighting game in arcades for the first time in, like, forever!” But of course, that’s not what we ended up getting. What we DID get was a port of the mobile version spruced up with some collectible cards. And sure, that would’ve been just fine if this game was an original IP like, say, Dinosaur King or Animal Kaiser, but when it’s Injustice: Gods Among Us, the sheer shoddiness of this game is inexcusable.
Furthermore, Raw Thrills's decision to port the mobile version poses a number of very real and dire disadvantages. For one, the gameplay is severely hampered; there’s a not a single joystick to be found on the cabinet, and only three buttons. Secondly, the graphics will be incredibly subpar, further strengthening the myth that arcade hardware is no longer as capable as home consoles. Raw Thrills even took some of the more hardcore violence out, as far as I know. With these factors combined, there’s no doubt in my mind that hardcore fighting game fans are pretty dang disappointed—or laughing their heads off at the current state of the arcade scene.
However, like I said in my first article about Injustice Arcade, this could very well be Raw Thrills testing the waters for a true fighting game release in arcades. By landing a fighting game IP in arcades in a VERY casual-friendly form, this could very well be the first phase of a long-term plan to push another genre back into arcades. To me, though, it seems that Injustice Arcade is really just a big prank.
Raw Thrills, as we all know, is capable of much more than a shoddy game like Injustice Arcade. We have living proof in games like Target: Terror, The Fast and the Furious: DRIFT, and Terminator Salvation. With that in mind, Injustice Arcade probably only exists as a way to “subsidize” the risk of releasing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nex Machina.
You see, it is the belief of many in the modern arcade industry that games like TMNT and Nex Machina simply cannot thrive anymore. To many, the only way a game can succeed is by being a racing game, rail shooter, or redemption piece. Raw Thrills seems pretty aware of the fact that this is kind of a load of hullabaloo. However, because they’re smart (and Eugene Jarvis doesn’t want to put himself and a bunch of other folks out of a job), they are concurrently releasing the most brain-dead casual fodder ever (Injustice Arcade) to make up for any possible financial failures that may arise with TMNT and Nex Machina. It’s genius. Devious, but genius.
In my opinion, Injustice Arcade would have done just fine had it been a port of the home console version with the added bonus of huge monitor and collectible cards. Of course, that wasn’t the case, so we’ll just have to live with Injustice’s position as the fallback if the TMNT and Nex Machina releases don’t pan out the way they should.
But hey, I’m not mad. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nex Machina are going to be so perfect that not even lazy games like Injustice can bring me down.
Jersey Jack’s fourth pin looks wicked cool.
Jersey Jack Pinball, with their first three pins, proved to us that they are extremely formidable pinball developers. Heck, I’m sure it’s not even that controversial to say that they gave Stern a darn good reason to buckle down on quality. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise whatsoever that Pirates of the Caribbean, Jersey Jack’s fourth pin, looks absolutely fantastic.
I’m not a big pinball guy, so nothing that I say will be very impactful or, you know, intelligible. However, I can with the utmost certainty say that the complexity of the playfield is pretty intense in Pirates of the Caribbean. I mean, seriously—just look at the sheer beauty of it! (Now if only new pins weren’t so expensive, heh-heh. It’s a side effect of it becoming largely a collector’s market, I suppose. And because, like I said, the pins are so dang beautiful and complex.)
Before I say too much and risk sounding like an uneducated buffoon, I’ll move onto the next news item, which happens to be a subject that I am MUCH more acquainted with.
UNIS is blessing us by distributing Table Pong worldwide.
I haven’t written about Table Pong Project in a LONG time (it was my fourth article!), but luckily for me, this glorious contraption is popping up once again. In case you don’t remember, here’s my own description from way back in February (with necessary tense corrections):
“Pong, as we all know, was one of the first video games ever, and certainly one of the most historically significant. Now, a team of developers [has brought] it back as a tabletop version that (instead of a standard monitor) uses electric motors and magnetic fields to provide a physical version of Pong. It’s officially licensed by Atari, and there [is] a coin-operated version.”
Now, Table Pong has been sprung right back into the public consciousness with some wonderful news: UNIS will be providing Table Pong with worldwide manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. While the only actually good game UNIS has put out has been Omni Arena VR, the fact that the Table Pong developers are partnering with such an experienced company for a worldwide release is truly awesome.
I, for one, believe that Table Pong looks awesome. It’s a visual spectacle in its own right and true-to-form in terms of gameplay. However, Table Pong is probably not the kind of game that’s going to set any sales or earnings records; we know that. But the thing is, it’s the kind of game that’s so simple—so universal—that it deserves to become a staple of arcade floors everywhere, like air hockey, alley bowlers, or those basketball games. Table Pong is the kind of game that, especially given its license, has the potential to become a timeless arcade piece.
Of course, that’s just what I think. I ain’t no arcade operator, folks.
But yeah, Table Pong is really cool, my dudes.
After a depressingly barren September, arcade news has finally revved back up. And let me tell ya, folks—it’s a darn good time to be alive. Which, now that I think about it, I probably said on Monday.
Cut me some slack, okay? I haven’t published two articles in one week since gosh darned August!
But yeah, I’ll see you homeslices on Monday or something. I’m thinking that something Halloween-oriented is in order. We’ll see if that actually happens. I still haven’t even published my After Burner Climax review yet.