Although it’s been quite a long time since my last Arcade Hype List, I figured now was as good of a time as any to churn one out. Since I’ll be at the Governor’s Scholar Program for five whole weeks, I need some filler articles to pad things out. What’s a better filler article than an Arcade Hype List? Just run through some upcoming games and call it a day!
In all seriousness, we do have quite a lot to be excited for in the coming months. While new arcade releases still aren’t quite as regular as they should be, a lot of really cool games are on the way. And yes, I have written about most of these already—extensively so—but hey, it’s my blog! I’ll do whatever I darn please with my obscure arcade blog!
Without further ado, let’s keep droning on about the same five games over and over again until we’re all sick of it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Developer: Raw Thrills
Publisher: Raw Thrills
Release Date: May 2018
At this point, I’ve written about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game just a little bit too much for my own good. When TMNT was first revealed back in October, I churned out a long-winded, gushy article as fast as I possibly could. Since then, I’ve written an in-depth analysis of the screenshots and gameplay footage, an actual preview of the game, and I reported on various news tidbits like when preorders were available and when an official trailer was released. The intensity of my TMNT coverage has been…well, pretty flippin’ intense. So, what more can I really say that I haven’t said already?
I guess, considering that this is a Hype List and all, the only thing I can say is that I’m hyped. I’ve had plenty of confirmation that TMNT is fantastic game, including my own hands-on gameplay experience. What everyone has said before me is 100 percent true: TMNT 2018 plays just like Turtles in Time. It’s so satisfying, and it feels so good to have another true arcade beat-em-up available in this day and age. Plus, it’s not like Raw Thrills copied and pasted the Turtles in Time gameplay and called it a day; there’s actually quite a bit more depth to this one. Sure, combos are still just “hit the attack button over and over again”, but there’s been so much added to the gameplay that I can’t even complain. Mike, Raph, Leo, and Don now have chargeable, screen-clearing “Turtle Power” moves. There are also environmental pickups and weapons scattered all throughout every level. My favorite addition might be the screen-clearing assist character items you can find every now and then.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles really is an awesome game. I can’t say much more about it! However, I will leave you all with one final thought: I really hope TMNT makes a huge impact on the arcade industry. Raw Thrills took a big risk releasing a joystick-based game in today’s arcades (where everything is either a racing or shooting game, much to my chagrin). It’s just not something you see much anymore. But considering how successful TMNT has been so far, and how arcade developers love to one-up each other’s big ideas, I sure hope the rest of the industry takes note. I want TMNT’s success to spur the development of a whole slew of new joystick games. I want to see more genre diversity in arcades. And thanks to TMNT, this may very well happen.
Unless everybody chickens out, that is. We’ll just have to see!
House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn
Release Date: September 2018 (limited FEC release); November/December (full release)
While I haven’t written about House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn quite as much as TMNT, I still have written about too much for my own good. (First, a huge article expressing my undying hype. Then, a news article here and there.) Like TMNT, I found Scarlet Dawn to be super exciting. I had yearned for a fifth House of the Dead game so long, and then it was like, “Whoa! Here it is!” And really, weren’t we all champing at the bit for a new House of the Dead? People love it, and unlike many arcade games, the series has a very real fandom and online presence.
House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn is very deserving of its spot on this Hype List. Scarlet Dawn utilizes the uzi-based gameplay of HOTD 4, with some additions like the ability to change weapons on the fly. (Plus, rescues are back! Rejoice, my children, and be glad!) Now, the emphasis is on the sheer number on-screen, and boy does it look intense. As ludicrous as it sounds, SEGA intends to scare us this time. Heck, they might even get a rise out us, thanks to the hordes of clamoring zombies and the deluxe, environmental, theater-style cabinet.
Speaking of the cabinet, it really is something. You can tell that SEGA really wanted to capitalize on the success of Namco’s Dark Escape 4D and Raw Thrills’s The Walking Dead. (Then again, every rail shooter looks like this these days.) But even so, Scarlet Dawn’s cabinet is so beautiful in its own right. Like I said in my initial article, the marquee is stunning. The lighting is stunning. The zombie window figure is stunning. The textures are stunning. Every last bit of this cabinet is stunning! And like Dark Escape 4D, Scarlet Dawn features vibrating seats and air blasters, so you know it’s a real out-of-home entertainment experience.
For a while there, I think some of were unsure of whether House of the Dead: Scarlet Dawn would come to the West or not. Luckily, the Western release has been confirmed, and we’ll get to see it soon. Needless to say, I’m hyped as heck.
Release Date: Early 2019
Despite my undying hype for the Exa-Arcadia platform itself, I haven’t actually written about its first game, Strania EX, yet. (I know—it’s crazy!) Though we had already seen five or six upcoming Exa-Arcadia games earlier this year, Strania is notable for being the first game one can preorder alongside the kit. Not only is Strania itself exciting—the fact that we now have a release window for the Exa-Arcadia kit system makes it even better!
G.Rev describes Strania EX as a “throwback robot shoot-em-up” and “an ode to the nostalgia of 1980s arcade games.” Like most shoot-em-ups, “…players will need to make strategic decisions quickly….” Apparently, Strania is also accompanied by a “catchy soundtrack” and features “dramatic visual effects.” Though I know very, very little about this game, I’m plenty hype for it. Sure, the shoot-em-up genre is a little niche, and the success of this game in the West is not guaranteed, but it still sounds awesome. (Then again, most of the currently-unveiled Exa-Arcadia games have been shmups, outside of one retro-throwback and one fighting game. I hope we see some other genres, too!)
It may sound a little odd, but I’m more excited for the cost-effectiveness of Strania EX than I am for anything else. Listed at only $1,900, Strania EX is by far the cheapest arcade game we’ve seen in a long time. Now, granted it is only a kit, this is still super cool. Operators can purchase the Exa board and Strania for $1,900, install it a cheap cabinet, and then buy three other games to add to the kit later. (Keep in mind, the Exa board can run four games at once!) It’s just so wicked cool to me that Exa-Arcadia cares about the cost-effectiveness of their kit system and games. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Strania will be a fine game in its own right.
If you’re an operator reading this right now, you should totally consider preordering Strania EX.
Release Date: Summer 2018
StepManiaX is a game I’ve only written about once before, but it’s one I’ll proudly write about again. Developed by the renowned Kyle Ward and his team at StepRevolution, StepManiaX is a new foot-based dancing game a la Dance Dance Revolution. StepManiaX has five panels: four in the basic cardinal directions and one in the center. Featuring over 80 songs, with new songs being added regularly through online updates, SMX doesn’t necessarily have the same content volume of its competitors, Dance Dance Revolution A and Pump It Up Prime 2. So if that’s the case, why am I so hyped?
My hype for StepManiaX is fairly easily explained. As you may know by now, I am a hardcore Dance Dance Revolution freak. I love DDR. I eat, sleep, and breathe DDR. And though I may not be a pro at it, I want to keep practicing. I want to keep playing all the time. Unfortunately, it’s hard to come by DDR machines these days. (Heck, even Pump isn’t too common.) The closest machines to me are DDR A at Dave and Buster’s and DDR Supernova at GattiTown—both over an hour away. Try as I might, I just can’t get my fill at home. I need to play on an actual metal pad. However, until dancing games become more common again, I’ll hardly get this opportunity.
StepManiaX might change this for rhythm game players everywhere. Originally released as a freeplay “exergame” for gyms and entertainment centers, SMX is now coming to arcades in a coin-operated format. And since Kyle Ward actually wants to serve the Western market (unlike Konami), we’ll see this game in arcades everywhere—not just Dave and Buster’s. (Well, assuming either Dave and Buster’s or other arcades want to buy SMX, that is.) You all have no idea how much I want this game to succeed. I want a dancing game I can play in America. I want StepManiaX to reinvigorate the rhythm genre.
Of course, we won’t know how StepManiaX will do until it comes out, so let’s cross our fingers. StepRevolution still hasn’t confirmed a true release date, but we do know it should be coming out soon (summer 2018, after all!). The hype has me nervous. Excited, too. I just want this game to succeed. And you know what? If we all keep writing about SMX and sharing the love, maybe the release will come soon. Then, we can all support it with our quarters. We can support the step revolution!
Eh…on second thought, that pun was…lackluster.
Release Date: June 2018
From the very beginning, Tipsy Raccoons seemed like a very interesting concept. Not only was it was multiplayer minigame compilation (which we haven’t seen in arcades in a while), but it also shook up the way we pay for games. Tipsy Raccoons wasn’t coin-operated; no, it was drink-operated.
Yes, you heard me correctly: To insert a credit, players simply set their drinks in their respective cupholder. From there, all you’ve gotta do is play some minigames. The concept is super fun, even if it does aim pretty squarely at the barcade market. Luckily for us, Glitchbit has also included the option for coin slots or dollar bill acceptors in the final production version of Tipsy Raccoons. So yes, I will get to play this game someday! It won’t be locked behind the doors of a bar!
One of my favorite aspects of this game (besides the hectic, four-player minigame madness) is its cost-effectiveness and space-consciousness. Glitchbit understands that not every operator can afford (or fit) a gigantic, flashy game in his or her location. Tipsy Raccoons is on the smaller side and reportedly retails at about half of what the aforementioned TMNT costs. This is good news. Not only can street operators and owners of small arcades afford and fit this game in this location, but they can also maximize earnings. Why? Because Tipsy Raccoons is a four-player game. Four times the cash!
It’s just super cool to me. (Which makes sense. We all know how I wrote an article complaining about the bloated size and prices of modern arcade games.) And obviously, the game part is just as cool. Everybody loves a good minigame compilation, and Tipsy Raccoons is no exception. In my humble opinion, Glitchbit’s first commercially-released arcade game will live up to the hype. This will be a fun, fun game—I guarantee it!
Naturally, I’ll have to wait until I can play it to give a final verdict. But hey, it’s a real thing now! We can play Tipsy Raccoons as soon as it drops in its first location!
I hope you all are as hyped as I am for all these upcoming games. Sure, this is just a filler article scheduled to post while I’m away at the Governor’s Scholar Program, but I think it does a good job drumming up hype.
Unfortunately, it’s been a real slog churning out articles to run while I’m gone for five weeks. I certainly don’t want to enter my first hiatus of the year, but I also don’t want to keep writing. I don’t think I can write anymore. I’m just so, so tired.
But maybe there will be more articles after this one. I dunno, kiddos. It’s a lot.
I’m not here to be a Debbie Downer, though. Let’s keep looking toward the future! Arcades are awesome! Now get outta here, ya sweaty nerds!