Pre-IAAPA Hype List 2019

November 17, 2019

This year’s IAAPA—the biggest trade show in all of out-of-home amusements—begins tomorrow. In mere hours, we’ll finally be privy to the arcade industry’s hottest upcoming releases.

            To satiate our pulsating hype, I’m running through a handful of the titles I’m most excited for. A “hype list,” if you will.

Nitro Trucks

The secret is out. Raw Thrills/Play Mechanix's latest driver, Nitro Trucks, is an offroad battle racing game—not NASCAR. (Oops.)

            According to previous reporting by Arcade Heroes, the game will feature six tracks, 14 racing teams, and auto-updates through Raw Thrills’ oft-underappreciated CoinUp service.

            Assuming the totals we’ve been given now are final—which they very well may not be—this will likely be yet another content-dry Raw Thrills racer. But at the same time, it’s an original IP…something we hardly ever see from the company these days.

            The potential is real—even if the premise sounds just like 2011 Raw Thrills’ release Dirty Drivin’. Maybe Nitro Trucks, free of the constraints of a licensed IP, will be full of personality. Maybe those “auto-updates” refer to timed content releases that will pad out the base experience.

            We know next to nothing right now, but I’m still cautiously optimistic. Here’s hoping for a worthy entry in the Raw Thrills pedigree.

Pong Knockout

If you love the Atari Pong Table, get ready for something even bigger. This year, UNIS is unveiling a four-player version of the beloved electromechanical experience dubbed Pong Knockout.

            According to Debbie Gonzales, U.S. Sales Manager at UNIS, Pong Knockout gives each player five "points" (essentially lives) and tasks each with surviving the longest in a Quadrapong-esque, "last man standing" affair.

            In an interesting twist, players can alter the gameplay by hitting specific corners of the play field. One corner initiates "reverse play," in which players' knob controls are inverted. Another corner initiates "speed play," which does exactly what you would expect. (For footage of the game, please visit this link.)

            All in all, Pong Knockout is shaping up to be an excellent iteration on its two-player forebear. I certainly can't wait to find out more once IAAPA begins.

StepManiaX

StepManiaX will make its IAAPA debut as part of the Hong Kong iPlay Technology booth this year, providing developer Step Revolution the opportunity to showcase its unique rhythm game for the broader market.

            As I’ve written before, I dig StepManiaX. While I still have yet to encounter a machine myself, I appreciate what it means for rhythm gaming in the West. We finally have a truly viable dance game option beyond Pump It Up.

            StepManiaX’s presence at IAAPA 2019 will serve to boost its recognition—which is a very good thing us players. I’m crossing my fingers more arcade operators purchase a cab in light of this trade show appearance.

Cosmotrons

Indie standout Cosmotrons will make its IAAPA debut as part of the PrimeTime Amusements booth. Four cabinets will be on display.

            I’ve wanted to play Cosmotrons for long, long time, so like with StepManiaX, I have a vested interest in it receiving more exposure. As a player, I want more arcade operators to place indie machines on their game floors.

            Maybe IAAPA is where Cosmotrons will hit it big. Even if it doesn’t, I’m glad we’ll see varied video game content at the show. (Am I the only that gets sick of all the ticket redemption and virtual reality?)

Though there are many big hitters I could cover, I chose these four as they will be debuting tomorrow. Although I’m certainly not going to be at the show, I wish the best to everyone who will be. Tell me all about it!

            In the meantime, y’all have a nice Sunday. I’m out.

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