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Shaggy the Atarian

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Everything posted by Shaggy the Atarian

  1. In totally unrelated news ( 😉 ), the new Game Boy-like Play Date handheld sold 20,000 units in 20 minutes of it being announced. There must be something wrong here, as Atari took 3 years to amass around 11,000 pre-orders, not all for the console either. As I can recall various arguments from the non-haters that nostalgia, a strong brand name, merely being able to be found in a retail store somewhere, PC-mode, being able to upgrade your RAM, having a web browser, and having a few several month old videos with a few views on YouTube are the keys to successful game hardware in 2021, and this has none of those. What am I missing? 😬
  2. Received my latest game, Chaos Code Exact Xeno Attack last week and recorded a full-play. Fun game, much easier to handle than Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ:
  3. Platfomers had a decent run in arcades in the 80s, but I think part of the issue for them not seeing quite as much love as other genres was that arcades gave you more power to play with, so that's where many devs decided to do something different, while console limitations made it a bit easier to just churn lots of those out. That especially became true when 3D became a thing. But another problem that is more 'inside baseball' is that platformers are almost always single player games, and those struggle to earn better than a 2p/3p/4p co-op or vs. title. When something didn't earn well in the biz, arcade operators wouldn't buy it, so it was harder to find. Another great Capcom arcade platformer: Willow.
  4. The Twinkle Star Sprites-like shmup rival Megagun XE is now available for pre-order
  5. Thanks! If 10 year old me could've seen what kind of game stuff I'd have 20-30 years later, I'd have lost my mind For whatever reason, I was always really drawn to their review of Viewpoint, even though I'm not a huge fan of isometric shmups like Zaxxon and whatnot. But I can remember reading that and then wondering why on earth the game's MSRP was $300. Little did I know why it looked so good and cost so much!
  6. Earliest recollection I have of anything SNK was reading about the AES in Gamepro in the early 90s, but it was way out of my budget, so I just gawked over how the games looked from the tiny photos. Never knew anyone who owned one. I didn't get a chance to hit up a local arcade very often until I started working at one at the end of the decade, where they didn't have an MVS, but they did have a dedicated Beast Busters: Second Nightmare (sadly, that machine was always one of the lowest earning games on the arcade floor which had over 100 games, but the management had shoved it into a dark corner away from all the other stuff for some reason). I wish I could have grabbed it when the place closed down; I also came across The Irritating Maze back when I was opening up in 2008 - I could have grabbed it for only $100 but I didn't realize how rare those are at the time and passed on it. Live and learn I guess. I really became familiar with it in the mid-2000s when I started buying up games with the intention to open an arcade and I bought a converted 1-slot cab that had Crossed Swords in it. It was in terrible condition, but the board worked so that's when I started collecting some carts. IIRC Blazing Star was the second game I picked up. It wasn't until a few years after opening my arcade that I found a dedicated 4-slot cab to put into the place. Back in 2019 I found another one for sale, although I had to drive down to Colorado to pick it up (that's the furthest I've ever gone to get a cabinet); I also upgraded one of them to the new LED marquee kit. Need to do that for the other one.
  7. Thanks! Gaming has always been a passion, which is why I've been around here for so long. Hopefully I can contribute more to this thread, although I probably have more coming in the way of exA than SNK for the moment
  8. Lol. Assuming the Amico releases when promised we'll say Will be interesting to see who makes it to market first - place yer bets! There's still a lot of crap on every mobile store, I even had some game bloatware pre-installed on the Samsung phone I just got. Atari has also contributed to some of that, although it does look like some of their worst rated games like Night Driver have been pulled recently (still on iTunes, most of the games aren't faring very well in reviews) Ouya did highlight some things in their store, but it wasn't good enough. There is a similar concept in operation with the Amazon FireTV right now - gaming on the cheap, access to tons of games, relatively cheap controls, but it isn't taken seriously. Same with Amazon's new Luna cloud gaming service.
  9. Yeah, Paul has bounced around to different companies in the biz over the years, although I think he's far more satisfied with working for exA than he was his last gig, which was an air hockey company (nothing he said, just the impression I got) So at Amusement Expo 2021, they were the first company that I visited and the one that I spent the most time with. I write the Arcade Heroes blog (as mentioned in the sig) and have been following exA since they started - they reached out to me before they even announced anything. But with the blog & YouTube work that I do, I usually go to expos like this twice a year (Amusement Expo, which usually happens in the sping and IAAPA, which takes place a week before Thanksgiving). Thanks to the time I spent there, I was able to write up an extensive blog post detailing everything they had in store, including some info on new games such as a Shinobi-like game and a new fighter. Unfortunately due to some camera problems, I was unable to really film those in all their prototype glory, but that won't be an issue the next time I'm at one of their events (probably IAAPA). They have a lot more stuff in the pipeline that you'll find interesting down the road, so definitely one to watch. I also have an exA-Arcadia, which I received back in Jan. 2020. I was one of the first arcade ops in the US to get one, and I was the first on the planet (AFAIK) to use it with 4K. I'd like to pick up a second machine with the 4-player CP. I'm probably the only one in the US with this quirky game on location: As for the Neo Geo itself, my main job is operating my own arcade business in Utah (link also in the sig). I own two MVS 4-slot cabinets, I have a couple of single slot boards and a few carts. Not sure which one is my rarest, probably Last Resort (also possibly Pulstar, although I can't remember if I traded that or if it's just in storage at the moment; also have Breaker's Revenge out to play right now, although most ignore it in favor of Metal Slug or KOF). I have considered grabbing some of the NG:DevTeam releases, although I've not jumped on any yet. While I've thought about grabbing an AES, it's always felt kind of unnecessary since I have plenty of MVS stuff, but I certainly keep up where I can on developments. I wouldn't mind seeing the new Hypernoid get a cart release!
  10. Quoting myself to point out that I picked up Blazing Chrome a little while ago. It's a tough game, but a ton of fun:
  11. It's way past time that I updated this thread A couple of weeks ago in Las Vegas, exA-Arcadia made their official US debut at the Amusement Expo 2021 show. They brought two of their new dedicated cabinet designs, a 4-player and a 2-player model; They also have a vertical screen model that wasn't able to be there due to space restrictions. The post linked to above provides a lot more detail, including stuff that I missed out on filming, but here are a few of the vids I did capture if y'all don't mind:
  12. There is a thread about exA-Arcadia that I started up in the arcade forum a while back, but this reminds me that I need to update it For those interested in this system, Paul Jacobs, former prez of SNK USA in the 90s, is currently the exA VP for North America. I was at the same expo as shown above and spent some time with the whole exA team, grabbing more videos like this (I also own an exA system that's at one of my arcades in Utah):
  13. Valve apparently took all of that hype to heart with their upcoming Steam Deck handheld. Yet another super powerful platform that the VCS and Amico have to compete with (like it or not - every game device is vying for the same consumer dollars).
  14. Sorry to buzz you over a week later, I've been super busy with work and didn't check in until today. Sure, they'd be happy with it(as would Atari on the VCS), so why does Tommy keep hammering on this 3 billion number? He doesn't have to, but there it was in the E3 video and it's in many of his posts when talking casual games. A vast majority of that number never even pay for their games. Devs are able to support themselves and additional development from the small handful of people who don't mind microtransactions & DLC - all of which is banned for Amico. Consumers of this cloth aren't going to suddenly change that habit and buy a game console that does one thing on it just because it has some generic casual titles on it that might interest them. If you're seriously trying to capture that market of players who are used to paying little to nothing for their games, then the only way to change that habit is in giving them Amicos+the games for free, which is anything but a viable business model. The Ouya got close by offering a super cheap system and access to the Google Play Store, but even then that wasn't enough to get more than 50k~ lifetime sales.
  15. -Stop posting "FIRST!" on every Amico YT game video using your personal account. Nah, in all seriousness, the OP list is good. What I could add: -Address control input lag (scrapping the controllers and going with something that is known to work could also resolve this). -Get rid of the $10 price ceiling on games and rework the developer cut program. Doesn't mean it can't have a bunch of sub-$10 games, but this is unnecessarily limiting the potential of the system. -Likewise, allow games above the E10 rating to be on the system. -If you're going to tout exclusives in ported games, then highlight what those specific features are instead of just saying they are there.
  16. Why stop at 3 billion when you can have AN ENTIRE PLANET of 7.5 billion consumers? Let's keep things realistic now! Ever since I heard Tommy touting this "3 billion casual gamer" number, I've been scratching my head. Maybe INTV fans can help me out here, but apart from hoodwinking dumb investors, I don't get why it keeps being brought up, including in the e3 video. It almost sounds like the same marketing ploy that VM Labs used in hyping the NUON and to a lesser extend, 3DO and their machines. NUON was at least trying to become integrated as a standard component into DVD players. The Amico isn't trying to become the de facto standard for being installed into TVs, it's using the old game console method to reach it's market, so it's still unclear to me how they can claim that they're the ultimate solution for capturing that incredibly varied market. Maybe I've missed it, but I don't see marketing PR for essential goods like food and water ever talking about the entirety of their potential worldwide market to sell to, much less niche entertainment products that most of the world won't even hear about. Good market research tells you what you can realistically expect to sell into, and how to do it. That's your target market. Misjudging your targets is often what leads to colossal failures, because you've been lied to about how to reach them, or you refuse to face facts. Here are some other realities, since that number has to include regions like Asia. Microsoft, which is one of the best resourced companies on the planet, only manages to sell a miniscule amount of Xboxes in Japan, especially when compared to the numbers that Sony & Nintendo post every month (sometimes they sell less than 100 units a month). At lot of that is cultural, and stuff like Bomb Squad isn't going to overcome that hurdle. How many of that 3B also lives in China, where there's not only a cultural barrier in the way to making sales, but an enormous legal one where you have to receive regulator approval (aka, pony up a ton of cash and kiss a ton of ass). There's no way a small company like INTV's going to break into that market, but even if they do down the road, gaming tastes are wildly different from what we have out West and the Chinese won't pay any attention to it at all, particularly because they'll have zero nostalgia for pretty much the entire Amico library. Even if you just limit yourself to the US gaming market, it's silly to sit around and act like you're going to win over the entire thing, particularly when you have "commandments" in place that limits said market. A lot of buyers won't even look at the console the moment they hear it won't have T or M rated games on it. Not everyone cares about couch-gaming, and those that do will already own a Switch. Enthusiasm is nice and all, but there are a lot of holes in the Amico strategy and the expectations that Tommy is creating around it. The problem with expectations is that they are extremely volatile, once you've shattered them, good luck at having consumers ever trust you again.
  17. Again - this really depends on the game and the options that the developer put in place. When rapid fire is built into the software it makes a difference; There have also been hardware mods like that for games that didn't have it that have been around since the 80s. Of course another difference between shmups on a phone and at the arcade is that arcades give you that satisfying "click" of the button that plenty of us grew up on. I just played a new shooter at a trade show and the booth attendant told me I didn't need to keep tapping the button, as it was just muscle memory kicking in any time I approach a shooter. If you head over to Japan where they still love shmups, you'll be hard pressed to find any serious player who would take virtual/touchscreen buttons over real ones. Although I suppose it's a moot point on Amico until there's an arcade stick for it In regards to the Amico, no not every game will need twitch action stuff, such as Cornhole, card games, edutainment, but for a platform that is really pushing that they have all these arcade remakes where timing is everything, any noticable input lag is a problem. Although this isn't about the touchscreen really - I have a hunch that it has to do with the wireless signal and the processing that's going on between the controller & the system. The thing with phones is that the touchscreen doesn't have a wireless signal to reach the I/O processing part and all that, it's just touchscreen+monitor all in one. Amico though, you've got: controller > wireless signal >I/O processing > TV. Input lag does exist on other consoles like the Switch too, but it's within usually acceptable levels (about 5 frames of lag, on average). The fact that reviewers have complained about it on Amico though shows that it's more serious than that, enough to affect gameplay.
  18. This has less to do with the interface and more to do with the game design. Just look at any arcade shmup from the 90s, none of those were touchscreen and if they had hold-to-fire, then there was no problem nor a need to button mash. Yeah, the low power thing isn't a big deal, but even with it's specs, it should be capable of handling games at 60fps, particularly 2D ones. The latest 2 seconds of Moon Patrol looked smooth at least, but all of the jank in that E3 video still makes you wonder/hope that it'll all be ironed out. I'm sure the Amico can pull things off "fine" for what it intends to do. Here's a 6 year old tech demo made for Android devices, I'm sure the Amico would be able to handle such effects without an issue, and this is all 3D. Of course as mentioned earlier in the thread, Tommy did make some grand claims about a custom 2D chip, but that appears to have been thrown out the window. Given that they did show a shmup in the E3 video though, that's where solving the input lag needs to be a priority - just like you said, it matters in these games. There's already input lag from LCD monitors and not everyone has a low IL gaming TV/monitor. If the controllers are introducing even more frames of lag, then a lot of these fast-action, arcade-style games are going to be barely or wholly unplayable messes. Hear, hear. When I was a kid and discovered the Atari ProLine stick, I hated it. I much preferred the CX-40, which also wasn't the most ergonomic, but it was more comfortable than holding something that felt unbalanced. I'll never understand why anyone in the early 80s thought that was the way to go for controls. Later when I got the 5200, I found that I naturally preferred to hold the controller sideways. Holding it flat just didn't flow. I know I'm in the minority, but I barely play games on my phone. I know they've made improvements on touch controls over the years, but I'll take joystick/buttons, a mouse/keyboard, or even a standard gamepad before I'll go touchscreen. More traditional controls just work better for platformers/shmups/fighters.
  19. I didn't say it was - what I said is that it's the game that most of your "normies" want to see. It's what will generate far more excitement than any of the other titles shown so far, in the general public. That's how video game marketing works - there are certain titles people want to or expect to see when they're considering a new hardware purchase. Cornhole is not going to drive console sales, no matter how many times you chant the 3 billion casual gamers line. Even a year and a half out, there should be something playable of EWJ that can be shown for as long as this game has been in development, unless said development is a dumpster fire in itself. Either way, the point is to play to your strengths and show the games extensively, not in poor 2 microsecond clips set to epic music. What Tommy did with Breakout was a good example of that, but the longer he lets things fester after this snafu, the more interest is being lost in the whole thing.
  20. The input lag problem really needs to be addressed. If this ships and the controls are laggy, then all the arguments about power/graphics/gameplay go out the window and the Amico controllers will steal the crown for Worst Controllers Ever. These types of games that the Amico is focused on requires CRT-like levels of input lag. It can be done on LCDs, but it requires stellar engineering on both the controllers and the console itself. So far, zero indication that they're close on that, but hopefully it's just development bumps. If that is resolved, then the frame rate stutters need to be fixed. While this will vary from game to game, that should be in Tommy's game design commandments. You can talk all day long about how cool games are, but if the frame rate is all over the place on various games, then it becomes distracting to play them and people will walk away with nothing but negative impressions. Using the excuse that casuals don't care about frame rates also doesn't fly. They notice when it comes to pretty much anything that isn't edutainment. As for the controllers themselves...I want to try them in person to see how they are. They look uncomfortable and bulky, with the buttons too far apart but maybe they're fine in person. I wouldn't spend any money on the console until trying them and finding them satisfactory though. Yup. Most people interested in the console want to see how the new Earthworm Jim plays. They don't give a crap about Cornhole or Sesame Street or any of that - when I've seen Amico discussions out in the wilds, it's pretty much the only game that comes up. Show a nice demo of that, then you can show off the other stuff that has also generated some interest (Moon Patrol, Night Stalker, Cloudy Mountain, etc.). This could also help dig the console out of the hole that it's now in after this whole situation. Of course, if they don't have anything that's smooth & in a playable enough state to show off, then it means they aren't ready for that October launch and they'll get to pull another one of Atari's signature delay moves, and that of course could trigger a wave of cancellations.
  21. I also had been interested in the Amico, but as Tommy has been unable to resist the urge to stick his foot in his mouth, it looks more and more like it'll join the Dumpster Fire Team that the VCS is currently occupying. Instead of throwing up walls of talking points or absurd legal threats at anyone who bags on the system, recognize your faults, own up to them or better yet fix them and move on. As noble the idea might be of price fixing games to $10 a pop may sound, it's just not practical for devs. Let the market decide what works for pricing, not arbitrary numbers that sound good. When your prices are that low, you have to make up for it in volume, but where is the install base going to be at to warrant profitability? Tommy/INTV are fixated on this "3 billion casual gamers" number and have this daydream that simply offering a system with stuff like Cornhole on it will capture that market in a way that Sony/MS/Nintendo have or cannot. Like I've said on the VCS, the "build it and they will come" mentality doesn't work for consoles. The reason that people like my mom play solitaire or mahjong on their phone or tablet to be lumped into the whole 3 billion number is because that device already serves a useful purpose with other features on it. The Amico simply offers one thing, games. I do think it's great that they have exclusives on it and all, that's something that Atari still can't seem to figure out, but that's not going to get those billions of people to invest in something like they did their phone. It's like offering the kitchen sink, but not the rest of the kitchen. That number is also spread across a plethora of devices from various different brands. It's really disingenuous to keep using as a metric for what you want to achieve. It's also not a good look to keep pretending like Nintendo doesn't exist and claiming that you're bringing family-friendly/couch gaming back. It's not gone away, and if he really believes that it has, then he needs to hire a new market consultant that knows what they are talking about. It's doing better than ever thanks to the Switch, which has a huge and still growing install base and plenty of games that already do what he claims the Amico will do. Nintendo can simply reveal something new for Smash Bros. (a game designed for bringing people together in the living room) and that generates hundreds of times more excitement than anything INTV has in their repertoire. Even a new Mario Party or Warioware gets far more engagement and interest than anything shown in the INTV e3 video, and that sort of excitement translates into sales.
  22. Atari missing promised ship dates? That seems unlikely given their stellar history of releasing things on time 40ish years ago.
  23. Ok, I got a response from one of the game developers on Minimum (he is now a professor of Game Design at Purdue U.), and since I promised I'd share, here you go. HH that he refers to is Human Head Studios (now defunct); He later added in the chat that Atari is "a truly pathetic operation" that showed how desperate HH was for work so they could stay afloat: It's really too bad - Minimum could have made for a pretty good VCS exclusive, as it really was a fun game, but Atari's penchant for screwing their devs over on payment likes to get in the way. That's always a great attitude to have when operating a new game console & distribution platform, as both Fergal Mac and Rob Wyatt found out.
  24. I didn't say there aren't compelling experiences, just that it's still a long ways off and not a guarantee that it will become the de facto standard in gaming. VR needing more Beat Sabers is far easier said than done (funny enough, that's a "stand in one spot" game there are many others, including the pinball titles you mention, most games with "simulator" or "trainer" in the name, Vader Immortal, etc.), it's like saying that you just need more sales to be a success - well, yeah. Doesn't mean it's going to happen. Just like with the Wii, WiiU, Kinect, & Move - there was more potential that could've been tapped out of those gimmicks, but outside of some exceptions, the hits didn't materialize and we're back to more traditional controllers with gyro controls being used every once in a while. Yeah, it was well done, but it also hasn't become a "Beat Saber" VR seller either. Most people haven't heard of it. Tacking VR onto big properties is a nice way to reward those who bought into the tech already, but it's not necessarily causing people to drop everything and invest in VR either. Like you said, it needs more unique titles that become tech sellers, but just saying/hoping for that doesn't make it devs have those epiphanies needed to make it happen. Has anyone tried using a VR headset on their VCS? Perhaps that would make it slightly more compelling
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