Welcome to Newsbytes, a curation of arcade content from around the web that is generally run on the weekends. While a lot of general news in 2020 has been terrible, to say the least, there can be good things out there if you look for them. Hopefully this compilation helps lead you into a decent or great weekend. Let’s go!

Coming Soon: New Game From Arcade Heroes

I suppose it’s time to start hyping up my next project – partially as a way to keep myself motivated to see it through to the end. A couple of years ago, I started doing research to build an arcade-focused trivia game. It soaked up a lot of my free time, but after I came up with 1200~ questions (spanning the 1970s to now), it just sat on my computer. I’m not a coder by any means, but recently I was pointed to a pre-made Quiz game kit on Unity, and I’ve been working to finally turn those questions into a workable, sellable (and hopefully, fun) game.

Unfortunately the process hasn’t been 100% easy peezy, as importing my questions didn’t work as the XML importer had promised(and the template developer went AWOL to help with questions), so I had to go through every single question and manually input it into HTML text. I also didn’t want to just dump questions into a template and call it a day; Anything I make I want to have some of it’s own personality to it. That takes longer to do, but I think its worth it. I originally wanted to make something like Quiz & Dragons, but concept is too ambitious for what I can do right now. Maybe in the future though for the “sequel.”

At this point, the question stuff seems to be working, categories are all sorted, and scoring has been determined – I’m just trying to get some additional artwork, an achievements system and music completed. An artist friend of mine in Brazil is working on some cool artwork about some “Arcade Heroes” characters that I came up with a long time ago, but never could figure out how to use them; Music is being produced by my friend, and professor of game design at Purdue U., Rob Howard. When it’s all finished, I will release this to PC, iOS and Android – while quiz games have been done in arcades before, I just don’t think that they would do well (although if someone really wanted a kit, I suppose that wouldn’t be impossible to figure out 😉 ).

Are you interested? Let me know.

Billy Mitchell’s Scores Reinstated At Guinness World Records

Billy Mitchell has won his appeal with Guinness World Records as they have restored all of his titles and scores. They were removed after Twin Galaxies accused him of using MAME and save states to cheat his way to certain scores. Mitchell vigorously denied the allegations, and battle lines were drawn between him, the WGR and Twin Galaxies.

That defense was done in various events and interview, and he has taken Twin Galaxies to court over this, but the WGR statement doesn’t make it clear if any of that served as the “compelling new evidence” that reversed the decision. The original accusations involved how the original game draws the screen vs. how MAME draws it; there was then a tussle between the original tapes and what TG had. In watching the video above, the main victory appears to have come about from testimony of Twin Galaxies founder and Mitchell friend Walter Day and others who vouched in favor of Mitchell and his character. I have friends in the community that are on both sides of the issue, some are personal friends of Billy, others hate him; Either way, people still get very passionate about it. Whatever the reason for the restoration, I think that everyone has already made up their minds on Mitchell himself, so I’m sure this situation will find a way to continue to be a point of contention in the arcade community, ad eternum.

Huge Pac-Man Collection On This Sunday’s Collector’s Call

If you are really into arcades, then chances are that you collect something related to the business, whether that’s the machines themselves or related memorabilia. For Team Play’s Brian Smolik, one franchise has really caught his fancy over the years, and that is Namco’s Pac-Man. His impressive collection is the focus of the next episode of Collector’s Call, a TV show on the MeTV network. For US residents, this is a channel that is broadcast over-the-air (remember that? :P); I haven’t watched OTA TV in a bit of a while, but I know I’ve seen MeTV pop-up when I did last check the available airwaves. I’ve met Brian various times at trade shows, but I had no idea that he was such an avid Pac-Man collector. Here’s a preview of his collection here:

Terminator Salvation: Delta Mission – Full Game

As I recently upgraded my Big Buck Wild to the Reloaded version, I’ve been meaning to explore the content on this one a bit more. One of those items is the return of Terminator Salvation, now in 1080p, but sans half the game and force feedback. They’ve also adjusted the difficulty (removing extra enemies, as pump-to-reload between every shot doesn’t work for hordes). The embed is acting strange for me, so if it doesn’t show up below, here’s the direct link on YouTube or BitChute.

Touch Magix Releases “Play Safe | Stay Safe” Attract Mode Addition

I had been wondering if anything like this would be made, and Touch Magix is the first company I’ve heard of to add this to their attract modes. It can be shut off by the operator if desired, but in case you operate an arcade and wanted something within the games themselves to discuss measures (other than signs you post on games), this should do:

StepManiaX Update

It’s a new month, so that means another update is in store for the indie game Step ManiaX. Some people were apparently whining that they’ve added DDR music to the game…I don’t know why that’s a problem. Really?

Konami’s New Battle Conductor Trailer

It’s not a game I expect to really see in the US (maybe at Round1USA?), but if you’re interested in Konami’s answer to Sega’s “anime girls battle in power armor” style games, here’s the latest trailer. This game uses a second screen with a transparent LCD for selecting and changing up your character

Time To Die Settings – Ok, Unacceptable or Misunderstood?

The “Time to die” setting is a little known setting that has been included in many arcade games over the years, but since it’s something that has been baked in for so long (and is only accessible by the game operator), it’s just become the norm. When learning about it though, are you ok with it, or do you find it unacceptable, as Wilcox Arcade does in this blog post?

It is an interesting debate, that also generated some discussion on the Arcade Heroes FB Group. Wilcox makes the case that it’s a setting that goes against the player, just to suck the coins out of them; I’m not sure how a developer would respond (I can only guess – if you are a dev, then speak up and let us know!). I don’t think that most operators really tinker with the settings – usually you will just adjust pricing and volume and leave the rest at the defaults. I have never experimented with the time to die settings to see if they really change that much about how a game earns.

I think that the main issue comes down to how balanced the difficulty really is. Game designers don’t have an easy job in this regard. They need to find a way to make a game intrigue and interest the player; then challenge them and get them to come back for more. If a game is too easy, it’s boring; If it smashes a player in the face on level 1, then most players walk away, never to give it a second chance. This affects earnings, and if a game doesn’t earn, then it doesn’t sell.

On that same note, if a game plays too much of itself for you, most older players will not find it to be fun; but if it’s wholly unfair(such as cheap, unavoidable hits in a game that make it impossible to “1CC”), you’ll get the same result. Finding the happy medium of “easy to learn, difficult to master” is the Holy Grail of game design. I think “Time to die” has been an attempt at finding that desired sweet spot, but whether or not it’s worked for gamers is something that you’ll have to answer.

Supercade Vol. 2 Funded On Kickstarter

(Thanks to Dan Hower for the tip)

If you have been waiting for the follow-up to Supercade Vol. 1, you’re in luck, as the 2nd volume has surpassed its funding goal on Kickstarter. This volume will cover games between 1985-2001, offering a visual history of a variety of notable releases (both in arcades and consoles). It’s currently on track to reach the $100k stretch goal, which will allow the author to produce a 20th Anniversary Collectors Edition.

AT&T Seeks $4B For WB Games

While we don’t normally talk about home console side news, this one does have an arcade connection that is worth mentioning. Ever since Warner Bros. purchased Atari Inc. back in the ’70s, they’ve been involved in the ownership of a game company in one form or another. It’s all become a bit of a confusing mess over the years, as you’ll recall that for a brief time in the ’90s, there were arcade games released with the “Time-Warner Interactive” logo on them (which was just Atari Games). Warner eventually purchased the assets & IP of Midway, which also had acquired the Atari Games assets in the late ’90s, so when it comes to the entire WB Games catalog, they’ve got many iconic and important games in their roster – a vast majority of American-made arcade games from the mid-80s through 2001 or so. That said, they haven’t really figured out what to do with most of the games, apart from letting Netherealm Studios keep developing Mortal Kombat, and the very occasional remake from that back catalog with titles like Gauntlet.

Per the story on CNBC, AT&T (current owners of the Warner Bros. IP), is seeking to sell WB Games for a mere $4 billion USD, and some buyers are apparently interested, including EA, Take Two and ActiVision. Of course the catalog goes well beyond the Atari Games/Midway titles…I wonder if it will be broken up into different chunks or sold all-together. It sure would be nice if an arcade developer like Raw Thrills were able to recoup most of the Atari/Midway IP, but AT&T would probably want a premium penny for it all (not unlike Atari SA, who severely overvalues what they’ve got on hand).

That’s all I gathered for this week





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