Trade shows may be dormant in the States right now, but the Asia Amusement & Attractions (AAA) Expo has just began over in China. From it, we can get a look at some of the latest arcade titles that might show up on Western shores whilst the US industry waits for Bowl Expo.

It is important to highlight the “might” there, since this all depends on who might import particular games for distribution. That said, I know a couple of people over there looking into doing just that. Chinese-made games are much more likely to see official distribution in the States and Europe these days than games from Japan, or elsewhere in Asia for that matter (South Korea etc).

Big thanks to Shinichi Ogasawara (Oga-Shi) for sending us much of this information; most of it based around Wahlap for today. They have one of the biggest booths there by far, and are of course a site advertiser here on AH. If you want to learn more about Oga, check out our recent interview where he discusses Sega Amusements and 3MindWave’s latest game, Apex Rebels.

AAA 2024

The AAA Expo is taking place from May 10 through to 12 at the big Canton Fair venue, or by its more official name, the China Import & Export Fair Complex. Located in Guangzhou, every major and plenty of minor arcade game makers based in China have their latest products on display (if they don’t, they’re usually at the other big Chinese amusement trade show ran by GTI Asia), as well as many other amusement-adjacent companies in different fields (think IAAPA scale). The top banner below also mentions the World Culture & Tourism Industry Expo 2024:

AAA 2024 Expo, Canton Fair

Wahlap

Starting off with a site advertiser here as we normally do, Wahlap is making waves at AAA this year. They have some new titles and a variety of big officially licenced titles from other manufacturers as they often do on their stand. At least one of the former should make it Stateside at some point in the near future, given that it has previously been sold here (I’m not sure exactly how many locations grabbed one though). As you can see from this first photo from Oga-Shi, Wahlap have got a very busy booth, fitting for their relatively high profile industry status these days:

Wahlap booth, AAA 24 Expo

There was also a stage area at one of Wahlap’s usual industry parties that night, with some presentations to introduce the new games.

Monster Eye 3

The main new title of interest for us Westerners is Monster Eye 3. Co-developed by IGS, the first game was released in 2014; the second was 2018. Both were released in the States, although I am uncertain as to how well they sold – perhaps I’ve seen a photo of an ME2 out in the wild once. At present, Amusement Source International (who is also a new advertiser on the site) had been selling ME2, although it is not currently listed on their website. In case you’ve never heard of this series, here’s Monster Eye 2. If you don’t mind older 140p vids, then here’s the first game.

According to Oga-Shi, Wahlap is not allowing photography of ME3 (possibly because it’s still in development, possibly to ward off pirates), but we have an adjacent pic as well as an English flyer that is on IGS’ website. That flyer mentions Unreal Engine (I would assume UE5), a 65″ 4K display, 5.1ch surround sound, a motion base, and a “radar sensor.” This apparently is the same thing as found in Sega’s House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, and is meant to cause light jump scares when people approach the machine. Monster Eye 3

Note that the first two games also used a Kinect sensor that integrated physical actions during gameplay, but this appears to ditch that (it certainly isn’t mentioned on the flyer). We’ll have more details from Wahlap at some point soon.

Monster Eye 3 by IGS & Wahlap

You also can see a sliver of the ME3 cabinet on the right-hand side of this image, although the pic was taken to show the interest in Asphalt 9 Legends Arcade DX (the other games in the Asphalt range, Moto Blitz DX and 9 Legends VR, were also on hand):

Asphalt 9 Legends Arcade by Wahlap

Kamen Rider

Another IGS/Wahlap joint venture is on this brand new Kamen Rider Augmented Reality game. This isn’t the first time that Kamen Rider has graced the arcade scene, although those games usually stick to Asian markets like Japan. This uses a capture camera to put the player into the game. The player, usually a child, stands on the yellow/orange mat, then they see themselves in the game. Presumably, you can don one of several Kamen Rider costumes, then do battle by making movements. It seems doubtful we’ll see this out West; I can see it going to Japan though.

Kamen Rider AR game, Wahlap, IGS

From the flyer, it has a 65″ 4K screen and in both of the images, you can see a photo vending outlet (lower right of the cab). It does look like a vastly updated version of the concept already used by their Hero of Robots series, which did at least release recently via ASI here. Kamen Rider is a tougher licence to crack the West with, but perhaps they could retheme it to something more widely popular here.

Kamen Rider flyer by IGS/Wahlap

Kingdoms Fantasy

Wahlap also introduced their own answer to Minecraft Dungeons Arcade. Called Kingdoms Fantasy, this supports 4-players, uses joysticks, and it vends/scans cards. This is being developed completely in-house at Wahlap in China, as opposed to their usual setup of taking an IGS-made game and just handling the hardware and sales side of things, as well as their 2010s period with an in-house Hong Kong studio helmed by Pang Shu (now at 3MindWave). Will this work out West? Hard to say – most of the appeal for cards in our markets comes from attaching it to a bigger licence.

Kingdoms Fantasy

If I counted right below, there are 83 cards in total to collect. I would presume that if successful, it’ll get more. Though not immediately obvious to most anyone from the West, the game is based on the historical Three Kingdoms dynasty in the East – like Kamen Rider this is not something new to base an arcade game on, as Sega’s Sangokushi Taisen series did it many moons ago and also with cards. That game was much more strategy-focused though.

Kingdoms Fantasy cards, Wahlap

Bandai Namco Amusement

As mentioned above, a large part of Wahlap’s booths at Chinese trade shows is usually dedicated to their official representation of products by international companies, for example Bandai Namco here. Though they did roll out the red carpet for their new Chinese releases of Taiko No Tatsujin and Sega’s Initial D (see below) at a couple of shows last year, these still occupied a place on their booth this time as blockbuster titles. Wahlap are already capitalizing on Taiko’s popularity too by the looks of things, with these new kiddie rides based on the property’s Don-Chan mascot:

Taiko No Tatsujin kiddie ride at AAA 2024. Features some people looking at the ride

Aside from the inviting look (kids won’t need to know what TNT is, nor be familiar with Don-Chan to want to try it), it has a pair of taiko-like drum controllers (not exactly like the arcade game, better for kids) used to play a basic game. I would assume it’s a simplified version of TNT – probably doesn’t have a bunch of songs to choose from either. Either way though, this is a cute little distraction that I’m sure fans will love:

Taiko no Tatsujin kiddie ride by Bandai Namco

As you can additionally tell on the left-side of the first image, there is also a Taiko No Tatsujin air hockey table. The image below was shared on Twitter via Yuancon. Too bad it doesn’t combine TNT gameplay with air hockey, so you’d have to hit pucks to the beat… although such a thing is probably quite impractical and would be very messy. I bet that a few select locations in the US wouldn’t mind having this one.

Taiko No Tatsujin air hockey table by Bandai Namco

Sega

Part of Wahlap’s booth also represented Sega, and as you can see from the pics below, there was a lot of interest in their games. Those include Chunithm, Initial D The Arcade, and Maimai (which had its new yearly Chinese update to reflect some of the new content in the Japanese version announced here). Oga-Shi described the queues to play all of them as “huge”. Though Sega Amusements over here have a cosy relationship with Wahlap too, we probably won’t ever see these over here – however, Wahlap did have a few Maimai prizes on their own booth at IAAPA 2023…

Sega games at AAA 2024

Other

There’s not a whole lot more to speak of out of AAA’24 right now, but Yuto Games have unsurprisingly already posted about their involvement, albeit only on Linkedin so far. Considering their active online presence compared to other companies they’ll likely post more soon, but from that video they have been showing off a wide variety of product, including a new driver that appears to be called Showtime (no clue if it’s an original, knockoff, or remake of an InJoy racer), and a boat racer called Volt which does show the old InJoy logo, so it’s probably their old Power Boat game.

And as you would expect, cranes also have a strong presence on numerous companies booths at the show. Wahlap have a big area dedicated to prizes alongside their ‘Wawa Show’ cranes not pictured above, and the neon crane stalwarts that are Dreamfuns have also posted a video of how the first day went for them on Linkedin. Some examples by other manufacturers even come with, well, ‘fun’ names… like “Naughty Dog”.

I’ve tried finding more news, but at the moment, there isn’t anything else to share. Tune back in tomorrow for day 2, where we will be receiving more info from Oga-Shi in the form of his coverage on UNIS’ booth… and again on day 3, when we will be rounding up smaller companies.





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