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The Next Level In Gaming

It’s funny how your hear about things pretty much last minute. This past weekend our video contributor MarkBOSS told me about an amusement and gaming expo happening this week at the Excel center in London. So this past Tuesday I put on my gaming journalism hat and hit the Excel center.

Now this was only my second ever expo, and compared to Eurogamer, this was pretty different, it was also a lot quieter for one thing. As this was an Amusement and Gaming Expo, the split between actual arcade video games and coin operated amusements was about a 60/40 split, with the coin operated amusements taking the 60 % portion of the Expo floor. Which wasn’t too bad, but from a games journalism point of view wasn’t that great. Most of the gaming machines that were present at the expo I had seen before in the likes of the Trocadero and the bowling ally where I used to play arcade game back in Wiltshire.

But fear not readers, as there were some gems buried in what was a rather mixed bag of an expo. So without further ado, I shall reveal to you my highlights of the EAG Expo 2010.

Terminator Salvation: Arcade Edition.

Imagine Rambo arcade, mixed with some House Of The Dead. Once you have thought long and hard about what that interesting concoction of the FPS arcade genre would be like, throw in the story line and post apocalyptic scenery of the film Terminator Salvation, and you have what is surprisingly a pretty good game.

You are John Connor. You are heading the resistance, an army of humans who are trying to defend earth from the recent onslaught of the machines. The war against human and machine has raged on for some while now and it is time for you to make a stand. Armed with your plastic assault rifle it is time to kick some robot butt.

This arcade title is great for two reasons. 1) it’s the classic point and shoot mechanic we are used to in an arcade game - as I said before, the game play is reminiscent of Rambo arcade, in that you are constantly machine gunning enemies down, after doing so you are then faced with House Of The Dead like boss battles where you have to hit weak spots on a gargantuan machine beast in order to defeat it. It is truly a great mix and one hell of a stress killer. Reason number 2) The innovative way of using the plastic assault rifle. We are all used to arcade games where we either have to lift our foot off a pedal to reload or shoot away from the screen. In order to reload on Terminator Salvation however, you must hit a chunky button on the bottom of the magazine on the gun. Very simple but good thinking. There is also a nice red button for you to push on the side of the gun to unleash some grenade fury, everyone loves to push the little red button on the side of the gun.

So for me Terminator Salvation, is a good arcade game and defiantly one to look out for, especially if you have always dreamed about killing legions and legions of T-1000 mechaniods with an assault rifle.

Cooking Mama Arcade.

I can hear the groans already, the gamers dropping to their knees screaming “Why God? WHY!?” as they read the title of this section of the article. But can I just ask you gamers out there one question? When was the last time you saw a DS game have an Arcade machine port?

Yes the original DS version of Cooking Mama is probably going to make its way to an arcade near you soon. I had a go at it and to me, it’s not the greatest arcade game in the world, you have a chunky stylus to make your culinary delights with, and like in the DS game you have to progress through a number of mini games to create a marvelous meal. If you do well in these mini games you will have a happy Mama and some nice virtual nosh to tuck into, if however you do badly in these mini games you will then have a ticked off Mama and a meal fit for the next plague infested vermin you happen to come across.

So as you can see, the game play is not on par with good old Terminator up there, but the transition from DS game to Arcade machine is very well executed. Maybe the recent outing Cooking Mama had on the Wii was partly responsible for the idea in the first place, but with this game you still get the good clean cooking fun your used to from your handheld.

Tank Tank Tank!

This has to be the game of the show in my opinion - battletank games have always been rated highly for me. There is nothing like squaring off against your friends in a tank and blowing each other up to smithereens. So when Namco and Bandai took the idea of Battletanks and improved it tenfold I could not help but smile at this stroke of genius.

The game mode MarkBOSS and myself played was a 2 on 2 battle royale; where we were thrown into a suburban environment and left to blow the other team sky-high. All buildings that are inconveniently in your path are destructible, which is extremely satisfying. As you play, Mario Kart-esque question mark boxes fall from the sky. Once collected, you gain a new weapon, whether it is a huge laser gun, flurry of rockets, mini gun or nuclear bomb is totally set at random. I believe there are more weapon variants also but I didn’t pick them up.

What I thought was pretty good was how responsive the seat movement was. If you play extreme driving games at the arcade you are usually thrown about as the seat basically has a fit when you slide round corners, etc. But Tank Tank Tank! is in an element of its own, each weapon you use makes the chair respond differently. Normal tank fire makes the chair jolt slowly, where using the mini gun you are almost shaking so much you teeth my rattle out of your mouth. This is such a great little detail that it rounds the game off nicely.

So if your local arcade gains a copy of Tank Tank Tank! I suggest you jump straight on and destroy your friends. I believe there is a single player campaign mode also, if you just wanna kill some time in the arcade by yourself in a lunch break.

Other Worthy Mentions

Vulcan . M

The first arcade game that uses a replica turret mounted Minigun, which is fully mechanical. The turret whirls around at a rate of knots (ten revolutions a second so I am told) and a stream of bullet cases gets sucked into the machine. A very pretty looking arcade game, the game play however, I though was somewhat confusing story line wise, whether it had a story line really I’m not sure. Shooting world war planes and missiles out of the sky makes sense, but when a space ship comes out of no where in what seems to be a realistic World War scenario, it kinda feels a bit disjointed. But other than that a brilliant idea and a very pretty piece of machinery.

The First Ever Coin Op Candy Floss Machine

I had to mention it. Ivan Campbell, the director of Candy Floss Irland stopped me while I was walking round, to show me his coin operated candy floss machine. Didn’t seem that impressive to begin with but its the only one in the world and make damn tasty candy floss within a minute. Also plays some funky music while you wait. I also got some free Candy Floss. WIN!

The EAG expo was a good outing. I thoroughly enjoyed all the arcade games on offer (even if I had played most of them before. and yes Rambo arcade was there, so I had to use both 1p and 2p guns to se how long I would last using both) and it was a great day out. Will do it again next year to see if there are even more new arcade games to hit in 2011.


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Garvaos On January - 27 - 2010

3 Responses so far.

  1. MarkuzR says:

    The only thing I ever played on the PS1 was Tomb Raider on mum’s system. I’ve never actually owned any of the Sony machines, although Lorna does have one of each… none of which ever get played. The PS3 is becoming more and more tempting though, we have that gorgeous EyePet promo set on the shelf and I keep thinking it’d be fun to try :)

  2. Garvaos says:

    Ha Ha Yeah the tank tank tank games are linked for 4 player co-op or 2 on 2 face off. Its a hell of a lot of fun :) Did you ever play Vigilante 8 on the PSone? Think that times 100 :p

  3. MarkuzR says:

    Holy shit that Terminator machine is a beast!!! Tank Tank Tank looks… very Japanese :D Are they all linked together as one unit?? I’ve not actually been in an arcade for a very long time, in fact I’ll let you know how old I am by saying my favourite games to play at the time were Return Of The Jedi, Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, Willow, 1942, Nemesis and Psychic 5. No, they weren’t clockwork!!

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