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GameSetWatch.com is the alt.video game weblog and sister site of Gamasutra.com. It is dedicated to collecting curious links and media for offbeat and oft-ignored games from consoles old and new, as well as from the digital download, iOS, and indie spaces.

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In-Depth: Exploring Ultracade's Alleged Counterfeit Arcade Game Racket

August 6, 2009 8:00 AM |

[In this in-depth investigation, John D. Andersen looks into claims that parties related to the creators of the Ultracade arcade game cabinet counterfeited numerous classic arcade games for public sale in the West, with extensive background on the fascinating case and claims from SNK Playmore, Tecmo, G-Mode, and Jaleco that their IP was used without their knowledge.]

Gamasutra previously reported that former Ultracade Technologies owner David Russell Foley had been handed a 35-count felony indictment on July 1st, 2009 by the United States District Court.

The indictment accuses Foley of counterfeiting Ultracade arcade game packs on USB flash memory drives between June 2006 and February 2008 for his own financial benefit, using property he previously sold to Global VR. Foley is accused of selling those game packs to Michael Daddona, who would then sell them on Ebay through his company Automated Services based in Milford, Connecticut.

G-Mode, Jaleco, SNK Playmore and Tecmo representatives have now publicly commented to Gamasutra, and are accusing Ultracade Technologies former owner David R. Foley of piracy. These parties are now claiming that Ultracade arcade game cabinets and game packs contained many titles that were never legitimately licensed for Ultracade.

All four companies released statements to Gamasutra indicating they had no records of ever licensing their game titles to Ultracade Technologies and its former owner David Russell Foley. These products include the original Ultracade coin-op arcade units and game packs.

Event Report: Toronto's Artcade No Nostalgia Trip

November 7, 2008 8:00 AM |

2008_11_05_snow.jpg[GSW's resident Scottishman in Canada, Mathew Kumar, was kind enough to attend the Toronto-based Artcade game exhibit the other weekend - and presents a report for your delight and delectation.]

If you happen to read Gamasutra as well as GameSetWatch (and I hope you do, because it's important to cut your intake of unusual game-related nonsense with hard-hitting industry reportage—otherwise, you won't get all the nutrients that'll help you grow up strong and healthy) you might have read a few reports I wrote last week from the Ontario Game Summit and Game On: Finance.

These were two interconnected conferences here in Toronto that dealt (largely) with game development in Ontario—which happens to be part of Canada, that oh-so-important third biggest game developer in the world, but also happens to not be Quebec or British Colombia, where almost all of that development happens.

As a result, the conferences were really interesting when you think of them as a whole. Jason Della Rocca opened with a keynote on how to create a cluster which would foster creative and sustainable game development within Ontario (or, indeed, anywhere in the world) but I really don't think the message was taken in the best spirit.

No disrespect intended to Ian Kelso, the fine gentleman who runs Interactive Ontario, but his opening waffle, where he asked the audience to think of game development in Ontario as an opportunity to replace "car engines with game engines," was about as wrongheaded as you can get.

We all know—or at least, well all should know—that game development isn't a factory process. We can't just replace the sign that used to say "General Motors" with one that says "Ubisoft", and yet a significant proportion of the two days were spent with many of the commentators—especially those who worked for the government—spending their time debating how to draw large companies to set up huge studios to churn out million sellers and hire thousands of grateful employees.

The most astonishing thing about the conferences was that it wasn't until the very last session that anyone mentioned the amazing creative talent that Toronto has fostered in small, independent developers. Sherpa Games' Warren Currell was the first and only person to mention Metanet Software (N+), Jonathan Mak (Everyday Shooter) or Capybara Games (Critter Crunch).

So thank goodness for people like Jim Munroe for running things like the Artsy Game Incubator.

Round-Up: The State Of The Arcade At ASI 2008

April 5, 2008 12:00 AM |

[The arcade game scene is still alive in North America, and Game Set Watch asked Arcade Heroes' Adam Pratt to write up a report on last weekend's ASI 2008 event in Las Vegas, revealing just where the arcade scene is heading, even after its reported Western demise.]

For the most part, the game industry events that get most of the attention focus on what is happening in console and PC gaming.

In fact, few - even within the industry, realize that there are conventions for other sectors, including coin-operated arcade games. Arcades actually have several conventions throughout the year worldwide, including ATEI in the UK, AOU in Japan and ASI, IAAPA and the AAMA Gala in the US.

This year’s ASI (Amusement Showcase International) event was held in Las Vegas between March 27-29th. Despite their overlooked status, there are still significant amounts of new arcade machines shown for Western distribution, among a large amount of other redemption and entertainment machines.

With that being said, the most anticipated arcade title for several years, Capcom’s Street Fighter 4, did not make an appearance at the show. But many other companies were there, to demonstrate that they too have something to offer to the 3000-plus arcades in the US.


While Namco's primary focus at ASI this year was redemption (or tickets for prizes) games, they did have a couple of video games set up at their booth including the popular racing title Maximum Tune 3, with four linked units; two Mario Kart GP2 units; a couple of Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga combo cabinets (including a bar-top version); and two Rockin' Bowl-A-Rama cabinets.

While not in their booth, a game that Namco has some involvement with, Wacky Races (a Mario Kart style racer with characters from the popular retro cartoon) was also on the floor.


Wacky Races

Arcade's AM2 Show - The Renaissance Coverage

September 17, 2007 12:04 AM |

- The other day, I was bemoaning the relative lack of Western coverage for the Japanese AM2 arcade show (although my co-worker Brandon Sheffield did post some video links on Insert Credit). But now, catching up on RSS feeds, I find that Arcade Renaissance has a gigantic mess of reports from the 45th Amusement Show, well worth scrolling around and checking out.

One handy uber-guide is the Amusement Journal's most popular games from the show, which reveals: "Expectedly, Tekken 6 took the top spot on Day 1 and Day 2 of the event, but was surprisingly beat out on Day 3 by Deathsmiles. A lot of this can probably be attributed to the Day 3 lines that Tekken 6 was experiencing, which at one point was said to have reached about a 3-4 hour wait just to get some hands on time with the title."

A separate post points out shakycam vids of Tekken 6 in action, including bloated new character Bob, and there's also hands-on impressions of Sega Race TV, as well as a Deathsmile dance number at the Cave booth promoting the new arcade shooter, and a crazy amount of Japanese links on the show. Bravo, Sir.

Reminder: California Extreme This Weekend, 'Film Festival' Added!

August 8, 2007 5:15 AM |

- We got an email from Bowen Kerins of the California Extreme organizing team (whom I remember from rec.games.pinball in about 1994, heh), and he was kind enough to both remind GSW readers that the awesome retro event is happening this weekend in San Jose, and also mention some v. interesting movies being played alongside that event:

"Hey there, I was clicking through your Cinema Pixeldiso archives and noticed reviews of "King of Kong" and of "High Score". This Saturday night, August 11, those two films along with "Chasing Ghosts" (another arcade-themed documentary) will be screened at the San Jose Marriott as part of California Extreme. Additionally, Bill Carlton (star of "High Score") will give a Q&A and play a little Missile Command."

As Kerins explains: "CA Extreme is an arcade show with 1500 attendees, playing 400+ video and pinball games set on free play all weekend. The film festival is included with admission to the show." Also, as I commented in June, the show is really, really worth going to if you like retro arcade games and pinball machines in any way and live in the Bay Area. Also, I noted back then:

"I've previously listed some of the awesome and incredibly rare titles that are brought by collectors in recent years - and AtariGames.com has posted lots of pictures from last year's turn-out for those interesting in ogling some more. And look, here's three generations bonding over the potentially arm-snapping Panic Park, yay. Basically, if you're in the Bay Area, and you love arcade/pinball machines, you can't miss this show - it simply isn't allowed."

America's Army, The... Arcade Machine?

July 24, 2007 4:02 PM |

- Arcade Renaissance has passed along the interesting news that U.S. Government-sponsored shooter America's Army is now getting an arcade version, as part of a partnership with arcade game publisher Global VR.

According to the official press release: "Working hand-in-hand with U.S. Army Subject Matter Experts and with the full cooperation of units of the U.S. Army, the coin-operated AMERICA'S ARMY is a realistic and engaging game centered on exciting training exercises, and includes a significant amount of authentic Army videos and other information designed to immerse the player in the Army culture."

Looks like the Unreal Engine-utilizing game is probably an enhanced/tweaked lightgun-using version of the PC title, and the game's producer Mike Kruse comments: “AMERICA'S ARMY is an arcade style training game based on actual Army training exercises designed to challenge Soldiers to hone their skills. Players are rewarded for teamwork, proper use of the Rules of Engagement, accuracy, and target identification... Being a veteran myself, I can honestly report that AMERICA'S ARMY is a highly authentic depiction of Army training exercises and the Army's unique organizational culture…down to the drill sergeant who is constantly by your side to bring out the best performance from each player.” SIR YES SIR!

Arcadia Counts Down Japan's Top Arcade Titles

July 12, 2007 4:02 PM |

- The Japanese arcade game scene continues to be fascinating, even if it's basically not reproducable outside that territory, and Arcade Renaissance has grabbed the latest Arcadia Magazine-compiled arcade game charts from Japan - most interesting.

As they note: "The following rankings are separated between the top 10 generic cabinets and the top 10 dedicated cabinets" - ie machines that you just put new JAMMA boards in, or those which have very custom controls and livery and therefore require a standalone arcade machine - and it's fascinating to see Arc System Works' 2D fighter Guilty Gear XX Accent Core atop the generic charts.

Also notable near the top of the generics - 2D fighter Melty Blood Act Cadenza Version B2, which was, after all, originally based on amateur dojin software. Heh, and Mah-jongg Fight Club 5 ("The first rule of....") is atop the dedicated charts, followed by so many Bemani titles that your eyes might bleed.

[Incidentally, I once spoke to a representative of Arcadia Magazine publisher Enterbrain and randomly enquired about the possibility of licensing the mag for the West. She just about fell off of her chair in amusement, given the VERY selective nature of the mag! However, I wonder if selected 'official' books based on Enterbrain arcade guides might go down well with the super-hardcore?]

Target Toss Pro Arcades Up The Bar

June 17, 2007 11:35 AM |

- Of course, U.S. arcade firm Incredible Technologies has made a mint out of its Golden Tee Golf series, which shrewdly (or fortunately!) anticipated the move of new arcade titles in North America from massive arcade centers to smaller add-ons to bars and drinking establishments.

Anyhow, Arcade Heaven has commented on Incredible's latest arcade launch, the amusingly named Target Toss Pro. As they note: "As usual it was good to see something different from the coin-op norm but at the same time I have never thought of playing bag toss as a video game." (Incredible's other popular product of late is Silver Strike Bowling, another American favorite gone digital.)

Of course, like Golden Tee, Target Toss Pro is another trackball-controlled game, since alcohol and trackballs seem to produce positive feedback loops in many players - it's explained: "Like beanbag toss, the object of Bags is simple: toss a beanbag into the hole of a platform, or box. If you “put it in the basement,” as the players say, you get three points. Land the beanbag on the box, and you get one point. Of course with Bags, the beanbags and box are virtual.” And trackballs are still 'unique arcade experiences', most of the time, too!

Arcade Games, From Start To Finish

June 15, 2007 9:40 AM |

- There's been a few of these 'whole experience'-themed gaming blogs recently - Blogging Ultima, for one - and The2Bears was nice enough to point out another, in the form of the 'So You Want To Be An Arcade Champion?' blog, which has just started up.

It's explained: "Rockwaldo’s going to go through [the Twin Galaxies official arcade record book], it’s laid out in alphabetical order, and play over 4000 arcade games on MAME. He’ll see just how feasible it is to get the record, he’ll give his impressions of the games, and generally have a lot of fun."

As you'd expect, a bunch of the games are pretty obscure, such as Sega's '005', from 1982 ("Keeping with the age old 80’s arcade tradition the game makes absolutely no attempt at explaining to you what to do at any stage - crazytown"), but moving on to more obvious stuff such as, say, 1943: The Battle Of Midway [EDIT: Yes, I put '1984' before. HAH!] ("DON’T crash into bigger planes - really, it’s not a good idea. I did, and my energy bar pretty much disappeared from full to nowt immediately.") Anyone wanna bet which letter he can get to?

Missile Mastar Comes Alive... In Soviet Russia!

June 9, 2007 4:30 AM |

x.jpg OK, so it's not actually Super Soviet Missile Mastar, but Wired has an awesome article/gallery up called 'Soviet-Era Arcade Games Crawl Out of Their Cold War Graves', in which they reveal: "From the late '70s to the early '90s, Soviet military factories produced some 70 different video game models. Based largely (and crudely) on early Japanese designs, the games were distributed -- in the words of one military manual -- for the purposes of "entertainment and active leisure, as well as the development of visual-estimation abilities.""

And so? "Production of the games ceased with the collapse of communism, and as Nintendo consoles and PCs flooded the former Soviet states, the old arcade games were either destroyed or disappeared into warehouses and basements. It was mostly out of nostalgia that four friends at Moscow State Technical University began scouring the country to rescue these old games. So far they have located 32 of them and are doing their best to bring them back to life. "

Of course, it's the gallery of the extensive, largely previously unseen collection which is the hyper-awesome part of the article - there are games like Konek-Gorbunok, apparently "...the Soviet Zelda, full of castles, princesses and deep dark forests" - and my God, some of the arcade machines look so amazingly retro, I just may explode.