March 17th, 2006


Earlier this year, baerish asked me if I was going to ASI. I replied that since I didn't know what it was, I was apparently not planning on it.

He explained that it was Amusement Showcase International and that it was a tradeshow for arcade manufacturers, distributors, vendors, etc. to show off their new stuff.

I figured it might be a fun trip, so I arranged for Brandon and I to come up here.

We arrived yesterday and were able to go to the show for about the second half of the afternoon. The main exhibits seem to be housed on two levels of the hotel featuring quite a lot of stuff. It's kind of unclear whether we're allowed to take pictures or not, so I'm trying to be discreet about it. I've seen plenty of people doing it out in the open, but I've also seen security tell people to put cameras away. Who knows. I'll see if I can snap a shot later to give an idea of the scale of the event, but I think it's safe to say there are well over 100 different exhibitors here with all sorts of games and arcade-related stuffs. It's entertaining to say the least.

As pictured above, we got a chance to take a look at DDR SuperNOVA first hand. It's shiny. It seems better than the descriptions I read last month of the beta machine at Brunswick Zone, also here in Chicago, but it's also still very obviously beta.

Graphically, it looks pretty slick. I've decided I'm dubbing this the "Tron Mix" based on the retro-futuristic graphic style. Songlist looks great. Lots of new stuff and some old favorites. Volume wasn't up very high on the machines, so it was hard to judge a lot of the music, but the sheer number of songs was nice to see. Unfortunately, as a beta, some seemed desynched.

Cabinet isn't drastically different from what we're all used to. I still don't like the new boxy marquee, but otherwise it's about the same. One thing we did notice was that the neon around the bass speakers actually fade in and out rather than just flash. It was kind of cool. The stage was sticking a bit, but that seems to be indicative of new stages as I've seen new Pump machines do it, too. But it was certainly interesting to get to play on a DDR stage that wasn't just completely beat to crap as so many of them in this country are at this point.

We actually ended up hanging around the Andamiro booth a lot longer...which is kinda silly given that we can actually play the game they're displaying pretty much any time we want. But they're a lot more inviting over there than the Betson guys who seemed mostly absent or otherwise unattentive. It was nice to have the opportunity to meet people I've actually done business with.

They had these cute little mini Pump machines over at the Andamiro booth. They're actually speakers, so there's two of them in a set. Me wants one! :P

After the show closed, Brandon and I went over to GameWorks to eat, drink, and be merry. It still makes me jealous that our Studio is so neglected. They had still had the Guitar Freaks US machine that was there the last time I was at that Gameworks in 2001. We stood there and played through the entire songlist...of a dozen or so songs? :P

I even decided to break down and finally try Initial D. If I was going to actually buy a card and build up a car, I can see why people like it. But as a driving game, I was underwhelmed and I'm not really inclined to play it again. (I'm sure I'm going to get some flack for that statement.)

Back to the show today...more later.