Welcome to the Arcade Heroes “round-up” of Amusement Expo 2023. This will show off & discuss various games which appeared at this trade show which was held last week in Las Vegas. The short of it is: There are many new arcade games out there for locations to purchase now, and sales for game makers are robust and in some cases setting new records. That means we’re seeing growth in the arcade industry and with growth comes more locations and more games for you the players to enjoy.

According to a press release sent out by the show, they had more exhibitors & booths than ever, landing at 195 exhibitors compared to 165 in 2022; 4251 visitors compared to 3,301 last year. They also had a record charity donation drive, raising $34,200 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Las Vegas.

In some way, this is a follow-up to my Amusement Expo 2023 preview, where we’ll be able to see how accurate any predictions I made, happened to be. Once again I’ll start with the Arcade Heroes advertisers, then get into the rest in alphabetical order.

For videos, I wanted to post this before we get too far out from the show and while I have posted many to my YouTube & Rumble channels (still working on BitChute but it doesn’t accept files above 2GB and thus loses out on some), I haven’t finished those as of this writing. I could wait until all the videos are done, but then it might be a month out from when the show finished.

If you haven’t already please subscribe to those to stay up-to-date. Otherwise…

Touch Magix

This was similar to their IAAPA setup, as expected. Both MegaBlaster & SpaceWarp 66 were linked with 2 units, while titles like Carnival Cups Crane stood to the side.

Raw Thrills

Also just like the IAAPA setup, starring Fast & Furious Arcade with 4 units right at the front, followed by King Kong VR, Super Bikes 3, Nitro Trucks, Big Buck Hunter Reloaded, Minecraft Dungeons Arcade (Series 2), Moto GP VR and Halo: Fireteam Raven. Pulp Ficiton pinball, while designed by Play Mechanix, was exclusively at the Chicago Gaming booth, which I’ll get into later.

For the rest, please note that while I did try and make sure to visit everyone on the list, it’s possible I missed something here and there.

Other companies which did not have any major (or any at all) differences from what I saw at IAAPA: Barron Games; BayTek; ICE;  Incredible Technologies; LAI Games (note: Rick & Morty had more lighting in it than IAAPA); Rilix; Sega Amusements; Team Play; The Really Big Crane Company; Triotech (no XD Dark Ride); UNIS; Valley Dynamo.

Adrenaline Amusements

As I had expected, NFS Heat Takedown DX was the headliner of their booth, with 4x standard units sitting behind it facing the opposite direction. There was also a single Hungry Hungry Hippos and Twister to the side of those. Thus, the booth was smaller than IAAPA (which is normal for many exhibitors) but focused on their main stars.

The DX version of NFS Heat Takedown is just as fun to play as the standard, with the focus being more on the motion though. Perhaps it’s just me but it does seem like the sound system is a little more powerful on the standard, which could have to do with the way the mechanics of the motion are working, but both games still come with a great surround sound mix, a voiceover clearly working in your ears from the seat. I’d just say that there’s more “thump” out of the SD model in that regard.



Right after I had posted the AEI23 preview, I was sent a text showing that the name of Jousting Heroes had been changed to Avian Knights – them wanting to avoid any legal issues surrounding the name Joust. It was kind of odd that I had not met with Alan-1’s founder until now, given that he’s run an arcade of his own in Utah for some years now. With that rectified, James took the opportunity to show me how the game works and plays and pointing out the various cabinet features.  The game captures Joust’s feel well, the added component of weapons, weapon upgrades, and online tournament features setting it apart from that 1982 classic. The look of it does remind one of Killer Queen, although the many backgrounds you’ll see in the game come from our home state’s many natural wonders (scenes from Zion National Park, the Wasatch Mountains, etc).

That all said, the most impressive thing to me was the cabinet. I’ve seen a lot of indie cabinets over the years and this one really pulled out all the stops – draping the cabinet in artwork like it was an early 80s Atari cab, the wind fan, a rumble feature, a joystick knocker, dynamic LED lighting. They even showed me their custom I/O board which “could operate a pinball machine since it has so many inputs & outputs.” This comes in most handy with the 4-player model. Just note that there could still be changes to the game and cabinets after they go through location testing – which I might be helping with at my location here soon. I only played on the 2-player model, although another non-Alan-1 guy mentioned that they felt that the 4-player version had too large of a screen where there wasn’t enough space between the control panel and said screen for their liking.

That same person also mentioned a fault of a multiplayer game like this is that its the kind of game that shines best when you’re playing with another person right there and not so much single player. Granted, it does have a scoring system, leaderboards, achievements and online user accounts so that if you want to track your progress around the world, you can. I didn’t play it single player at the show but if I get the chance to test the game here soon, I’ll be putting it through some paces and let you know what I think.

American Pinball

Even though it was on the map, the layout of the show was a little strange in their area and I didn’t find American until the first day of when the show was ending. They were in a strange spot sandwiched between two other booths but with entrances only on two sides. This made it a little cramped but since I visited when things weren’t busy, I was able to play comfortably. My first run on the new Galactic Tank Force was great and I had fun – I was almost thinking it might be too easy. But when I went back and played the next morning, there’s one fault of the game I heard others complaining about that got me – the central tank target. I suppose it all depends on how you play but on my second round, I had the ball kicking back and over the flippers a couple of times (once it hit the glass). That issue aside, I love the original theme, the actors and how that is integrated into gameplay, the quirky humor, and the overall appearance. The tank also opens up with a robot inside, which was a nice little surprise. They didn’t have the DX model that has the tank turret on it which I would have liked to have seen in person, but they had enough units around so one could get a chance to play.

Amusement Source Intl.

The preview had stated that a new light-gun shooter, Zombies Crisis, would be coming to the show but thanks to a shipping issue, it did not. Instead, ASI brought a few other games along including their popular Sniper Strike II (which appeared to be running improved software with a better frame rate than I recall seeing at IAAPA; Unfortunately someone involved with shipping damaged the monitor so it had some bad pixels on it, fortunately players only need the scope), and an unexpected one – Sky Riders. This is basically a modern Prop Cycle, replete with bicycle pedals, wind effects and red balloons that you have to run into. If any of you out there visit Chuck E. Cheeses, you’ll be seeing this one soon; Cory at ASI showed me a warehouse photo of 200 units, all going to CEC. That also is the model shown here; Cory said that there is a large DX model they have which is more suitable for adults, but they didn’t bring it to the show.

Beyond that, they had some new redemption games, including a video basketball game that was similar to the first version of Zombie Jam (monsters climb ladders, throw basketballs into the hoops to knock them down), and their take on the first person VR shooter where the headset is melded with the light-gun, VR X Spy.

Andamiro USA

There was no news on PIU to share as expected, with Andamiro USA being more of a redemption focused company. That said they did have the SpongeBob VR Bubble Coaster front and center at their booth, then a big new ball toss redemption piece that will probably do quite well for them, Tic Shaq Toe. They also introduced a sequel to one of their old merchandisers, Super Star 2. Videos from them are forthcoming.

Bandai Namco Amusements

There were two new additions for Bandai Namco, one being Pac-Man Roller (a Pac-Man themed Alley bowler which features some cool LED panels for animations), and something just for home-use, the Jukebox Bowl-O-Rama.

BayTek Entertainment/Skeeball

I was a little surprised, and somewhat disappointed, to see that BayTek did not have anything like QB Showdown, their booth also being a close replica of their IAAPA setup. Another disappointment was the Skeeball Super Shot. It was strangely not at BayTek’s booth but was found over in the billiards area. It’s an arcade basketball machine but made for home use – closer to the “Pop-A-Shot” machines you see out there than it is to the original Super Shot machine. MSRP on it is also aiming for the much higher home end, at $7000. Photo via Joey Mucha, H/T to him as I thought I snapped one but turns out I did not.

Chicago Gaming

I’m embarrassed to say this but I did not get a chance to play Pulp Fiction as every time I passed by the Chicago Gaming booth, the game was getting played and the people playing were into it(when you’re there to run around and film everything, you can’t wait around too long 😉 ). I did get to film it and talked to some who did play it though and all around I didn’t hear a single complaint – other than Chicago only having two machines there. It was likewise a big (probably bigger) hit at the Texas Pinball Festival. How it will sell and do on location I can only guess but overall it’s a slick machine.

Coastal Amusements

Coastal’s booth was very similar to IAAPA, although they did not have Bumper there, which was a disappointment. They did have a videmption game from the same developer though, Bridge Man. Apart from that and the other games we’ve seen before, they did introduce a new firefighting game for kids called Real Heroes Fire Rescue. As mentioned in the preview, Elaut also had this game but there was one important difference between the two – Coastal’s version uses water guns, Elaut’s does not. Since most of the video shows the Elaut version, you’ll find it below.

Elaut USA

As far as gameplay and graphics go, this one is rather bland and lacks a lot of needed polish but…it’s just for kids, and they aren’t particularly picky about things like that. It has an interesting feature of asking questions about fire safety at certain points during the gameplay, but otherwise, it’s no Brave Firefighters.

In addition to the Touch Magix section, and the aforementioned Real Heroes, Elaut did bring Gold & Mace by Boxblaster and I was able to find out that it’s been going through some revisions to toughen up the controls and cabinet so it can better withstand the rigors of an arcade environment. This is why you test games first ;). Admittedly I paid little attention to their cranes & pusher content so if there was something new in that regard I overlooked it.


exA-Arcadia booth with woman, Amusement Expo 2023

The Arc-1 cabinet was back, but as you can see from the photo above, exA employed a tradeshow rarity these days, a “booth babe.” She was only there on the 2nd day (she was over at their booth for the Bar & Restaurant Expo the day prior), working to help draw attention to the booth when the second day, from what I was there to observe for an hour and a half, was decidedly slower than the first.

For the games, they had a selection of titles spread across the five cabinets and for “new-new” stuff that hadn’t been shown at IAAPA (and in a couple of cases, not even JAEPO), they had more new stuff than anyone else at the show. The few I spent time with included:

Donut Dodo Do!If I had to pick a favorite of the exA games I played, it’d be this arcade version of the console game (which is available to pre-order now, in case you missed that news). Playing with a second player naturally elevates this game, and it also has a new level not present in the console build. I might be selling one of my exA carts to be replaced with this.

Axel City 2 – Way back in January 2019, it was first revealed that a sequel to the obscure Windows PC fighting game from the early 2000s would be landing on the exA. Since then, I’ve played a build of the game here and there, and fans who know it have been clamoring to find out when the game is going to be available. Well, that time is approaching fast, as it should begin shipping this summer. Here’s a near-final build (I think it only lacked a full English translation) that was at AEI:

Batsugun Exa LabelI sheepishly admit that I had never played Batsugun prior to this show, I don’t think I’d ever come across the original in it’s arcade form, and I never had (or knew anyone who had) a Sega Saturn. As the grandfather of bullet hell shmups, one can easily see where it established many features that would become standard in CAVE shooters: Tons of bullets on the screen with elaborate patterns; Selectable fighters with different abilities; Gems that update your experience and weapon level, and so on. My first impression was that it felt like a deeper Raiden, but it’s more than that – the game will have four game modes to enjoy, including the Arcade original. Here’s the game in EXA mode:

Dynamite Bomb – Here’s another fighting game that we’ve been hearing about for a while and like Axel City 2, it’s 2D and it will be exclusive to the exA platform. I had first played it at Amusement Expo 2021 but hadn’t seen it since. I’ll have a video comparing the two builds here soon. This one does not have quite as large a character roster as AC2 does (10 instead of 40), and it also has a bit of a story to it. That seems to involve battling witches, warlocks and demons, the magic being an explanation for the supernatural attacks.

JamJam ‘N Jelly Exalente – This sidescrolling “cute ’em up” was revealed last year and does exist on consoles (PC/PS4/Switch), although I’m not sure what differences the AC version will employ, as of yet. It sounds like this one is still a little ways out, although what I played was fun (it just needed a little polish here and there). I have footage of my play on this one so stay tuned.

An Unannounced Fighter – I can’t really say much about this one yet other than when it is announced, hardcore arcade fans will know the name and I think they’ll be excited.

Shinorubi Pink Label was also there although I didn’t get a chance to give it a spin (I did so at IAAPA).


They had a couple of new air hockey tables which had a shiny black finish, although I didn’t really stop and look at them.


This creator of popular redemption games had a new concept called Air Slide, the second redemption game I can recall which employs a component from air hockey (the first being ICE’s All-In). The base concept is the same as most mechanical redemption games these days – pull a lever or a plunger and launch something like a ball (in this case an air hockey puck) to reach a ticket goal, the bonus goal being the hardest to nail. There was another candy-themed redemption game there too, but the Komuse rep said it was still “very early” and I didn’t get a chance to look at it (I was in a rush as I dropped by their booth on day two, where I only had an hour and half to do stuff)

Sega Amusements

I wasn’t expecting anything new-new here, although I was a little surprised that they didn’t have Crazy Rafting on display. As you’ll see below, they did have Storm Rider 2, VR Agent, Drone Racing Genesis, Bop It!, and the Augmented Reality Darts system.

Smart Industries

No video here as expected, but they were rolling out a new idea for crane machines where if you win, you get to pretty much clear the whole thing out of all the prizes inside (think what they do in Japan with many cranes but with several prizes instead of one)

Stern Pinball

Stern had a good variety of games as they had announced, although most of the focus was on Foo Fighters. It was there in both Pro and Premium models; I played both and did not find a gigantic difference between the two. Overall I enjoy the game, it has a fun flow and being a teen in the 90s means I know the songs pretty well (unfortunately the volume was down so it was a little hard to hear at times). Also, no one from Stern told me to stop “streaming” (i.e. filming) so that was a plus; Footage of this coming soon (pinball’s a little more time consuming to edit, but I’m getting there).


Their Storm VR machine was there with a new ride film, as was their premium arcade machine QUBE.

Anything else or some other surprise?

Not that I came across, although I wasn’t able to walk up and down every aisle of the show as I like to do, as you can often discover something that fits the bill but it isn’t obvious from looking at a map. I didn’t hear anyone talking about something they hadn’t see before though, so there’s that I suppose.

VR Talk

I’m putting all VR into it’s own section since I have a little bit to say about it but I know not everyone comes here looking for my thoughts on the tech. As I’ve laid out in video and on the blog before, yes I do believe VR has it’s place in our industry, but I do not see it as a replacement for the non-wearable, flatscreen display.

Hero Zone VR

I did witness some people playing it this time, although I wasn’t able to stick around to give it a try myself. Here’s news on their two new titles for the platform.


Hologate had the Ghostbusters VR Academy up and going, although this time without their Blitz sit-down motion simulator.


The main focus of their booth was a new version of the QBIX mixed reality gaming room that was introduced at IAAPA; The main difference there being the removal of part of the back wall so that people outside can better see inside. They also have more games available for it, although when I stopped by a couple of times, the game it had originally launched with was being played so I didn’t get to see them (I’ll have to set aside some time at IAAPA to actually try one of them out). Inowize also introduced a new 2-player Arkadia VR setup, where a pair of headsets and controls are connected to something that almost looks like an arcade cabinet for unattended VR play. It also sports original games that were designed by Inowize themselves, the one robotic shooting game I saw looking quite sharp. I did film these, so hang tight for that look.


They did not have their arena on-site, just a display of their new home model.

VR 360 Action

I finally met with Malik, CEO of this company, and got to try out their “OMG” VR Simulator. It, and many of their other simulators,  have 25 different rides and/or experiences that you can pick from. Malik put myself and his salesguy Rafael on a bungie jumping one. My apologies to Malik, who was very accommodating, but this reminded me that my stomach & head don’t sit very well when combining both VR and motion together(it’s why I haven’t spent a lot of time on Rabbids VR and King Kong either, altohugh I have noticed that very high frame rate sets reduce the nausea for me). Perhaps it was the bungie jump effect as well, and I’d do better with a more straightforward roller coaster but the back-and-forth of the bungie jump had me hoping for it to end sooner rather than later. I’ll have to try one that doesn’t have quite as much motion and is more interactive next time.


Unlike IAAPA, I was feeling just fine for this show and so I ventured to try out a couple of VR games, as mentioned. One of those I was critical of last time was Zombieland: Headshot Fever, and so now I can properly comment on it for having played it. I suppose to be fair, I’ve learned that I am not a big fan of these VR/light-gun blended games (where the VR headset is fused into the gun, so instead of strapping on a headset and moving your arms independently, you’re holding both up to your face). The issue I have with this after some play are what I experienced with VR Agent previously – the image in the headset is often out of focus since it depends on how you hold it, and it doesn’t take long where holding the gun like you do, that you get a little tired. I don’t get any nausea though, so that’s a plus!

That aside, my apologies to VRsenal once again but I’m still baffled by the frame rate on the external display being much lower (24fps) than the one in the headset. I wasn’t the only one who noticed this; I met with Retro Ralph at their booth and he asked me if he was crazy or was it really that low/choppy. That said, the one in the headset was at an acceptable 30, although one thing I guess throws you off is that the game is constantly doing a “bullet time” slowdown effect. That does help in getting cleaner, more accurate shots, I just would expect 60fps for the non-bullet time moments since the game itself looks rather dated (meaning character models, textures, and lighting look a decade old).

Of course, games aren’t all about graphics – Bob showed me some earnings where ZL was holding up strong against similar games, his report showing 3x the take of VR Agent (I didn’t get a chance to ask for more details on that bit). Your purpose is to travel through a city full of zombies, blasting them preferably in the head. You are rewarded for headshots and you grab different guns on occasion. Once in a while, you come across zombies which throw things at you like wrenches, and you can equalize things out at times by shooting exploding red barrels. All reloading is done automatically; There are also some secrets that you can shoot here and there.

The game promises 40 minutes of gameplay but I didn’t go quite that far, I felt finished by the time I reached a continue screen while wielding a double barrel shotgun. I did find it odd how you would move from place to place; You’re supposed to aim at a blue dot on the ground but often instead of smoothly moving there or to a new place on the level, it would fade to black for a quick second then you’re in the next situation. Maybe it was an artistic, atmospheric choice but in an arcade setting, I’d prefer it work like a typical on-rails light-gun shooter – i.e., it moves for you smoothly from one place to the next and if there’s a fork in the road, it gives you a few seconds to pick. I think Zombieland would be a better game if it followed/copies those same ideas.


Amusement Expo was fun and as always, it’s great catching up with people that I generally just speak with via email in between shows. My thanks to everyone who accommodated me on my questions and filming and I look forward to see you all at the next show event that I visit – whatever it might be. That probably will be IAAPA at the moment; Bowl Expo is way down in Orlando instead of Vegas or Denver. But I might end up in Ohio for a game show, depending on how that shakes out…until then, keep on gaming!

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