More gaming goodness is headed to arcades here in the West, so let’s dive into it:
Galaxy Rangers Coming To The US Via Coastal Amusements
Jdevy found something interesting that I had just brought up this weekend when discussing some new games that are now available in Europe – a listing for Galaxy Rangers by Ace Amusements on the Betson website. This can only be found by searching directly for the game in their search; On their new games page sorted by latest, it’s not popping up yet. Either way, this light-gun game is headed to the US thanks to Coastal Amusements, as I had guessed might be the case. As is often the case, Coastal doesn’t add their latest pieces to their own website right away, but Betson id’s them as the manufacturer. Given that it’s not being pushed openly yet, my assumption is that this game is on test out there somewhere in the US right now.
Astro Ninja Man EXA On Test
Ok, this isn’t exactly ‘West’ since the test itself is happening in Japan, however, this game will be available worldwide once it launches in September, along with P-47 Aces Mk. II. Per a press release posted to the Japanese side of the exA website and me using translation via deepl.com, the game begins testing at two locations in Japan starting tomorrow and runs through Monday. For those who may not be familiar with this game, it was a “homebrew” NES game launched a while back, just like Kira Kira Star Night exa. I last discussed this game here, back when it was announced; It’s a shoot ’em up that was designed to really push the classic NES/Famicom hardware.
The exA version will enjoy the following changes, again per the translator:
Players take on the role of Astro Ninja Man and fight invaders from outer space as humanity’s last hope to protect the Earth. The game is an exhilarating, easy-to-play shooting game that anyone can enjoy with ease, with large bosses that push the limits of 8-bit, flashy screen effects, and furious chiptunes composed by a splendid music composition team, making it a challenging game for those who are good at games. Astro Ninja Man”, but there are many elements that can only be experienced in the arcade version.
..[improvements include] a system that changes difficulty levels as players get better at the game, the core elements of play have been selected from the two modes and combined into a single game experience to offer something new. In this location test, we will deliver a more in-depth experience in addition to the exhilarating experience of the past.
In addition to the music by Hiroto Saito, Nobuyuki Shiota, Manabu Namiki, and Bun, the EXA version also includes two songs by composer Nobuyuki Shiota, which are thought to be the first ever attempts to use PCM sound sources, as an EXA exclusive. This is a must-listen for music fans as well as chiptune fans.
The album “8BIT Astro Ninja Man EXA – RIKI collection -” including these additional songs is scheduled to be released on September 28th by Nippon Columbia, but you can listen to it first by playing the location test, so don’t miss this opportunity!
It is also keeping the action on a 4:3 aspect ratio portion of the image while employing exA’s character art banners on the sides for machines running 16:9 screens; You can also expect the input lag to be extremely low, putting it as close as possible to the game running on an NES with a CRT.
Given Kira Kira Star Night’s very affordable price, I’m guessing that this game will also be selling in the same range.
Bandai Namco Testing Gashapon Vendors In The US
If you aren’t familiar with gashapon, think of it as a higher-end Japanese version of what we call “bulk vending” in the US. You have small vending machines that sell toy capsules; Builk Vending itself is a fairly profitable venture that many operators I know swear by (I have a single bulk vending unit and as long as you have the right kind of prize inside they can do exceptionally well). Japan has had the same idea for decades although the term gashapon itself is trademarked by none other than Bandai. Since that’s the parent company of Bandai Namco Amusements, they have begun testing banks of gashapon vendors at Round1USA. Given that they’ve been publicly discussing this on social media, this should mean that these machines will be available for other operators to grab at some point soon. The current crop of toys offered include Gundam, Demon Slayer, Dragonball Z, and Digimon.