Arcade Hardware Update: Sega Lindbergh - Xbox 360 ? - TriForce 2 ?



update on arcade technology / arcade games from

26.07.2005 - Get Ready! Fire! Fire! Fire!
a.. Bit of an editorial rant this time, something I'm trying out to see
what reaction it provokes, all views expressed are those of, well, mine I
suppose, but seeing as it's my website that's probably fair enough.

b.. There's a lot going on with the hardware side of the arcade industry
at the moment, first of all there's a lot of hardware being retired and
replaced this year, Sega's Naomi 1 and 2, Taito's G-Net, Namco's System246,
NeoGeo and possibly the Atomiswave are all seeing their last games (although
a couple of releases might trickle into next year).

This means that most of the 3rd party developers are looking elsewhere for
platforms to develop on and all of the big boys have got their new and
improved hardware either released or on the cards for sometime this year;
Sega - Have the Lindbergh, their high end Naomi2/Chihiro's replacement,
the Aurora, the low end Naomi/Atomiswave's replacement, a Triforce 2 could
be on the cards as well.
Konami - Have the Longhorn, their new PC based hardware system.
Namco - Have System 258, an enhanced System 246 (much like the System 12
was to the System 11) and the M-2, which is their own PC based hardware.
Taito - Have the Type X and Type X+, both PC based.

Most of the 3rd party developers seem to be jumping from format to format
at the moment looking for a stable platform that has the potential for
having a large installed base (basically looking for the next Naomi),
personally I'd say that upcoming Sega Aurora is definitely the one to watch.

This was originally though to be Taito's TypeX system, although the TypeX
has been beset by quite a few problems recently regarding the fact that it
seems to suffer the home PC's fate as a system that seems to require
constant upgrading to play the latest games (which in my own opinion, and
apparently increasingly in the eyes of operators and developers alike,
defies the point of having a "System"), the final nail being the
announcement of TypeX+, an enhanced version to cope with added effects
wanted for Battle Gear 4, even though this was in production before the
original TypeX hardware was even announced.

This has been born out by the initial excitement over the system, the
impressive list of developers and a handful of big name games (Raiden,
Tetris and Battle Gear) quickly turning into a trickle with developers
seeming to have lost interest and no new game releases announced bar yet
another 2D Vs. fighter (Spectral Vs Generation) of which the market is
totally saturated with at present (the Atomiswave being the main perpetrator
with one 2D Vs. fighter released every month for 5 months, the lack of
choice for the system is driving operators insane, with the only people
benefiting being collectors).

Talking of the Atomiswave, like the Taito TypeX, the initial slew of
announced developers and releases for it seems to have dried up, and the
only people developing for the system being Sammy, Dimps (both of who
probably won't be making any more games for it, Dimps are Sammy's
bedfellows, and Sammy's arcade division is now Sega who are using the Naomi
until it's replacement, Aurora, is released, hence the change for hardware
for Guilty Gear XX Slash to Naomi) and SNK-Playmore (who have already
ditched the much hyped AW-Net online network).

I have to say that I saw this coming with the merger of Sammy and Sega,
the Atomiswave is a substandard system that was in direct competition,
intentionally or not, with the already established Naomi, which was more
powerful, has an enormous universal cabinet installed operator base and is
cheaper to produce software for as everyone already has the tools. Compound
this with the lack of developers and the fact that most of SNK Playmore's
releases look barely better than their NeoGeo forefathers and you have a
system with pretty much nothing going for it apart from a hardcore of
fanatical fans inherited from the Neogeo.

c.. A few minor things to clear up as well about some Sega rumors.
- First of all, neither of Sega's new systems are based on the XBox360,
apart from Sega's official denial (which isn't always enough, they flatout
denied the Hikaru existed and said the games were running on Naomi at the
time) there is the fact that developers have only just got hold of the first
proper beta XBox360 machines themselves, and as HOTD4 is already on location
test its hardly likely to be running on hardware that doesn't actually exist
yet, also the fact that both of these machines use the Imagination
Technologies Power VR chips to drive the graphics, not ATI Xeno's, compound
this even more.
- Secondly, there's been some talk of HOTD4's graphics and people saying
it looked a bit ropey.
You really shouldnt look at a static screenshot to judge a game nowadays,
you probably missed the 200+ independantly animated zombies all reflected in
a huge plate glass window running at you more like 28 days later, the fully
destructable scenery and the most organic looking boss that rampages through
the level destroying the level dripping blood as it chases you. It's far
more impressive in motion than the screenshots imply, that and the fact that
it's not even finished yet.

d.. This update was actually spurned by getting my hands on something that
has made me as excitable as a school kid who's drunk 2 cans of Coke and
consumed their own bodyweight in chocolate.
I am of course referring to the somewhat stonking (beware, UK-ism's ahoy!)
looking Afterburner 3.
I have (as you will notice below) some screenshots of the aforementioned
game and whilst looking rather funky in their own (albeit small and fuzzy)
way I have to say that they give you absolutely no idea how stunningly good
this thing actually looks in motion, I can honestly say that I don't
remember seeing a game that gives you such a sense of unbridled speed as
this one seems to do.
To say my hopes are high for it could possibly be the understatement of
the year, if for some reason the game is pulled for the arcade or suffers
some other unfortunate fate then I vow to delete the site, burn my house to
the ground and use the insurance money in an effort to hunt down those
responsible and effectuate the first true videogame incited act of

e.. I had a hard drive crash recently and lost my drive that my local copy
of System16 was on, this was no great worry as I had only just updated the
site so I re downloaded it and everything was fine, so I'd finished this
update, and went to build the new game lists using my little program I have
to automatically do it...and it was gone...
Raw unbridled panic ensued as I turned my desk upside down looking for my
backup disk that I had put in a "safe place". I fired emails off everywhere
in blind panic sobbing into my mouse mat. Finally I calmed down enough to be
rational, I'm not silly enough to not have backups so I sat down with 2
cardboard box's full of CD and DVD cases and went through them all.
I finally found the DVD backup nestled inside of my Unreal Tournament 2004
case, the obvious place...
The steam was veritably pouring off me by this point, apologies too all
those who I was insufferable around for those 2 days, especially my wife who
wouldn't speak to me for a good few hours after I accused her of, shock
horror, tidying up.


Excessive cross-posted spam

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