ASI Amusement Showcase International Show in Chicago, Il
ASI in 60 Seconds!
by James Hills - March 2006
Best New Game
It's a Tie!
World Poker Tour would not have received this award if you asked me in the first 10 min of playing. However, after spending time with it, the game really grabbed me and I am sure it will others as well. The key is to just give it some time, it is not a poker game, it is just a damned fun pinball game!
Time Crisis 4 was certainly one of the most anticipated games of the show and it did not disappoint. Of the hundreds of games at the show, this row of machines at the Namco booth was certainly the most popular.
(Booth, Games etc.)
Sega was one of the few booths that had a wide selection of "new" games that were fun to play. From Virtua Tennis to Metal Slug 6 even a card trading game for kids called Dinosaur King (http://www.segaarcade.com/dinosaurking/whatis/).
This was one booth that showed coin-op video games aren't dead yet! Despite the fun I had here though, it has to be said that most of their games were sequels (Virtua Tennis) or re-releases (Metal Slug 6)
Trackballs were EVERYWHERE!
Did someone discover that people enjoyed playing Golden Tee and decide that was the future? Everyone jumped on this trend, from the mighty Namco's Rockin' Bowl O Rama! (great cabinet, LOUSY game), to tiny TLC Industries' pool simulator PowerShot Pool and their universal multigame cabinet featuring a universal control panel with a joystick, four buttons and a trackball.
Even Merit, a company that normally prospers from small, sleek games decided to put together a full sized upright multigame they call "Boardwalk."
Boardwalk featured 4 games, Mini Golf, Skee Ball, Hoops, and Strike (bowling). Unfortunately, its games all disappointed me. The physics just didn't seem right, the graphics didn't wow and generally, players should be BETTER with a video simulation than with the real thing. Unfortunately this just wasn't the case with this game.
Spent the Most Time Playing
World Poker Tour was by far my personal favorite game at the show. Initially though, I felt confused and stopped playing after only one try.
I am not a poker player, so my first experience with it was spent looking at the LEDs on the playfield (?) and pausing if I lost a ball to figure out exactly what was going on with my [poker] hand. So, I stepped back, walked away and bitched and cursed about the game. I wanted this to be so much fun; instead I was very disappointed . but not beaten!
After lunch, I found a machine in a section away from Stern's main booth - was part of a charity raffle or something. I decided to really get to know the game . Stern couldn't have created a flop with one of the hottest properties on earth. He didn't!
The problem that I had with the game was that I forgot I was playing pinball and not poker! Once I decided to just keep the ball in play as long as I could and hit as many targets as possible I started to have a blast. Eventually, I started picking up what the various targets were and how to get a good hand. Then slowly I figured out how to win, so I could advance from one city to the next - ultimately becoming the World Poker Tour champion.
This game is one that will be a huge hit for both locations and homes. Anyone who likes poker or pinball is sure to have a blast when they play it!