Virtual video games may be having trouble competing with home gaming systems, but redemption machines are still offering players plenty of incentive to drop in a coin, swipe a card and redeem a ticket.
At Apple Vending Company in Bensalem, Pa., Chris Vecchione, the owner and vice president of sales and marketing, said the most popular redemption games so far this year have been Pirate’s Hook and Fishbowl Frenzy.
Made by Universal Space (UNIS) in Ontario, Canada, Pirate’s Hook features unique rotating wheel handles with different tension settings that add to the challenge. The bigger the fish a player hooks, the higher the score he or she receives. Designed for one or two players, the fast-paced game is also quite attention-getting thanks to its changing LED lights and sound.
“We projected the Pirate’s Hook Four Player to earn about $25,000 for the entire year,” said Rick Iceberg of C.J. Barrymore’s in Clinton, Mich. “We were blown away because it earned $48,000 in the first 12 months, and we are projecting $50,000 for this year.” That’s approximately $90,000 earned on a $10,000 investment, he said.
Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based Team Play, meanwhile, manufactures Fishbowl Frenzy, a game that won the 2014 Brass Ring Award for Best New Product in the Coin-Operated Arcade and Redemption Category at the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, Fla., last year. The game, which showcases sharp video graphics, challenges players to time the release of a ball, which bounces through a field of pins into fishbowls. Computer-generated 3D fish add to the excitement.
“We keep hearing that Fishbowl Frenzy may be the best redemption game ever created,” said Ed Pellegrini, Team Play’s CEO. “Winning the Brass Ring Award further confirms what we keep hearing – that everyone loves this game.”
Up and Comers
Apple Vending’s Chris Vecchione said he is keeping an eye on a few new games to market, like Safari Rangers, Duo Drive and Beat the Goalie, which he said have all been testing well.
Made by UNIS, Safari Rangers is a safari-themed game that boasts a 42-inch LCD screen and a wheel mechanism that lets users lasso animals. Relying on both skill and timing, users who capture the biggest animals get the biggest scores. “With both two-player and four-player cabinets, the game is already performing at the high level of our current top earners,” explained Debbie Gonzales, United States sales manager for UNIS. “The price per play for Safari Ranger is smaller than its competitors, and that results in more plays.”
The tension-based controls create a virtual experience that users seem to like. “The response to the game play has proven positive with all age groups,” said Mike Abecassis, CEO of Game Time in Florida. “Safari Ranger is a must-have for all of our centers.”
Also by UNIS, Duo Drive is designed exclusively for kids with a simulated driving experience punctuated by bright colors and fast-paced graphics. “Duo Drive has been performing in the top three in my locations,” said Justin Lawrence, sales manager of Young Amusement in Charlotte, N.C., “right behind Dusky Splash. A big plus is having a ticket dispenser on a driving game.”
The pace of Beat the Goalie by UNIS also seems to be driving its growing popularity. The game also features repeat shooting (in this case of soccer balls) and bright lighting to get attention.
“The key is to make sure the mix of games covers every age group and to not just focus on the top of the chart income producers,” said Vecchione. “Arcades do best as they always have more games, but the tavern-based fun center concept seems to be my best earning as the array of games covers players from ages 2 through 75.”