Keeping an eye on the coin- op gaming scene
Sega’s Alien: Isolation is only one of 2014’s Alien games. The other, Aliens: Armageddon, snuck into arcades early this year in cabinets built by Raw Thrills.
The modern arcade scene is so low-key that the news of another Alien game might come as a surprise to many, but that it’s a sequel should surprise even more. Aliens: Extermination has been swallowing coins since 2006, with a ludicrously out-of-continuity return to LV-426 and armies of hostile Weyland-Yutani androids.
From a typically ostentatious Raw Thrills cabinet, Armageddon tells an even more outlandish tale of escape from an Earth entirely overrun with Xenomorphs. There are 55- and 42-inch models available, both repurposed and repainted versions of Play Mechanix’s own Terminator Salvation coin-op, from which Armageddon borrows its pacing and mechanics, too.
But it’s Play Mechanix that’s perhaps the biggest surprise of all. The company’s beginnings, in 1995, were modest, but the studio has grown to become one of the biggest players on the American arcade scene thanks to the barfriendly Big Buck Hunter franchise, introduced in 1999. The revenue stream generated by regular updates to the hunting sim has supported a handful of original projects alongside work on Raw Thrills’ biggest licences, such as The Terminator, Monopoly and Wheel Of Fortune. No wonder Raw Thrills now owns the studio.
Game Aliens:Armageddon Manufacturer Play Mechanix/Raw Thrills