With a gamut of the latest games from supply giants Raw Thrills and Andamiro alongside its own legendary PacMan brand, BNAE’s James Anderson had no shortage of big names adorning his stand at this year’s EAG.
Any new decade feels like a landmark moment, but for BANDAI NAMCO the year 2020 has a particularly special resonance, marking 40 years since the invention of its legendary Pac-Man game. To celebrate the occasion, the veteran amusements firm was showcasing a wealth of Pac-Man products on its stand at January’s EAG, alongside the cream of the crop from its multiple supply partners around the world. Following an exclusive distribution deal with Raw Thrills for the EMAE region, BNAE showed off two newly launched products from IAAPA last year: Nitro Trucks and Big Buck Hunter Reloaded. These were joined by two successful mid-season releases – Nerf and Super Trucks 3 – which, according to sales and commercial director James Anderson, are forecasted to do “big numbers” this year.
In the distributor’s packed out stand, attendees at EAG could also catch the first glimpses of some products that had been freshly introduced to the European market, like the Zombie Jam video basketball game from Crane. From Adrenaline, the firm was showcasing the new Hot Wheels King of the Road and Rabbits and Ladders games, alongside Jurassic World and Basketball Pro from Andamiro.
“We have some new concepts here, and we have proven them,” said Anderson. “We operate some of the leading bowling alleys in the UK, the two biggest brands, so we’re able to get all these products out and test them, modify them with our engineers nationwide, and get them right. My whole thing is to try and prove it to the market so that we know we’re onto a winner with something and get it right before it comes to market.”
Further along on the stand, BNAE was premiering Ball Madness, a brand-new, family friendly attraction from Chinese suppliers TKM where players have to scramble to collect the balls as fast as they can. “The great thing about this is, it’s not just for children, parents can compete with the children,” said Anderson. “It’s full size, 2.85m, which will fit in most locations, and we’ve tested it for over a year now and it’s been in the top two or three games in most locations so we have strong, strong hopes for that.”
Following a period of testing, the size of the original Ball Madness had to be adapted to fit the brief of being both adult-friendly and compact enough to fit in most arcades, but according to Anderson, it’s the content and concept of games, rather than size, that have the biggest impact on cashbox taking.
“It’s all down to the gameplay and appeal of a game, you could have a bad game and make it as big as you want, it won’t take any money,” he explained. “It’s down to the quality of product from the likes of Adrenaline, Raw Thrills, people like that who make the games appealing, and then you can make them bigger or smaller so they can fit in any arcade or site.”