SAYREVILLE, NJ -- Following the successful introduction of Friction, a two-player shooter, in 2011, Coast to Coast Entertainment is continuing its foray into the videogame arena. The Sayreville, NJ, company whose claim to fame is skill cranes, is now bringing a novel musical videogame to the amusement market.
ReRave Arcade, which employs a touchscreen user interface instead of a dance platform, is a collaboration of Coast to Coast, Step Evolution and Chris Cotty, a 37-year amusement industry veteran. The result of the cooperative effort is gaining attention. ReRave Arcade, which made its official debut in November at the IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, was honored by BMI Gaming and The Stinger Report with a "Best of [IAAPA] Show Gold Medal" in the arcade videogame category.
Following the fall's IAAPA debut, Coast to Coast signed a distribution agreement with Timezone, part of the LAI Group, awarding it exclusive ReRave rights in Singapore and the Philippines. In Europe, Namco Bandai Games featured the novel video in its abundant exhibit at London's EAG International Expo in January.
"After the IAAPA introduction," reported Coast to Coast's Jenny Dumervé, "showgoers told us that ReRave was the surprise hit of the show. Operators were excited to see a new and unique concept in the reaction-based entertainment genre."
ReRave gameplay is simple, combining rhythm, timing and placement skills. Players are challenged to manipulate power symbols by hand, which appear on the 46" high-definition touchscreen, synched to a selection from the game's licensed music library. "You can go anywhere on the screen at any point in time; it's a multiple player touchscreen," said Step Evolution's Chris Foy.
Foy and Kyle Ward, also of Step Evolution (Camas, WA), are the game's designers.
Photo | WE'VE GOT RHYTHM: ReRave Arcade is in the spotlight at IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, FL. Doing the honors, from left, are Chris Cotty, American Empire Amusements; Jenny Dumervé, Coast to Coast Entertainment; and Chris Foy and Kyle Ward of Step Evolution. Chris Cotty, a videogame development expert who achieved notoriety in the music amusement category, is working with Coast to Coast on the ReRave project.
"The motion graphics and the interface are intuitive," Ward observed. "It's easy to understand compared to music games of the past -- many of which were notoriously hard to understand. ReRave does not have a lot of complex menus. Someone can walk up to it and immediately know how to play. To date, there hasn't been another music game that has been approached like this before."
Ward and Foy also asserted that ReRave is the first arcade game in the music genre to use a large touchscreen.
ReRave began life as a popular download for portable devices, and it's still available at the iTunes store for iPhones and iPads. But the arcade adaptation not only boasts a big multi-touch screen, it also allows multiple players to compete head to head as music pumps through a 1,000W. sound system with 12" subwoofer. The arcade version also offers single-player games.
As for the music menu, Ward and Foy insist it's decidedly not Top 40. They say it's more cutting edge. "The music comes from a combination of places," Ward told VT. "And we've licensed it globally, so it can be played in every country. We've gone out and found artists on the radio or in the club market that are just becoming popular. Some of the music is produced specifically for the game."
New music is streamed into the ReRave cabinet system in the same manner content is transferred to a digital jukebox, and on a regular basis. When fully operational, ReRave's playlist will be updated monthly across the network of games, which connect to the Internet wirelessly.
While the vast majority of videos have static song selections, the two designers from Step Evolution pointed out, ReRave Arcade features a dynamic playlist. ReRave's online operational model will also include a website in which players could create profiles and monitor their local and global rankings. The arcade and mobile games can also interface.
According to the ReRave Arcade architects, building a network using wireless connections will allow the games to evolve onsite. In addition to music content, ReRave's central server will upload new game software to units deployed in the field. "Our plan is to keep improving and adding content, which includes new methods of play and new game styles, over the next five or 10 years," Foy said.
ReRave Arcade features a full complement of operator settings and controls, from song filters that allow operators to program games for specific locations to statistical tools that generate all kinds of reports. The standard cabinet is equipped with a Suzo-Happ coin door, headphone jacks and 32" x 22" sound reactive LED light show, among other accompaniments.
Coast To Coast Entertainment LLC was founded in 1999 by Gary Balaban and John Maurer, who have been business partners in arcade and route operations since 1985. For information on ReRave Arcade, call the company at (800) 224-1717 or (732) 238-0096.
Step Evolution has worked with about a dozen rhythm videogame developers, including Roxor, Andamiro and Fun In Motion. The company is online at stepevolution.com.
Chris Cotty, who was involved in the development of the In The Groove series, DJ Max Technika and Friction, is a leading development partner of Coast to Coast.