LAS VEGAS -- After two years in development, Big Buck HD is making its first public appearance at this week's Amusement Expo here. The latest rendering in the popular Big Buck Hunter series from Raw Thrills and Play Mechanix is the first-ever arcade videogame to offer 1080p graphics.
The new Big Buck game, which is expected to ship in the second quarter, is administered by a wireless connection. As a result, all games will be online and offer new options to players. Big Buck HD will support an enhanced player reporting system, loyalty programs, and social integration with Facebook and Twitter. It has Showdown Mode that allows up to four locations to compete head-to-head. And it ships with a credit/debit card reader and processing service.
The game's producers have teamed up with Verizon Wireless to manage the Big Buck HD network. Verizon is offering Internet service for $18 a month; although operators can use their own service. Additionally, Raw Thrills and Play Mechanix will charge a $24.99 monthly fee for the Big Buck HD service. However, that fee is being waved for all of 2012.
Big Buck HD will be available in two formats, and at prices that Raw Thrills and Play Mechanix term as "operator aggressive." There's a dedicated model with a 32" LCD ($5,299) and a "panorama" configuration ($4,799) that does not include a monitor. Operators provide a 42" or 55" LCD for the panorama model.
1080p describes a set of high-definition TV video modes characterized by 1080 horizontal lines of vertical resolution. The resolution is similar to that of 2K digital cinema technology. Big Buck's scenes and animals rendered in this mode are said to be lifelike.
Raw Thrills Inc. was founded in 2001 by an experienced team led by veteran arcade game designer Eugene Jarvis. In 2006, the company merged with game development studio Play Mechanix, which had been established in 1995 by former Midway Games designer George Petro (pictured above with Big Buck HD).