IAAPA’s 2005 Show Draws 22K Visitors; Eastern European Attendance Doubles
ATLANTA — The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions estimates that some 22,000 visitors from 77 countries attended the annual Attractions Expo, held Nov. 16 through 19 at the Georgia World Congress Center here. Final audited figures were not available at press time, but exhibitors reported attendance from serious buyers, particularly on the second day. Light to moderate foot traffic through the course of the show included a healthy number of international visitors despite recent terrorist attacks in the UK and riots in France, reported several exhibitors. Attendance from the Far East rose 43% over last year; attendance from Eastern Europe grew 104% over 2004, said organizers.
Notable product debuts included Dog Pounder from Bob’s Space Racers, winner of the Best New Coin-Operated Arcade Or Redemption Game from IAAPA. This children’s redemption game features a soft mallet that the player uses to pound an oversized button, causing hollow plastic balls to launch inside the playfield toward the target – which is the large, open mouth of an oversized, sculpted cartoon dog’s head. Also launching at IAAPA was the Tournament Edition of Namco’s Flamin’ Finger, a simple video novelty with a maze/race theme; up to eight units may now be linked.
Valley-Dynamo showed final versions of its Dynamo Pro pool table with push chute and Dynamo Pro Plus pool table featuring a DBA with rolldown mech and push chute. Both began shipping in late November. Also shown by Valley-Dynamo was Dino Duel from LAI Games, a card dispensing video with gameplay based on the classic kids’ game of “rock, paper, scissors.” It’s aimed at younger players who are encouraged to collect a full series of dinosaur cards. Finally, Tic Tac Toe from DSM will be represented worldwide exclusively by Valley-Dynamo. Based on another children’s classic, the unit features large and small prizes to create an easy-to-win player psychology. It ships mid-December.
ICE introduced a line of licensed Pink Panther pushers from Bell-Fruit Games. Featuring the famous cartoon character and Henry Mancini’s popular theme song, the line will be available in two-, three-, and eight-player formats. Tsunami’s booth highlighted the Fast & Furious Deluxe sitdown driving video game with motion base, developed through a partnership between Tsunami and Raw Thrills. (The two companies will collaborate on another motion-based game due in early 2006). Benchmark caught plenty of eyes with its 20-ft.-tall version of a current game, humorously tagged “Big-Ass Slam-A-Winner” (although it can be customized with any title).
Also previewed during show were a free “casual play” software upgrade for UltraCade’s Breeder’s Cup Tournament Edition, scheduled for early 2006; a yet-to-be-named Korean import combination kiddie ride and crane that will be offered by Lazer-Tron/Cadillac Jack; and a digital image booth from Fantasy Entertainment that laser scans the subject to create a holographic 3D image that can then be embedded in a cube-shaped, clear crystal-type keychain fob.
Surfnote bowed Funny Touch, a new countertop video that employs the proprietary uTouch Platform based on Windows XP Embedded OS. Compact Flash technology will enable operators to install future updates with ease. A library of 25 games was finished and on display; executives said this constitutes 85% completion of the scheduled release in the spring of 2006. Funny Touch will initially be available as a retrofit kit for countertops and uprights. More details on this and other IAAPA debuts will appear in the January issue.
IAAPA elected Rob Norris of Seabreeze Park (Rochester, NY), as its 2006 chairman. A fifth-generation owner-operator, he has worked at Seabreeze from the time he was 10, serving as its president and general manager since 1985.
Norris graduated from Indiana Institute of Technology with a degree in civil engineering. An IAAPA member since 1986, he has served two terms on the board prior to this appointment.
IAAPA bestowed the 2005 Meritorious Service Award to Michael Getlan, Amusement Consultants (New Rochelle, NY), in recognition of his contributions to the association with his columns in IAAPA’s Funworld publication; his service on the Membership and Awards Committees; his top-rated seminar presentations; and volunteer work as a circus-style clown at performances given for children at Give Kids the World.
The 2005 Outstanding Service Award was given to Jack and Peter Herschend, Herschend Family Entertainment Corp. (Branson, MO), for their commitment to family values and ethical business practices. They have 20 FECs/attractions in eight states.
The 2005 Lifetime Service Award was bestowed on 40-year industry vet Bill Alter of National Ticket Co., who received special recognition for his support of the association’s golf tournaments and silent auctions benefiting Give Kids the World.
Lastly, the Board of Directors Award went to Tom Wages, IAAPA’s treasurer and past chairman. He was cited for exceptional contributions to the association.IAAPA will return to Atlanta for next year’s show, scheduled to run Nov. 15 through 18. For more information, visit iaapa.org or ticketforfun.com.