Date: 17th - 19th January, 2017
Location: ExCel London, Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London, UK

The first major trade show of the year is traditionally held in London and now goes by the name EAG International. It is held at the ExCel London Exhibition Centre which is in the Docklands area of East London.

The ExCel London Exhibition Centre
The ExCel London Exhibition Centre

The exhibition last three days – Tuesday to Thursday – with a welcome party held on the Wednesday evening. We visited for just the first day, getting there around 10:30am at which point hall N2 was still relatively quiet.

The empty aisles at the show on Tuesday morning
The empty aisles at the show on Tuesday morning

Things certainly got busier as the day wore on, but the show did seem noticeably quieter than previous years. That may have changed on the second and third days, and the number of exhibitors seemed consistent with last year.

The EAG International 2017 show
The EAG International 2017 show

Despite the plethora of amusement machines on display, we were at EAG International for the pinballs, and the show was a good opportunity to play the latest titles.

We’ll start at the Electrocoin stand where Stern Pinball – represented by Gary Stern and Dave Peterson – were showing three machines.

The Electrocoin stand
The Electrocoin stand
The Stern Pinball distributor had three pinballs
The Stern Pinball distributor had three pinballs

The newest of the three was Aerosmith which was having its European premiere at the show.

Stern Pinball's Aerosmith Pro model
Stern Pinball’s Aerosmith Pro model

We have several high-resolution pictures of the game below, plus we have a five minute video of the game being played, showing you the shots, the basic rules and the new LCD animations.

The Aerosmith translite
The Aerosmith translite
The display and speaker panel
The display and speaker panel
The opening song selection screen
The opening song selection screen
The back of the playfield
The back of the playfield
The lower part of the playfield
The lower part of the playfield
The long right ramp
The long right ramp
Visitors from across Europe were enjoying the games
Visitors from across Europe were enjoying the games

Next door to Aerosmith was a Premium Batman 66. From talking to players, they unanimously preferred the Aerosmith to the Batman 66, with the latter feeling more like a Pro-level game than a Premium model.

Batman 66 Premium
Batman 66 Premium

The Batman 66 did have a number of nice touches to it though, especially in the display animations.

If a player gets a high score, the information is shown as a newspaper front page.

Player two gets a high score
Player two gets a high score
Once the name is entered
Once the name is entered

The match sequence is then shown on the Bat Computer, using old-style Nixie tubes for the digits.

The match sequence
The match sequence

Batman seems to be an enduring theme, with the Caped Crusader popping up in all kinds of places at the show, including on slot machines.

Batman slot machines
Batman slot machines

The third machine was a Ghostbusters Pro.

Ghostbusters Pro
Ghostbusters Pro

Before we move on though, Gary Stern took time out to show us what’s inside the new backbox of Stern Pinball’s games. We see the new Spike 2 board, the LCD panel design, the backbox lighting and much more.

At the front of the hall was the Heighway Pinball stand, where they had two Alien games and three Full Throttle machines.

Full Throttles on the Heighway Pinball stand
Full Throttles on the Heighway Pinball stand
The two Alien games
The two Alien games

The Alien machines were not playable while we were there, although they could be played later on the second day and then on the third day too. However, we did take some pictures of the playfield.

The Xenomorph head and third monitor
The Xenomorph head and third monitor
The pop bumpers area
The pop bumpers area
The mid-left area
The mid-left area
The upper part of the playfield
The upper part of the playfield
The central part of the playfield
The central part of the playfield
The lower part of the playfield
The lower part of the playfield
The whole playfield
The whole playfield

Heighway and Stern were the only companies exhibiting real full-size pinball machines. As usual though, there were several pinball-like games on display at vendor stands around the hall.

Here’s our round-up of them.

Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games
Mini-pinball games

Then there were the larger games with flipper bats.

UFO Ice Hockey, with flippers
UFO Ice Hockey, with flippers
Yours for a just £1,995 plus tax
Yours for a just £1,995 plus tax
This Rockin' and Rollin's game also had large flipper bats
This Rockin’ and Rollin’s game also had large flipper bats

The Hazel Electronics stand next to Heighway Pinball also had a pinball reference, along with a few couple of ideas which might be useful on a pinball.

Get yourself a pinball sign for the game room
Get yourself a pinball sign for the game room
Although intended for slot machines, this could be good on a pinball too
Although intended for slot machines, this USB charger would be good on a pinball too
These LED buttons could be good for pinballs with launch buttons
These LED buttons could be good for pinballs with launch buttons

The overall theme of the show seemed to be ‘bigger is better’ – an attempt to provide the kind of large-scale entertainment which game players can’t easily enjoy at home.

Giant Galaga and Space Invaders
Giant Galaga and Space Invaders
Big screens turned up everywhere, even on photo booths
Big screens turned up everywhere, even on photo booths
Big multi-player driving games are always popular here
Big multi-player driving games are always popular here
The classic Daytona racer is back with an updated version
The classic Daytona racer is back with an updated version
The prize for the biggest product goes to this inflatable go-kart track
The prize for the biggest product goes to this inflatable go-kart track
Even the ice creams were oversize
Even the ice creams were oversize

Finally, what are the chances of two guys wearing the same Pac-Man suits at the same show on the same day at the same stand?

Pac-Men
Pac-Men

That concludes our look at the EAG International show for 2017, but you can take a detailed look around for yourself with our exclusive Pinball News Twenty-Three Minute Tour video of the show.

 

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