I just read on Niche Gamer that Capcom European Store has preorders open on a plug 'n play system with 16 of their full blown arcade games built into it. It’s basically an arcade control panel style emulation box that is made to look like their logo.
I have kind of mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, it looks like a pretty nice offering for Capcom fans, which is why I am posting about it here, but on the other, I am concerned about the shape of it, since it looks like they couldn’t decide if they wanted to have the device match the outline of their logo or have a more logical ovular shape. I would’ve preferred the whole thing to be a an oval, 'cause the uneven edges might get a little awkward for player 2.
I’m not sure how to rate the price of it. It costs 230 euros. Now if it looked like a real arcade arcade panel like the Hori VLX, then that may have easily justified the cost, even without any other hardware but it doesn’t. It’s not like this is a full blown C.P.S. changer with original arcade P.C.Bs… I personally think the thing to possibly be the most excited about is the list of games, but this is the fewest I’ve seen yet on these first party plug 'n play type systems, at only 16. S.N.K. gave us $40, but then again, most of these devices are just dinky little toys and the only thing that comes close is those 3/4 scale arcade 1up cabinets.
I’m not sure what other options there are to play Darkstalkers there are in particular though, and there are also a few games I don’t really recognize. Many of the games have been made available to us in various compilations before too, although I’m not too sure about Darkstalkers and there are a few other games I don’t recognize. The full games list is as follows:
1944: The Loop Master
Alien vs. Predator
Capcom Sports Club
Cyberbots: Fullmetal Madness
Darkstalkers: The Night Warriors
Ghouls ‘n Ghosts
Mega Man: The Power Battle
Street Fighter II: Hyper Fighting
Super Puzzle Fighter II: Turbo
It also has real Sanwa parts, and enough of them for two players, and it is clearly designed to be a collector’s item, which almost certainly means it will be coming directly from Capcom.
I figure you’re the capcom experts, so what do you folk have any thoughts on this item? Is this the real deal or a bust?
The only game on the list that has NEVER seen the light of day outside of the original CPS2 arcade is Alien vs Predator. Armored Warriors just recently got released as part of Capcom’s Belt Action (Capcom’s Beat 'em up Bundle) for modern consoles. The rest have been released on various consoles over the years in the past.
I feel that it’s pricey for what it is, considering it’s a couple of sticks to an emulator with ROMs, essentially. Mind you, I’m not particularly crazy about the “CAPCOM” logo as a joystick, so take that as a grain of salt.
Supposedly they’re using Final Burn Alpha as an emulator in there, so there’s some good news at least.
All that being said, I have little interest in this bundle; CPS2 AvP may be my favorite beat’em up of all time, but since I have the CPS2 arcade board, I already have my grail version of the game.
Yeah, I know about those units AlphaCharlie, but I hadn’t wanted to expressly mention that option since I suspect that the producers of those things do not hold the distribution rights (please correct me if I’m wrong by the way). If we care about the legal and ethical consequences of that, then the game count may as well be zero, and if we don’t then the game count is largely insubstantial anyway, and it becomes strictly a matter of hardware valuation of these products as 2p control panels. I doubt those are major brand name arcade parts, so replacing the two joysticks and the six main buttons on that unit would push costs at least 76 bucks extra, accounting for much of the difference in value. However for fairness’s sake, those boxes are still cheaper than the home arcade system by about 50 U.S. dollars, and look better designed simply by virtue of being an ordinary box, which isn’t even to mention with the mean lookin’ Ryu and the analogue video output options allowing for easier use with a C.R.T.
So considering that FreedomGundam informed me that all but of one of the games have home versions already, I think that Darksaul’s right. How accurate and responsive the games are in comparison to the other home versions is probably the main value determinant here. It’s certainly not offering good game count to dollar value here, even in comparison to the classic edition consoles and Capcom probably could’ve given us more for this price.
However, I am assuming that those home versions are relatively easy to get, since Capcom is one of the top five most prolific rereleasers, alongside Namco, Sega, S.N.K. and Square-Enix (or Atari if we you want to keep it strictly arcade). As a matter of fact, right now the Playstation Classic has Puzzle Fighter II on it, and we have a variety of options for anybody who wants to play Street Fighter II presently on the market. I mean, there are probably at least half a dozen ways to play it that you can buy brand new right now.
That naturally leads into the question of just what are the best home versions of these games are, and just how accurate are they? I’m guessing a Playstation 2 with the Capcom Classics Collections Volume 1 and 2, alongside the Darkstalkers collection and maybe a pair of Namco NPC-102 joysticks would be much more practical, although it can be hard to find the namco joysticks at a good price.
Yeah, I’m not sure how Capcom came to the idea that their logo would make a good joystick design. It’s not so much that I dislike Capcom’s logo, but it seems better suited as a decorative item to hang on the wall than a control panel/
I feel like if they were going to use one of their logos, they should have at least chosen one with a long even edge facing the players such as this:
However to frank, the logo design was probably a misstep for something like this altogether. Everybody else in the plug 'n play market is making miniaturized versions of their video game systems, and if we’re being honest, a blue 'n yellow C.P.S. II would look absolutely great:
Granted, the difficulty is that those were put in third party candy cabs., so it’s difficult to come up with a matching controller that capcom owns outright. A color matched C.P. changer joystick is the best I can imagine in that regard, but I wouldn’t be too excited for the angled design or the buttons.
The more I think about it, the more I wish Capcom just remade the CP changer hardware. I think many of us would’ve paid even more for that, although surely the original hardware wouldn’t be easy to reproduce this far along in time, and even if it is doable it probably wouldn’t have be much of a commercial success, except perhaps if it was one of those impossible to obtain limited edition runs.
I don’t mind the idea itself. The “logo” look definitely gets points for originality and uniqueness. No complaints there. Mainly i’m concerned about the ergonomics. Sticks should have a certain shape to them to be comfortable during long play sessions, like that downward “slant”. So you’re wrists won’t hate you.
This thing looks completely flat on top. I wonder how comfortable it is to play on.
I don’t know how they get away with it in China, so it must be “okay” over there to an extent. That company, 3A Games, has been around for quite a while with their Pandora Boxes. However, such a product could never be legally, fully licensed over here. Not with THAT number of games. Sites like aliexpress and e-bay sellers import them from China.
As for the parts used? They are “bao lian” brand and are exact bootleg copies of Sanwa parts. They’re quite decent and hold up nicely. Also a snap to replace with the real thing, if you felt like spending the money. With my Pandora box, i just replaced the 1P side with all Sanwa, and left the 2p side alone.
So they’re telling budding customers it uses FBA which is not kool as the team don’t want their sheeet sold for commercial use. Unless Capcom got with the FBA team and agreed some kind of deal? Doubtful but would be hella easy to hack later on.
Hmm, now that I look into it a little deeper, there’s a funny thing about that FreedomGundam: It looks like they tried to accquire a license from a member of the team who couldn’t have possibly had the authority to do so. The facts are a little complicated to explain, but Modern Vintage Gamer explained the situation reasonably well on youtube in the video Capcom Home Arcade Is Illegally Using a Non-Commercial Emulator. Unlike him, I think it looks like they just made a mistake 'cause the situation is complicated.
To make a long story short, the terms of these sorts of inheritable licenses are basically impossible to relicense unless everybody who ever worked on the software is on board, and even if you could persuade both the M.A.M.E. and F.B.A. teams to license it, the person who originally forked the original Final Burn off of M.A.M.E., Dave, abandoned the project, and the present version of F.B.A. is ultimately derived from Dave’s work you couldn’t possibly relicense F.B.A. without Dave’s assent.
Yeah, that’s more or less much how I feel about it too. I mean I would’ve preferred another stylization, but they do get points for originality and it’s moreso the ergonomics that concern me than the look of it.
Oh, I haven’t really heard much about them before. If the parts are as good as you seem to suggest, not only does it bring the value proposition up, but they look like a interesting brand, at least for side projects 'cause the parts seem much more affordable than the leading brands.
Oh and one last thing to add before I go is a link to the Capcom Home Arcade main page. It might be useful for people trying to find vendors in other regions, and let us know if Capcom stops advertising F.B.A. as the packaged emulator and decide to use something made in-house, as they probably should.
Money does talk, and you be surprised what people would say if you asked nicely.
If that is true, then the FBA people might not have a case to take to court.
And even if the FBA people have a case, MAME might not.
Even if Capcom is wrong, who has the actual legal muscle to go after Capcom?
You need alot of money for this kind of battle, and I doubt the MAME folks has that kind of Cash, nether would the FBA people. If they are smart they settle out of court for a large charitable donation.
Anyone curious to try out a Pandora Box right now, for a lot less than this Capcom system and a ton more games, this looks good:
Note- Not an official Pandora Box but, one of the ‘bootlegs’ that uses the older generation Pandora Box hardware & Software. I have one very similar to this and majority of games are emulated nicely, like the CPS 1/2/3 and NeoGeo Library. The stick can also be used as an External controller for something like your PC or Raspberry Pi (thats what the USB ports are for).
As for the controls. Like i said above, they are not Sanwa but decent Baolian knock-offs. I switched out my 1p side for Sanwa but, prior to that, used the stock stick & buttons for a while and they were fine. So don’t think you’ll have to upgrade right away.
Speaking of Baolian, here’s a video i found on their website:
Edit: And yes, that little “Hat” symbol can be found on their sticks & buttons.
Oh hey, that looks somewhat like a knockoff Astro City control panel, which is somewhat interesting, esp. considering how highly priced the Saturn’s HSS-0130 Virtua Stick Pro has become.
If it goes out to market and M.A.M.E. or the F.B.A. alpha team take issue with it then they can probably defend the rights they hold on their original contributions to the project if nothing else.
My point with mentioning Dave is that they can’t relicense on his behalf. Also, there isn’t a legal concept of abandonware, so even if Capcom gave F.B.A. and M.A.M.E. a settlement, then Dave would be within his own rights to sue.
Yeah, it’s expensive but there comes a point where your pockets are just deep enough to manage if there’s merit to your case. I’m pretty sure that Galoob was smaller than Nintendo, that Allocade was smaller than Sega, and that both Connectix and Bleem were much smaller than Sony when they won their respective cases. I know there are a few organizations that have a vested interest in the enforcability of these sorts of inheritable licenses too such as the Free Software Foundation or Creative Commons, so if there’s anything novel about the case, then they might offer some financial aid to help shape favorable precedent.
More importantly though, Capcom should play it smart too. I think paying a few intern code monkeys to write their own C.P.S. emulator, or maybe even reusing one they may have developed for another platform in the past (if compatible), would probably cost less than offering a “large charitable donation” or getting their high-priced lawyers involved.
More importantly though, I don’t think taking the whole “let’s do this whether it’s right or wrong” approach is the right way to go about selling it to the prospective customer. Something that often comes up in these sorts of discussions about these plug 'n play systems is “Why don’t I just use a raspberry pi?” with the implication that somebody could easily just find and download piritical copies of the games to achieve the same effect. The response is something along the lines of that it’s something easy for casual players to use, and while that might be a valid response, I don’t think that’s the market Capcom is targetting by making a product with premium parts at a premium price or advertising use of the F.B.A. emulator.
I just strongly doubt that members of the general public are too deeply concerned about those sorts of things. They’re targeting technically minded people like us, who know what those things are and how to use 'em, and I’m pretty sure that people who know what F.B.A. is know they could at least hypothetically achieve the same practical result for cheaper, especially if they’d bought one or two of the numerous Capcom licensed Madcatz joysticks made since 2009 like many of us had done.
The way I see it there are two main reasons somebody would want to actually buy a compilation of games like this. One is that they really like the look of the Capcom logo, but the other more likely reason is as a show of goodwill and respect towards Capcom’s exclusive rights now that these games are being offered on sale. That second reason seems much more likely to me, but if Capcom wants to retain that market, then they should to do unto others as they would do unto themselves. because otherwise they risk losing customers who respond with at least one of the the two following thoughts:
They won’t buy this product as a matter of principal, since it’s still infringing upon the rights of software developers.
They’ll question why should they do good by Capcom, if Capcom won’t do good by others, and consider that as a justification for pirating Capcom games anyway.
Now I don’t think that second reason is a valid justification for software piracy, since two wrongs don’t make a right. However, that sort of tit for tat response is the way some people do think, and Capcom really doesn’t want to give people yet another reason to pirate their backlog of games, especially considering just how many of their other products might be impacted by this lack of goodwill. The Megaman Legacy collections, The Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection, and the Capcom Belt Action collection mentioned earlier all come to mind, since those sorts of products primarily offer games with a great amount of illicit currency, and hence rely very much on the honor system to have much in the way of value.
If either M.A.M.E. or F.B.A. teams issue a formal statement requesting that Capcom does not ship the product with F.B.A,. then I think it wouldn’t make good business sense for Capcom to do otherwise. Capcom stands much to lose in the court of public opinion here if nothing else, and I doubt there’s enough prospective gain in this product to be worth taking that sort of risk, even if they had nothing to fear from a court of law.
Yes Bleem won against Sony in the court room, but they had to shut down soon after as they where financially bleed dry from all the legal fees, went out of business and Sony ended up hiring former Bleem employees to figure out PS1 support on the PS3.
Nintendo was its own mess, and Nintendo did alot of illegal and shady practices back then. And the legal landscape is much different then.
I see it as Capcom will use FBA anyways, like how the Retron 5 uses stolen emulation code with no legal repercussions. None of the Emu devs had the funds to take Hyperkin to court in the first place.
If Dave wanted to have a case, he first have to go about proving he had copyright on his version of FBA and that all FBA code is derivative of his. So far “as I know” no one successfully defended a Open source license in court. And depending here the hearing would take place, would the court even accept an Open source license as a legally binding contract. Judges tend to scrutinize contracts more when their legality is already questionable. As there no where for anyone to sign or agree to, nor is their a way to “negotiate” the contract.
The other thing Capcom could do is counter sue with their own IP lawsuit, saying that FBA and MAME copied their software from their machines to encourage piracy. I know and you know Emulation in it self isn’t piracy, but it can be the attack vector Capcom can take to gain leverage. Capcom’s other angle they could take is, oh the software is given away for free, and we took advantage of it. That “We did our due diligence to contact them for rights and we got one of their agents to agree”.
Hell Sony stole the emulator that they used for the PS1 Classic. Emu Devs could try to fight it, but it’s already too late. These kind of battles can take years to fight, and it bankrupted Bleem in the process. The Emu devs are better off settling out of court for a exclusive license that reflects nothing of the original open source license.