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 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.
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.
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 newest of the three was Aerosmith which was having its European premiere at the show.
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.
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.
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.
The match sequence is then shown on the Bat Computer, using old-style Nixie tubes for the digits.
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.
The third machine was a 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.
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.
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.
Then there were the larger games with 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.
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.
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?
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.