Arcades, once a staple of malls and boardwalks, are quickly becoming endangered. To some, this is not a big deal, but for those of us who grew up with the arcade atmosphere and aesthetic as a prevalent source of joy in our lives – it is a major cause for concern. Sadly, the continued downfall of the mall arcade seems inevitable, despite our protests. But now, thanks to Arcade1Up, you can recreate that magic at home.
You’d be hard pressed to find a gaming enthusiast who hasn’t dreamt of owning an arcade machine. In most cases these dreams were crushed when the reality of what owning a legit machine meant: they’re expensive, heavy and perhaps most importantly – prone to failure. Many were not able to justify the cost and those that could may not have had the ability to transport the machine. Even worse, those that did purchase arcades quickly learned that many require a degree of tech savviness to maintain that they were not aware, or indeed capable, of. Sure, these factors did not always come in to play but for many these worries were enough to keep their dreams at bay.
Along came Arcade1Up, a company by Tastemakers LLC, which hit the market this Fall and have been making a large splash at retailers like Wal-Mart. Their promise? A home arcade solution that happens to not only be affordable but also, and perhaps most importantly, manageable. Weighing in at a mere 63 pounds, these machines can be purchased by nearly anyone and taken home in a car the same day.
While not original size, these machines still stand right around four-foot, or five-foot with the riser (sold separately). The company describes their arcade cabinets as being 3/4th the size of an original arcade.
There are several Arcade1Up machines for sale with the promise of more next year. Each machine boasts authentic artwork and game play. While each arcade cabinet features only one game’s artwork, the machines contain anywhere from two to twelve games each.
Arcade machines available include:
Rampage: Rampage, Gauntlet, Joust and Defender.
Street Fighter II: Street Fight II Championship Edition, Super Street Fighter II Turbo and Super Street Fighter II: The New Challengers.
Centipede: Centipede, Missile Command, Crystal Castles and Millipede.
Asteroids: Asteroids, Major Havoc, Lunar Landing and Tempest.
Pac-Man (Wal-Mart Exclusive): Pac-Man and Pac-Man Plus
Galaga (Wal-Mart Exclusive): Galaga and Galaxian
Final Fight (Coming Spring 2019): Final Fight, Ghosts N Goblins, 1944 The Loop Master and Strider
12 In 1 (Best Buy/Kohls/ETC Exclusive): Liberator, Gravitar, Asteroids Deluxe, Quantum, Centipede, Millipede, Missile Command, Crystal Castle, Asteroids, Tempest, Major Havoc and Lunar Landing.
I’d be remiss if I ignored the fact that the online community has been vocal about the quality of these machines. While for the MSRP of $299 there has been a certain amount of leeway the company was given by consumers – as most were not expecting an arcade equal to the mall originals – but customers were expecting to be able to set up their machine and dive right in. For many though, that has not been the case.
Numerous complaints of paint chipping off the control board after minimal play arose, as well as broken joysticks, glitched game boards, faulty LCD screens and various other complaints over scratches and dents have arisen. Understandably some consumers are angry, although many remain hopeful for the company’s future and consider the downfalls as growing pains associated with the relatively new status of the company.
To their credit, Arcade1Up has been very vocal in both their official pages and unofficial fan pages/Reddit communities about the arcades problems and have taken great steps to fix them. Customer service can be reached via telephone and through their website. New artwork and control panel protectors have been shipping out to those who request them, while game board glitches have been acknowledged and repaired, with new boards being shipped to all those effected. The transparency of Arcade1Up and their reaction to consumers has shown they are aware of customers concerns and are actively working to correct their mistakes.
For now, many are happy with the ability to recreate a home arcade in their own personal space and the problems that have come along with their purchases have been but minor missteps by a company who is finally allowing them to live out their dreams. If Arcade1Up continues to interact and listen to their fans, then I trust we will see much more of them in the future.
Do you own an Arcade1Up machine? If so, what are your opinions on the product? What machines would you like to see released next?
Richard Allen is a freelance writer and contributing editor for various publications. When he’s not writing about video games on FanFest.com you can find him on Broadway World or in Graffiti Magazine. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can visit his website at facebook.com/richardallenwrites