Monday, February 8, 2010

Death of the Arcade: Part 2 - Life After Arcades

John Marine | 2/08/2010 08:25:00 PM | |
UPDATES: 5/2/2010 by switching from image links to Link+Image links; Page Break moved.

Some people look for actual arcade units to fill spaces in their houses. Part Two of my arcade-themed blog entry relates to giving you a little inspiration to make your own gaming room. People with lots of money and imagination would love to fill a room with arcade units, pinball machines, slot machines, and more. Some people are more content with gaming packages than actual arcade units. Some want the arcade experience for themselves at home. Either that, or just want the next best thing to arcade-style gaming. I want to try to satisfy both ends of the spectrum with stuff I've found online.

NOTE 1: This blog entry contains links to Amazon products. You are welcome to click on images and links to learn more about each item or even purchase these items if you so choose. Please see "An Important Amazon Note" in my blog's sidebar to see more information on any Amazon items shown.

NOTE 2: Later in this blog entry, I will attempt my boldest blogging stunt to date. Keep reading!

--- Arcade at Home ---
Arcade gaming purists would like nothing more than to enjoy the arcade experience at home. This, however, can be a hassle if you don't have a lot of money or a lot of space in your house. You have to worry about things like putting the units in your house and trying to get everything running. You have to have a good deal of voltage and stuff to make these things work. And unless you're planning on having your own personal arcade collection, you may just want to stick to your favorite arcade game or maybe two of your favorites. I will include basic arcade units as well as some non-game devices.

People who actually own various arcade units can be proud to know you can convert some of them to play other games. The most basic of classic arcade units is a simple arcade unit that can play multiple games via conversion. Some arcade units offer multiple games in one. All you need to do is pick one.

Cabinets That Play Your Home Systems.

One such upright arcade unit that caught my interest was one that I saw at a Sam's Club before. It is called the Arcade Station Efx. It features a number of different controls and allows you to house all of your systems and games. Later in this blog entry, I'll share an image of this cabinet by Quasimoto as well as more information on it.


I went to one arcade room and saw an all-in-one arcade unit. What these devices allow you to do is play multiple games. You could even switch from one game to another when you're done with a previous game. I think the one I was on had as many as 400 arcade-perfect games to choose from! I saw a few that I haven't played or seen before. So on this unit, I played "Bubble Bobble Symphony" on it. My draw to this game was how beautiful the ice level looks. It was just so cool that so many games are all included and that you can play these games old school style.

I think I found out that the 400-in-1 arcade cabinet was this, from Benton Games: Benton Games' 400-in-1 upright cabinet. It's non-commercial, meaning you don't need to deposit coins to play or continue playing.

Pinball Machines.

I'll be honest... I was never really an arcade machine guy. I won't go around saying that I have so much fun shaking around pinball machines just to get the highest scores. I was just never really excited about pinball games. You have those who love pinball machines, and I'm not hating. Some pinball machines have lovely TV displays to accompany the action.

Sports Arcade Machines.

For the most part, I'll be talking about some of those basketball games. You may have seen them- especially the basketball ones. You have a certain amount of time to shoot as many points as possible. Basketballs will be available to you and can be used until time expires. This is where you can get lots of tickets from the real family fun centers. I love football, but I've always loved playing basketball. I was never really good at shooting hoops, though. Some of these basketball arcade units aren't of too much help to my hoops game. Even a 6'0" guy like myself can't go up and slam dunk the basketball. I lack a real vertical leap (among other things)


Thees always are fun to play. You usually have a maximum of ten balls. All you have to do is roll the ball up the hill and let the ball land in a certain hole. The center hole delivers the most points, and you may even have extended play for reaching a certain number of points. The most I ever scored in one speedball session was 23,000 points.

Air Hockey and Others.

I don't really play any other kind of non-electronic games. I've never played air hockey, but I have played pool a lot of times. Some game rooms have pool tables. This was back in my days at Lamar University, where I could enjoy pool at the Student Center. Some game rooms may even have jukeboxes, but I won't discuss them here.

--- Game Room Arcade Units and Games on Amazon ---
NOTE: This blog entry contains links to Amazon products. You are welcome to click on images and links to learn more about each item or even purchase these items if you so choose. Please see "An Important Amazon Note" in my blog's sidebar to see more information on any Amazon items shown.

That bold blogging stunt? I'm actually going to feature some arcade units that I found on Amazon, and this blog entry features the most expensive stuff I've discussed. This is to show that you can actually find certain arcade units on there had you the money. I guess I came up with this section for those looking to make their own game room or look for an arcade system [through Amazon] to spice up your home or business. I can explain only so much about these units. It is recommended you click on these images and links in this section to learn a lot more about these cabinets and devices than what I can explain here. So check out these units I saw on Amazon...

First off, let me talk about one system I briefly touched on earlier:

Arcade Station EFX
^ from; to purchase or learn more about this, click on the image below:

^ As promised, here is the Arcade Station Efx from Quasimoto. This was the cabinet I saw at a Sam's Club before. This thing is all about old school-style gaming. It's a cabinet alternative to sitting down somewhere and gaming away. There's a lot more to this thing than meets the eye. Check it out by clicking on the image.

Let's talk about the cabinets I've labeled as all-in-ones. Here's one below:

All-in-One Examples.

(click on each image or link to learn more about the items)

^ Think of this arcade unit as a computer within an arcade unit... almost literally. It comes bundled with a PC unit boasting 160 GB of memory with a Windows XP interface. You can play some of your favorite arcade and pinball games on this thing. It can even run almost any Windows-compatible games or programs. It even has a high-definition monitor, a 2.5 GHz processor, an nVidia graphics card, and a DVD drive. If you have a racing wheel (like the Logitech Driving Force GT), you can play racing games with it along with the steering wheel support. It has a bunch of buttons as well as a trackball. I recommend you read more about this item to see all that it has to offer.

^ This is another such device from the same company that made the previous item I showcased, only that this this package doesn't come with its own monitor. It also features a not-as-powerful PC package to this. This can be connected to any device that has an S-Video cable to it (including your PC monitor). Click on the image to learn a LOT more about this package.

^ This is another all-in-one relevant to all-in-one arcade units. This one supposedly has over 80 classic games within.

^ This is one more all-in-one with 200+ games. I only see one coin slot, so I don't know if you can quickly have two people join in for arcade gaming. You can learn more about X-Arcade by visiting their website.

Proper Arcade Units.

These are more of exact games. Have a look at some of the items here if you're trying to build your own game room or just to get one classic arcade unit. Click on each image or link to learn more about the items I'll discuss in this section.

^ This is a package I've seen before. It features two classics- Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Spend a good deal of time (and money) on these two classics. Nostalgia guaranteed! Two versions are available, both in coin-operated and non-coin-operated

^ I've only seen a few cocktails in my arcade experience, and I don't think I remember a cocktail table with any Pac-Man. This one includes Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga as part of the "Class of 1981" package.

^ If you haven't the space in your room for a dedicated cabinet, this may be a better alternative. This is a small cabinet that you could probably play (the name does say countertop) on a table, or anywhere you're able to easily be able to stand up (or sit down) and play.

^ I'm not crazy about rock music, but you probably are. Should be every bit as fun as playing this on a home console. You have to pay to rock with this thing.

Now for some racing. Have a look at this...

...and this...

^ They are from the "Fast and Furious" series of games from Raw Thrills. I've only played the first "Fast and Furious" game (not the Drift one), which would later be ported to the Wii as "Cruis'n." These are two nice arcade games for the speed freak in you. Do you prefer four wheels or two?

Pinball Machines.

Balls of steel. Again, I mentioned that I'm not really into pinball machines. You probably are, so check out these newer pinball machines I found on Amazon if you're looking to start a pinball machine collection:

^ Forget rubber balls, try pinball balls! This is the pinball machine for the basketball fan.

^ This is a modern pinball machine for you Batman fans, and it's made by the same company that made the other pinball machine I featured earlier.

Arcade Sports and Games.

These are sports games that you can play for fun, or just to practice your sports skills.

^ This is good for testing your shooting touch. That is, when you don't have the time to hit the court. Challenge that guy (or that girl) who says you can't hit a single basket even in your sleep. Even better is that you can pick graphics for it in the colors of your favorite NBA team. I'm a Houston Rockets fan, so if I wanted my own, I'd have it with Houston Rockets colors.

^ You may never play in a World Cup game. But if you wanted to feel like you're a World Cup star, this game is worth a look. Good luck being the next football (as in soccer) star!

NFL 2 Minute Drill (link only, I'm sorry)
^ I'm doing this blog entry on the night that Super Bowl XLIV wrapped up. Here's a game that makes you the quarterback without having to get sacked.

^ Table hockey fans unite! This is a one-on-one table good for settling the score between who's the better table hockey player.

^ Remember when I mentioned speedball earlier in this blog post? Well, I think this is the exact speedball game I've played before at a family fun center! It's very cool as all the ball look like snow balls. Play by yourself or challenge up to three others. This is absolutely fun to play. It's just old-fashioned fun here.

^ (Honorable Mention) You're a cool daddy or a hot momma... so why not show it by flashing a few pictures? You sometimes see these photo stations at malls outside of arcade places.

Those then are your options for getting a game room started, or just to add to it. It's just surprising I actually found these on Amazon.

--- Much Less Expensive Alternatives ---
Part of my stunt was in featuring actual cabinets and such that you could actually buy if you had the money (at least from Amazon). Those are the big time machines and such. The ones I'll show below are all very reasonable alternatives if you want a game room experience, but don't want to pay four figures for each.

^ Seventy-five games in one. It's a cheap way to get some arcade thrills. Maybe you aren't getting the best games, but you are getting something enjoyable for almost anyone.

^ I've always hated claw games. I could never latch on to anything properly. Want to stress yourself getting the cool prizes? Try your luck with this game!

^ Much less expensive than the Hoops Fever thing, this is a way to shoot some hoops. This thing is very adaptable and flexible. Not a bad way to shoot some hoops with a few toy basketballs.

^ This is very popular and not really expensive to enjoy five classic Namco titles.

So these are among many things to help you to build a little game room.

--- Final Thoughts ---
I am really compelled at just how much people are willing to bring the arcade experience home. I am also appreciative at just how many people actually value and appreciate arcades as a piece of gaming history. Arcades SHOULD be highly regarded as pieces of gaming history. Trust me- there's nothing like going to the arcades. You are in a place with other people looking to have gaming fun as you are. Maybe you get fortunate and make some new friends through gaming. Maybe you get to meet other people. But still, there's nothing like arcades.

Actual arcade units, however, can be pretty rough if you don't know what you're doing. So make sure to look around online for resources to help you build your own game cabinet, or anything else within the realm of arcades. Arcades are very much alive and well in Japan. This book I skimmed across on Amazon tells more on arcades in Japan:

I took a bold route and showcased really expensive stuff in my blog entry (which was my "bold stunt"). I usually showcase items to help prove points, give you examples of topics and concepts I mention, and things like that. Of course, you are free to click on the Amazon links and pictures and learn more about (and even order) items. At least from the Amazon material I've posted, you could actually buy this stuff if you had the money. All of my material is of my own. I don't try to do anything to try to spam anyone. I blog because I love blogging and want to offer my mind on a variety of things. To give back to readers, I offer up these Amazon links to help you all enjoy some of the content I mention (even if briefly). You don't have to visit these links, but I think if you appreciate my work, please feel free to show your support through these Amazon links. Visit my Amazon Store also (it's in the sidebar and at in the CSS tabs in this blog's header). I hope I've earned your trust as you've read this blog entry and all of my others. I am completely genuine and real in all of my work. So thanks again for reading!

Thanks to everyone for reading my latest blog entries! I hope I've given some insight towards keeping the arcade spirit alive and maybe even helping you to have your own arcade experience at home or at your business. We should be able to keep up arcades for as long as possible. Even if they've been dead and phased out to most people, they still have played a significant role in gaming history. Many old school gamers know that there's nothing like playing an old arcade game. You were around people who loved games as much as you do. You wanted to enjoy your experience all the further. The arcade was the best place to do it. Nowadays, people make their own arcade-style units. Ask true racing game types, and you'll know there are LOTS of people who make their own units to house their steering wheels and even to have a nice little seat for racing. Arcades are pretty much dead in the United States, but I surely wish they wouldn't be completely forgotten and left for dead as most people like to do.

Want to build your own arcade sanctuary? Here are some online resources for you:

* Build A Home Arcade Machine
* Dream Arcades
* Build Your Own Arcade Machine - Plans, Designs & Guide

More arcade goodness can be found in this widget I've provided:

Thank you for reading! Long live the arcade! You can re-read Part 1 here: Death of the Arcade: Part 1- Rise and Fall.

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