YOUR FAVORITE GAMES ARE BACK!
Arcade1Up machines stand at just under 4ft, each housing different classic arcade games, which come with immersive full-color hi-resolution displays and sounds. The cabinets also resemble the classic arcade joystick and button configuration you remember. Additional add-ons include a stool and riser– fully equipping users for endless hours of gaming!
The only home arcade machines with officially licensed cabinet artwork and game play, with exclusive controls for every game.
It was an unplanned trip to Walmart when I stumbled across a familiar piece of toy sitting in the middle of an aisle – a retro-arcade system! Looking further down the aisle, I see many of these mini-arcades lined up and it was then I knew I had to get one!
Fast forward two weeks later (after extensive research), I am now the owner of several Arcade1Up cabinets and will provide my thoughts and feedback. Hopefully, it will give you enough information to decide if these retro-arcade systems worth it.
This review will solely focus on just the Arcade1Up cabinets version.
Arcade1Up does make other models such as tables arcades and counter top arcades which is NOT part of this review.
These 3/4-scale replica arcade cabinets have been out since 2018 and Tastemakers have been releasing a handful of emulated games in waves. Approximately 5-6 gaming cabinets a year and each wave appears to have come with improvements. Prices for these Arcade1Up cabinets can range anywhere from $299 to $499.
The first wave or generation, included the ’70s and ’80s classics from companies like Namco (Pac-Man, Galaga), Midway (Rampage, Defender), and Atari (Asteroids, Tempest). Following with the ’90s with Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat etc.,
During these times, consumers were complaining of the control panel stickers fading just from basic use, and questions regarding the low-grade LCD screens. Since the first wave, Tastemakers seemed to have learned from their mistakes, and improved each generation of the Arcade1Up cabinets. Based on the recent cabinets such as the TMNT and Marvel version, you will find improved buttons, speakers are now mounted right under the marquee, improved screens and will come with the plastic protectors to name a few. Now let’s get started with my personal review having own them for a few months now.
The first thing you’ll notice is the boxes are pretty bulky. It would fit in the standard sedan car’s backseat almost touching both doors end-to-end.
The box is also not too heavy, approximately 47.75” x 23.75” x 6.75” and weighs 58.5 pounds.
The extra packaging clear tape on the edges of the box secures the contents inside.
The parts are saran wrapped and depending on the cabinet, you may find extra empty boxes to help protect damage to the gaming system.
There’s also a small bag of extras (screws etc.,) should you lose or missing any of those parts.
Overall, I was impressed with the packaging.
I think Arcade1Up has done a great job keeping majority of the cabinet assembly simple and consistent. If you have assembled any IKEA furniture before, you should have no trouble putting together these arcade systems. For each of the arcade, it took about 30 minutes to complete the assembly.
When opening up the box you will find all the parts/bags are labeled very clearly which makes the instructions are pretty simple to follow.
Again, Arcade1up has done an great job making assembling these machines simple. If you have done one, putting together another Arcade1up cabinet should be pretty easy.
How accurate are the Arcade1Up cabinets compared to the real arcade cabinets? I’ll base it on the 3 criteria: Appearance, Feel and Play Experience
AppearanceThere’s no doubt the Arcade1Up machines look great. The only thing that stands” in the way of them looking like the original cabinets is the height and overall size. The Arcade1up cabinets is 3/4 the size of the real arcade cabinets and only 45.8″ tall. That is just a little below 4 feet. With the machines being smaller, this also means the control panel will have less room for playing. There are the Arcade1Up risers are available for about $45 USD, which raises the arcade cabinet by 1 foot. For most folks, this is good enough. Though I think it may be a little short for anyone taller than 6 ft. I personally feel for adults, this is a MUST have unless you plan to have a stool or sit during game play. The standard Arcade1Up risers however, are not the most astethically pleasing being in all black and that can be a big contrast to the actual gaming cabinet. Luckily, there are custom Arcade1Up risers that will match the cabinet itself. Risers are also very easy to install within 15-20 mins.
FeelLet’s start off by knowing that the manufacturers of these Arcade1Up cabinets have been improving them over time. There have been improvements within each wave (generation) of their cabinet releases.
Control PanelThe cabinets are made with the right intentions, but I believe they joystick and buttons are half-way like the real-size arcade machines. The movement of the joystick are similar but most of them come with ball tops, and can be replaced with a the upgraded bat type ones for about $10. The buttons are what you would expect, but doesn’t have that extra spring when tapping on them like the real arcades.
The 3/4 size arcade replica has its disadvantages. There may be more room desired on the control board. It has not caused me too much problems, but it would have been nice to have more playing room especially with bigger people and you’re rubbing elbows while playing.
I will have to admit that it’s pretty darn cool to have an arcade system in your house. I have had guests over during parties and it’s always a hit. Especially with my friends growing up in the 70’s and 80’s. These retro systems are also popular with kids as I spend countless hours with my own and their friends playing.
In the more recent machines, Arcade1Up stepped it up by introducing the lighted marquee which first appeared for the Costco version of Mortal Kombat to give the absolute arcade feeling.
The game play is as real as it gets. The control is responsive, sound is loud (with volume control), screen displays are vibrant and the cabinet artwork are magnificent.
Some may be concern with the weight of the cabinet being about 60 pounds, I personally haven’t had any issues with the kids rough house playing on them. Once in a while the cabinets will shift due to the kids being aggressive. One option is to put some weights inside since the cabinets are bare inside.
I have to admit, these Arcade1up cabinets are not cheap. Regular price starting at $299 to $499 (StarWars).
I personally think they are a bit pricey based on a few factors:
- The cabinets are likely to have 2 to 4 games only.
- The control panel and joystick aren’t of the best quality, but are decent enough for some hours of game play
- The screens, I wish were bigger instead of 17″, perhaps 19″ or 21″. The way the expanded the TMNT control panel for 4 players, it would have been nice to offer these two sizes for consumers.
- To get the full experience, a riser ($45-50) would be required
- Customer service can improve (see below for more info)
Now playing the advocate side, the price would be attractive based on the following factors:
- The retro-machines are priceless allowing you to relive the past
- You cannot find any arcade today for this price range
- The size and weight is manageable for the home
- An attraction for guests when having them over
With all this being said, the best time to get them would be during the holidays or check at your local stores as they may looking to clear house and may have them on clearance once in a while. I have seen them as low as $100.
I gave the price value a 4 out of 5 stars because it’s the first of its kind in the market. addicting and nostalgia are two words that can describe the Arcade1Up cabinets at best. While it is expensive, many folks are still forking out $299 to at least own 1 of them. Keep in mind, this is about the same price as the Xbox and Playstation.
I know there are a lot of complaints regarding Arcade1Up’s custome service. There’s customer service phone number to call. Everything is handled through email/portal on their website. At the very beginning when the cabinets were released, response time was very long and based on my experience and reading comments from others, it has improved a bit. Until there is a customer service phone number, they will continue to suffer and keep folks from fully investing into their product. I personally have plans to own 8 to 12 total machines for my gaming room and will sit tight to see where the company goes in the near future. I’ll keep this article updated once I have a chance to interact with their Customer Service team.
I am a happy customer so far and very excited for what the future holds for Arcade1Up. I think more gaming selection will open new doors for them. I will come back and update my review as I make new purchases or have any more inputs. As of now, my reviews are based on my experiences having owned TMNT, Streetfighter, Rampage and the Final Fight cabinets. I have also played the Pacman cabinet at my local Walmart.
Check out this other article! How to drill holes for the Arcade1up control panel plastic protector.
Any feedback or comments, I’d like to hear from you below!