5 Things To Consider When Buying An Arcade Machine

  • Posted on 30 Oct 08:00
  • By Jack England

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An arcade machine in your home is the quintessential mark of being a true gaming enthusiast. That’s why owning one is a dream come true for many gamers, even those not born during the heyday of arcades.

Fortunately, even though penny arcades may be a thing of the past, machines are still readily available for purchase. However, we’ll be the first to admit, that compared to consoles they aren’t cheap.

Every purchase is an investment, so to get every bit of your money’s worth, you need to know exactly what you want before hitting Start on a machine. Here are a few factors to consider to help you decide.

 

The Price Tag

On average, fully-assembled arcade machines cost an average of roughly £1,400. But you can knock down or pile onto that bill based on the type of machine you’re looking to get. For instance, a cocktail-style arcade table costs £699, but an upright cabinet usually costs £900 or higher.

Just like modern gadgets, hardware specs will also heavily dictate pricing. For instance, our 32-inch 1080p Back to the Future-inspired “Hydra” machine costs £1,849. It’s larger sibling–the “Typhon”–packs a 43-inch, 4K-resolution screen and costs £2,249. Illuminating the control panel with an RGB under glow costs an additional £49.

Prices are enough to make anyone, even those with plenty of coins, hesitate. That’s why another factor to consider while canvassing machines are financing options. For instance, at Bitcade, we offer payment plans that let you pay off your balance over a set number of months, with zero interest.

Cabinet Style

Upright machines are the epitome of video gaming cabinets. However, they actually come in many shapes and types. And we’re not only talking about cabinets fitted with light guns or racing peripherals. Aside from upright arcades, you can also choose between sit-down, bartop-style, and candy cabinets. Some even come in unique shapes, like barrels.

Sit-down arcade cabinets, as they’re named, are squat machines that let you play whilst sitting down. These are usually great for co-operative gaming, with most offering split-screen capabilities. The machines also double as tables and are equipped with a thick, protective covering so you can freely nosh while you play.

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Play or snack? Why not both? (Source: Arcade Controls)

Bartop-style arcades are for those who are working with limited floor space. These look like the top half of an upright cabinet and are less than 100cm tall. This compact machine works great for packed spaces like pubs or barcades.

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Bar top cabinets: About half as small yet no less fun (Source: Instructables)

Candy cabinets–named for their trademark smooth, glossy finish–were originally popularised by Japanese arcade pioneers Sega, SNK, and Taito in the 90s. With their distinctive retro housing and ability to play both horizontal and vertical games, “candy cabs” are still largely popular with collectors. And in Japan, where you can find rows upon rows of the machines in any arcade.

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Looks as sweet as candy, and just about as effective at spending your change (Source: Nintendo Life)

Games Loaded Onto It

The arcade machines of yore used system boards the size of a platter to play a single game. Thankfully, technology has taken us well past that point. Modern arcade machines can play thousands of games, thanks to emulators like MAME that have freed games from the physical prison of chips.

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The beautiful HyperSpin interface (Source: Retro Games Addict)

The game board a machine runs on will also determine how far you can customise or upgrade it in the future. For instance, a Windows-based HyperSpin board can be kitted out with fun peripherals like trackballs and light guns. Retropie is more beginner-friendly, while still allowing you to customise the artwork of each ROM you’re emulating.

Aesthetic Appeal

The Golden Era of arcade gaming is a treasure trove of iconic characters and neon-bright graphics. So unlike today, where your only choice is between a console that looks like a humidifier or one that looks like a shoebox, would-be arcade cabinet owners have a lot more variety to choose from.

For questions regarding deliver and installation of arcade cabinets from Bitcade, check out our Arcade Buyer’s FAQ on our product pages. Or better yet, drop us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as humanly possible.

 

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If you don’t include every character, then what’s the point? (Source: Bitcade)

And by a lot, we mean near limitless. From the art and lighting on the marquee to the colour of your joysticks, everything is customisable, even if machines might play the same games. That means you can easily keep up with the theme of your game room or barcade. You can opt for a cabinet that has Marvel and Capcom characters splashed across nearly every centimetre of it or a sleek, minimalist cabinet–the choice is yours.

Logistics, Logistics, Logistics

Imagine this–you buy an arcade machine and on the day it arrives you find out that it doesn’t quite fit into the nook you saved for it. The first thing you should do after deciding to buy a machine is to measure your floor space.

You’ll also want to plan out how you’re actually going to get the machine into your home. Before hitting checkout, check the store’s delivery policies. A store may only deliver until the kerb, in which case you may want to enlist the help of a buddy come delivery day, especially if you live in a high-rise flat.