Top Arcade Machines for Home and Office
The top arcade machines available to buy for your home, games room or business. Help on deciding which one is right for you with pros and cons for each!
The Family Machine
Our choice for the family machine goes to the Arcade1up range.
These cheap, affordable machines sprang up in supermarkets and toy stores before Christmas last year. They look great and each cabinet features detailed replica graphics based on original artwork, even down to the stone effect on the Streetfighter II arcade machine. Each cabinet features around three games of a similar genre or variation and they have quite the range available. Rampage and Pac Man are the most popular arcade machines and they even recently added a stunning Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles arcade machine.
They have gone down quite heavily in price since their release but are still top arcade machines in terms of quality. The main criticism was that they were too small (3/4 of the size of an original cabinet) and this put me and a lot of people off. In response, Arcade1up created a riser that you could buy separately, bringing the machines up to a standard height. Since then criticism has all but vanished.
PRO – Awesome artwork. Small size can be an advantage for playing on it with kids. Great price.
CON – Small size if playing with adults but this can be amended with the riser. Limited range of games on each machine, though a deluxe 12 games in one is now available. Also does not have a coin slot if you are using it for commercial purposes.
So my first Arcade machine was actually one of these table type arcade cabs. My mother won it on a gameshow (true story for another time) and it was like a dream come true. It had a whole host of games bundled in, a crystal clear screen and heavy glass top. Brilliant. Then I came home one day and she had sold it.
These machines are unbeatable for social situations. The heavy glass top means you can put drinks on it, not worry about spilling beer, you can play and have a chat. Get a few stools around and it will be great in a games room, bar or as a coffee table.
The downside is that a lot of them have sticks on opposing sides of the table which means a lot of two player games are rendered useless (Unless you enjoy upside down gaming). The really low position of the joysticks and buttons is also something to consider if you are using it for serious gaming.
Also, they are really expensive. We have added one above that we feel has the best stick positioning to price ratio.
PRO – Looks amazing. Heavy duty top. Ideal for a bar or commercial property.
CON – Low position of the sticks, which can often be on opposite sides. Price.
The Serious Gamer
This is our main pick. A full size cabinet with a Pandoras Box 5S.
My home cabinet is a renovated Neo Geo cabinet with the Pandora 5S in. It has 1300 games, of which Paperboy, Spiderman arcade and some of the Mortal Kombat series are the only ones really missing. Everything else you could want is there, including multiple versions of Street Fighter, Metal Slug and a huge SNK back catalogue.
The downside is obviously the size. A full cab will take up a lot of room in your pad. If space is an issue, maybe go for a desktop or you can get the Pandora ready to hook up to your T.V. with controls included. However, the visual impact of having a cabinet clad in your favourite artwork can not be underestimated. In our apartment we go for a pop art look anyway and it is a real centre piece.
So this gives you another two options. Buy the full cabinet with everything in. We have recommended one on our affiliate link below. Expensive but solid, no hassle.
Or go rogue, buy the Pandora, build the cabinet yourself (there are lots of kits online for this but we have not tested any as of yet) and add your own artwork. Do it!
PRO – Looks outstanding. Huge game list.
CON – Size. Price.
The Space Saver
Bartop arcade machines are essentially a smaller scale arcade machine. They have games great reproductions of the original artwork, good controls and look really neat and tidy. They can be tucked away or shelved if you are tight on room.
The downside is that being small, they only have one controller. Even if it had two I can really imagine wrenching this onto the floor when playing certain games. I have tested a Pac Man one which was fine, but I know that me and a mate, 6 beers in on a decent Street Fighter arcade machine of this size would tear it to shreds.
We have chosen the Barbella tabletop as a recommendation as it comes with the Pandora Box 5S 1388 games included. If not the Arcade1up range do tabletops that include a limited game range but look stunning (check out the Space invaders below)
PRO – Save space. Look Good.
CON – I would destroy it. Only one player.
Feel free to post any questions below and we will try our best to help you out or answer!