Retro gaming is big business. Whether it’s high-end, high-priced retro handhelds or mini arcade cabinets, there’s a huge audience and companies willing to inspire our nostalgia making mints — and one of the market leaders is now taking things to the next level.
Announced at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, replica arcade creator Arcade1Up With their first ‘Pro Series’ arcade machines, they’ve given their line a bit of a boost – full-sized, full-fat cabinet entertainment for the true hardcore gamer.
This new product line is not a replacement for the existing Arcade1Up product, which has now sold nearly 3 million units, but a new pillar of the company’s product line. It joins the traditional Arcade1Up machine (smaller three-quarter sized cabinets for entertaining), the Junior line (even smaller children’s cabinets), the Infinity gaming table (an electronic table that can play digital board games) and an electronic pinball machine .
The first Pro Series machine officially launched is a recreation of the classic Killer Instinct cabinet from the 90’s. The Pro cabinet was full-sized, with a 19-inch screen, improved overall appearance, and SuzoHapp buttons—a brand of components common in original arcade cabinets at the time, a huge improvement over the generic buttons and joysticks found in the standard A1U machine. Killer Instinct enclosures are available in 8-bit and 16-bit versions of KI, KI2, Battletoads Arcade, and Battletoads. More Pro Series machines will be available throughout 2022.
Three new three-quarter-sized cabinets were also announced at CES, each centered around three companies. One, Bandai Namco, contains 14 games from the publisher’s stables, including Pac-Man. Midway cabinet leads Mortal Kombat with 14 games in total, while Atari cabinet leads Cetipede with 14 games total. We’ve seen these publisher “Legacy” cabinets from Arcade1Up before, but these new 2022 releases have two games each.
Arcade1Up continued to do well for its parent company, Tastemakers, LLC, and quickly became a leading brand in the home console space. Regular VG247 readers will know that I’m an arcade fanatic and own a few original cabinets of my own – but Arcade1Up is one of the few for those who want the ’80s or ’90s in their playroom.
According to reports, the new “Pro Series” cabinets are expected to retail for around $1,000/unit game pointThat puts it in an interesting category – as for that price, you can certainly build an original emulated drive enclosure with a Raspberry Pi or similar – even not far off the cost of buying the original machine. It’s starting to become a complicated equation though – as if the original cabinets could be of higher build quality (after all, they’re designed to survive arcade abuse), but they come with huge ongoing maintenance and delivery costs .
Despite the havoc wreaked by supply chain issues, 2021 has been another interesting year for the home arcade world with plenty of new products and developments. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the upcoming year – I might even pick up one of the full-size cabinets to check the build quality. If I do, I’ll report back. Just don’t tell my partner if I got one.