While modern gaming consoles have evolved, they have also reduced the number of arcade venues. This is driving a new wave of in-home retro gaming arcade machines and consoles. With living spaces becoming smaller and people looking for more convenient ways to enjoy retro gaming at home, here are our top 3 recommendations for bringing the arcade experience home with you.
Bartop Arcade Machines
While many dreams of having an arcade machine at home, for many, it either doesn’t happen due to space or ends up in their garage or stored somewhere like their parents. If you have a man cave with numerous retro arcade machines you’re very fortunate. For those seeking an in-home arcade experience, a bartop arcade machine is a great option. Why? Well, as the name states, a bartop arcade means the bottom section has been removed, so you are left with the top part of the machine, which can then be placed on a bar, desk, bench, table, and so on.
They are quite light at around 30kg and can be moved around the home as needed from the lounge to the kids’ room and even to a friend’s house for some button-mashing retro gaming sessions with street fighters, Mortal Kombat, Galaga, or Pac-Man. Let’s say for example you live in Melbourne; you could easily pack one of these into the car and head to a friend’s house on the other side of Melbourne with ease.
Bartop arcade machines can be powered by Pandora’s box, Raspberry PI, or even a small form factor PC. So, you can go all out or pull back if you have a smaller budget.
Unlike a classic arcade machine that comes with 1 fixed game, these newer multicade machines will usually play the classics like Galaga and Pac-Man but also newer titles like Street Fighter, Ridge Racer, and more. The screen size on a bartop arcade cabinet usually varies from 17″ to 24″, protected by an acrylic or glass cover. As expected, components, visual design, and finish vary.
Pandora box fights sticks
Pandora box fight sticks are a single panel with joysticks and controls for 1-2 players on a single deck/ panel – resembling the panel of an old-school arcade machine. They are low maintenance, can be packed away in a cupboard, and brought out to play whenever friends are over, or you’re after a hit of nostalgia. They plug into most TVs or monitors via HDMI or VGA, turning them into an instant arcade center. They offer great value for money, the downside being if you’re looking to tinker, your options are limited. The tricky bit can be choosing the right one, as there are so many different versions out there and many generalist sellers don’t list specifications.
Super Console X
This is basically a small android TV box that you can hold in the palm of your hand. It runs software called emulation Station and is highly configurable. You can use most USB controllers with it like Xbox or PlayStation gamepads. The potential downside is due to being able to tweak and adjust many aspects of it, you can also break it accidentally if not careful.
Performance wise the super console X3 max is in line with the leading pandora’s box gameboard, while the X and Pro versions play a lot of the old arcade classics well. You will notice a slowdown in more demanding games and consoles like Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast.
They usually come with 2 USB ports and an HDMI out for your TV. Some sellers include a USB hub in order to add more than 2 USB controllers however the device can struggle to power the extra controllers so if going that path considers a powered hub when using more than 2 USB controllers.
Whatever your choice you’ll without doubt stumble across some great titles, trigger forgotten memories, and have an absolute blast.