Are arcade machines still being made?
You're probably wondering if the arcade games that you remember spending your hard earned pocket money playing in your youth are still being made? The short answer is YES! But there is a more in depth look at this question, as there are so many avenues that are now available:
Who remembers going to a family holiday, maybe to a caravan park, camp site or popular coastal towns? Or maybe even paying a visit to the travelling fair ground when it was nearby?
For me it was always a family trip to Blackpool or the Isle of Wight. The highlight of the trip, was being given a pocketful of change to go and enjoy myself in one of the many arcades that were strewn all over the place. It was such a magical place, all the 2p pushers, 10p pushers for the rich folk (or so I always thought) and then the amazing classic racing games, shooting games and so much more.
The money I was given never really seemed to stretch very far so you would have to become an ‘expert’ at a particular game so that you could show off you amazing high scores to your newfound friends. For me, Time Crisis was the game of choice. A few of my friends were always topping the high scores for 1944: The Loop Master.
Unfortunately, given the growth home gaming and foreign holiday these types of traditional arcades are being closed down all the time. The ones that remain in the largest of (usually) coastal towns and cities are moving towards experience based games. Such as VR, shooters, driving simulators and a wide range of specialty machines that give an immersive gaming feel that just can’t be replicated at home.
While the ‘classics’ are always re-worked to fit this new style of gaming, there is very rarely a Pacman, Space Invaders or Donkey Kong machine to enjoy in all its nostalgic glory.
New wave arcades
Increasingly in the 2020’s there has been an influx of the new aged arcades. This type of arcade have been steadily popping up throughout the country, mostly in larger cities and are very similar to the traditional arcades. However, in most cases it’s more about the experience you get being in the venue. There is usually a bar, or good quality coffee shop, or maybe some other type of experience on offer alongside the gaming pleasures. These venues are generally speaking set up more like a grown-up soft play centre, so you pay a fixed fee on entry, or per hour, rather than a pay to play model of the traditional arcades.
These venues usually have a very broad range of machines available, ranging from the REAL arcade classics, through the ages to more modern classics (like my favourite, Time Crisis). Some even offer up to date PC gaming suites and VR modules. The major benefit over the traditional model is that it’s a much more ‘grown up’ experience and there is no need to carry a pocket full of 50 pence or £1 coins to keep you going.
Home arcade machines
Increasingly people who have an affinity with classic or retro gaming want to enjoy this hobby in their own home. This has 2 main options available, either build something that suits your needs, or buy it ready to go. There are a vast range of options available in both of these instances.
Buying a retro arcade machine, or classic retro consoles can be both expensive and time consuming. Finding the right machine, at a quality you are happy to keep in your home and then keeping it running perfectly. However, this really gives you the truly authentic gaming experience that you remember, both on a console and an arcade machine.
When buying there is an additional direct to consider, which is to purchase a newly manufactured machine. This may be an arcade machine, like the multigame arcade machines that you can find either on our website or various other sellers. From a console point of view, most of the main retro console makers have now released ‘mini’ consoles pre-loaded with an handful of games. These consoles include SEGA Mega Drive, Commodore 64, Nintendo NES and SNES and a few other too. In both instances you are getting modern manufacturing and components to get the hit of nostalgia you are looking for. There is a vast difference in prices for this solution, from £20 for a mini console, up to £1000 or more for a fully kitted out arcade cabinet. It’s not always an exact replica of the original experience but usually fairly close and usually improved given how much the technology inside has come on since the originals were launched. But the biggest benefit here is that in all cases they are simply plug and play, ready to go right out of the box.
Building your own retro machine is a popular option, which comes with an inherent and very steep learning curve. You will need to be competent in the cabinet material of choice, making it look how you want it to. But it is also possible to find many different plans for cabinets online too. Then you have the choice of a system to run the types of games you are looking to play. This could come in the form of a PC, a Raspberry PI or a dedicated game board. Youtube is certainly one of the greatest sources of knowledge on this subject.
So, in summary it’s a VERY resounding yes arcade machines certainly are still being made. There are more choices than ever in how you can enjoy retro arcade gaming. Whether that’s from the comfort of your own home or going to an arcade for the full retro experience.
Choosing what suits your needs the best is really the hard part of the task and that’s where I will pass it over to you!
We are here to help if you have any questions about arcade machines for your home, workspace or even in a commercial space like a bar, hotel or arcade.