Features that REALLY matter when buying an arcade machine

So, you've decided that you want a retro arcade machine, it’s not an inexpensive purchase and you want to get it right and not regret it down the line. There are a few key features that we would recommend when looking for your perfect machine and manufacturer to make sure that you're getting a high-quality product that will stand the test of time. Here’s our checklist to consider:

Glass is better than Perspex: The material that covers the screen of the arcade machine can greatly impact the quality of the visuals. While some arcade machines use plastic or Perspex, it's best to look for one with a glass cover. Glass is more durable, less prone to scratching (especially on a cocktail table arcade) and provides better clarity, which can enhance your gaming experience. The glass should ALWAYS be toughened safety glass and ideally be at least 6mm.

Durable control panels: The control panel is the part of the arcade machine that you'll be interacting with the most, so it's important that they are built to last. We prefer to spend a little more on our machines and use metal (mild or stainless steel) for our control panels instead of MDF wood, as it's a more durable material that can withstand the wear and tear, even from the most energetic players! 😉 But MDF also will break down over time, rather than the mechanical connection a metal alternative provides.

Thick, high-quality MDF: MDF (medium-density fibreboard) is a type of engineered wood that's commonly used in the construction of arcade machines. However, not all MDF is created equal. It's important to look for a machine that uses a good grade of MDF that's at least 18mm thick. This will ensure that the machine feel sturdy. Lots of the imported machines use a thinner 12mm MDF, or a plain MDF that’s been painted. This can fade over time, a melamine coating is much more durable and less likely to fade.

After sales support: A retro arcade machine is a big investment, so it's important to have peace of mind knowing that you'll be able to get support if anything goes wrong, even after your warranty may have expired. Look for a company that offers good after-sales support, including a warranty and customer service that's responsive and helpful.

Made In Britain: We would always recommend a British built machine over an imported model. The machine you are purchasing should comply with British manufacturing standards such as UKCA (formerly the CE mark) and any other electrical safety standards. Most imported machines wont follow these standards and can pose a risk should there be a problem down the line.

Try before you buy: Finally, if possible, try to find a showroom where you can try out the arcade machine before making a purchase. This will give you a better sense of the build quality, performance, and overall experience of the machine.

At Arcade Depot, we take these factors into consideration when designing and building our retro arcade machines. Our machines feature toughened safety glass covers over the screens, metal control panels, and high-quality 18mm MDF that’s melamine coated. We also offer a full 12 month warranty and responsive customer service to ensure that our customers are satisfied with their purchase.

Who doesn’t love coming to try before they buy!? We have a lovely showroom where customers can come and try out a range of our machines before making a purchase. This allows them to get a feel for the gameplay, and choose the machine that’s right for them, along with seeing our top notch build quality first hand. Ask any questions you have over a nice brew!