When I was a kid one of my dreams was to have my very own arcade cabinet. I grew up in an area with a lot of arcades and being exposed to them really left an impact on me. While there have always been console/PC ports for arcade games there’s just nothing like playing it on the original hardware. While the item I have isn’t the perfect substitute for this desire, I think it does the job in an amazing way and it more than satisfied my desire.
I first heard about Arcade1Up late last year when they were releasing machines for Pac-Man, Galaga, and Street Fighter II. I immediately became interested in them but I didn’t have the money nor the space at the time. As time went on though it became increasingly more difficult to resist the call to get one and eventually I broke down. I bought the Final Fight machine on Black Friday and never looked back. Now you may be asking “Why Final Fight? Why not the Marvel machine or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles machine????”
Because I legit love Final Fight with all my heart. Also, it was $150.
After about 2 hours of building and shooing my roommates’ cat away from the cellophane wrapping I was finished with the initial set up but it wasn’t exactly a flawless process. It’s not a hard thing to build at all and there’s a surprising lack of heavy parts since the machine is mainly powered by the LCD screen and the control deck but I had a few gripes while I was setting it up. For starters a lot of the little..wooden nub…things (I never claimed I was a handyman) didn’t fit tightly enough into a few of the panels so I had to really work to get some of these parts to connect properly. The marquee also had two holes that were too small for the screws so I had to make them bigger myself. I want to think that these issues were just with the one I bought and I eventually got it to work properly, but just know that some of the machines might have one or two assembly problems that will require a manual fix. Now that it’s done how does it compare to a real arcade cabinet?
When you first start the machine up you’re greeted by Arcade1Up’s logo and you’re booted to the game selection screen and right off the bat, I was impressed with it. The LCD screen was crisp and colorful and had the perfect amount of lighting to where it didn’t hurt your eyes. After that, I decided to start up Final Fight and you know what? It felt pretty damn good. The joystick is very tight and responsive and the buttons, while not the most comfortable feeling ones in the world (I’m more of a Sanwa guy myself) they still felt natural and they both performed without a hint of delay. The game emulation is fairly spot on too. Honestly, if you’re looking for a cheap alternative to a big ass arcade cabinet this is a good replacement….however you are losing out on the “big” aspect of those machines. The 1Up machines are about 4ft high and while that is not bad by any means if you’re on the tall side like me, it can make this pretty cumbersome to play if you enjoy playing arcade games standing up. If you noticed at the top of this review I actually bought a “Riser” for this machine which brings it up to about 6ft, which sounds nice….except mine was actually missing parts so I couldn’t build it. Again I can’t stress this enough. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing. I’ve actually been having a lot of fun just pulling up a chair and playing with it but, I also understand that for a lot of people that kind of robs the appeal for these types of things. The Riser will only set you back $45-$50 depending on where you get it and I think it’s a good investment….I just hope I can get one I can actually use eventually.
One last thing I really want to commend Arcade1Up for is its attention to detail because this machine is a thing of beauty. It looks EXACTLY like the original Final Fight cabinet right down to the instructions on the sides of the screen. Honestly, if this didn’t have any games in it I still would have bought it because as a piece of furniture it looks great. It’s sturdy as hell too if a little light. It’s never going to break on you but if you tug on the joystick too hard you might end up bringing the machine closer to you.
Overall I’m beyond impressed with Arcade1Up’s arcade machine. I don’t think it’s ever going to fully replace the feeling of a real machine but it works well enough that I think it will make pretty much anyone happy. It’s also nice to a lot of these arcade games in one place so they can be preserved in some way and it can help introduce people to games they never would have tried otherwise. Dude before buying this I never played 1944-The Loop Master? This game kicks ass.
Yeah, I highly recommend Arcade1Up’s line of arcade machines and if fate demands it I will absolutely be buying another one when I’m able to.