The Best Arcade Machines to Enjoy the Games You Grew Up Playing
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Finding Your Next Arcade Machine: A Buyer’s Guide
Arcade games are one of the earliest forms of video gaming, and you can still spot numerous machines in entertainment centers and amusement parks inviting you to give them a go.And why won’t they be there? Arcade machines are beloved by all ages and they’re pretty low-maintenance — just set them up and let the good times roll. Arcade machines are a great choice for people who want to build an all-inclusive gaming room, offering guests a fun activity when they’re over and giving you a way to blow off some steam at the end of a long day.To help make your life a little more fun, let’s take a look at some great arcade machines in 2023. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide to help you identify the right one for your needs, so take a look!
Pop-A-Shot Basketball Arcade Game
Barrington Billiards Arcade Machine
Mortal Kombat Arcade Machine
Top Upright Design
Hall of Games Arcade Machine
Fun for the Whole Family
Ms. Pac-Man Arcade Machine
Top Countertop Machine
Factors To ConsiderThe words “arcade machine” evoke images of vintage cabinets with classic controls and memories of lining up at the local hang-out. Consider the following factors if you’re interested in adding one of these awesome machines to your game room:
GamesThe number and type of games are the first things to consider when it comes to any arcade machine. If you’re after a specific game or series, there’s a good chance that there are some dedicated machines available, but a multi-game arcade machine can provide you with hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, of games to play. Some of these arcade machines even allow you to download additional games as well.
Screen sizeThe screen size can vary from one arcade machine to another, and it doesn’t always depend on the type of machine you’re using — some countertop models have bigger screens than a traditional upright cabinet, for example. A good rule of thumb is that the larger the screen, the better your game will appear on it. If you want to enjoy your game to the fullest, choose an arcade machine with a fairly large screen.
Coin-operationRemember the days when you had to purchase coins to play your favorite games? Some arcade machines still feature coin-operation (particularly commercial ones), but ones without coin-operation can be great for having friends over and staying up all night playing games for free. Some arcade machines allow you to choose between play-for-free and play-for-coin modes, and the play-for-coin mode can let you use the machine to earn some money, especially if it’s set up in a restaurant or other public area. When you’re playing yourself or want to throw a free game night, simply turn on the play-for-free mode — no more lugging coins around in your pocket!
DimensionsMake sure you consider the dimensions of the arcade machine, as this will help you determine whether a cabinet will fit in the space you want to place it. Measuring the available space beforehand will help you choose a compatible model.
Types of Arcade MachinesThere are many different types of arcade machines. Some house thousands of games inside a single cabinet, while others are custom-built for a single game. We’ve listed the most common types of arcade machines below:
Upright cabinetsUpright arcade cabinets are usually made of metal or wood. They’re about six to seven feet tall, with a display screen at eye level and a control panel set slightly above the waist. They also have a marquee that overhangs the monitor for a secluded appearance. These arcade machines are available in various shapes, from a simple perpendicular box to a complicated asymmetrical form. The controls are usually a joystick or trackpad with action buttons, and some variations have two joysticks instead of buttons.
Table or sit-down cabinetsThese arcade machines come in different shapes, including cocktail tables, candy cabinets, or deluxe cabinets. Cocktail cabinets are shaped like coffee tables, with screens set inside and controls placed along the edges. These arcade machines are smaller in size, but they take up more floor space. Candy cabinets received their name because they resemble hard plastic candy, and they’re positioned in a way that the player can play games for extended periods while sitting on a chair or the included stool. Deluxe cabinets are more commonly used for vehicle or fighting games, and their controls usually resemble that of the vehicle controls or weapons used in the game.
Countertop cabinetsThese arcade machines are a smaller version of upright arcade cabinets — they’re big enough to house the screen and controls and are placed on top of a counter or tabletop. You can spot these in bars or restaurants, but they’re equally as popular for personal use.
Our top pick is a departure from the arcade video games we all know and love. According to the manufacturer, the Pop-A-Shot Basketball Arcade Game is the original basketball arcade machine that took the world by storm — and for good reason. It boasts 16 different game modes with 6 audio effects for hours of fun, and you can toggle through these options on its easy-to-use control panel.This arcade machine comes with two hoops and seven balls so you can challenge your friends and family members. Its infrared sensors make sure that each and every one of your shots is counted and shows up on its electronic scoreboard, and you can adjust the entire machine’s height depending on your needs. You can also fold this arcade machine up for storage when it’s not in use, and thanks to its high-quality design that offers tons of fun, it’s top of our list.
- Sturdy, adjustable design
- Comes with two hoops and seven balls
- Wheels offer portability
- Sensors can be faulty
Not a fan of video games? Our next pick is a bowl and bounce game from Barrington Billiards that might be up your alley. This arcade game is a tabletop skeeball bowling game in which you roll the ball off the end of the runway and try to land it inside the point slots. A metal cage on top of the point slots prevents balls from bouncing off the table, and its design returns balls automatically to keep the fun going.This arcade machine may be a classic, but the manufacturer has given it an attractive, modern look. This bowl and bounce set boasts an oak finish with a rustic design, integrated sound effects, an electronic scoreboard, and flashy lights. Its metal legs provide all of the support that this arcade machine needs, and it comes with four balls included to get things rolling.
- Durable, high-quality construction
- A modern twist on a classic game
- Cage to prevent balls from bouncing out
- Very high price
This Arcade1Up Mortal Komat Arcade Machine can be a great addition to any game room. This mini cabinet offers you three games from the classic Mortal Kombat series — Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat. The cabinet itself features the iconic game’s original artwork, letting you bask in the glory days of arcade gaming, and it features a 17-inch colorful LCD screen so you can enjoy the game to its fullest.This arcade machine includes joysticks and buttons for up to two players, letting you compete against your friends and see who’s the top dog. You can still enjoy this arcade machine by yourself, though, and that’s because you can battle against the computer to hone your skills. Our favorite part about this arcade machine might just be your favorite part too — it doesn’t require any coins to play!
- Large LCD screen
- Cabinet boasts original game art
- Coinless, two-player design
- Assembly can be tricky
If you or someone in your life loves basketball, this indoor basketball arcade machine can be a great choice. The Hall of Games Basketball Arcade Machine comes with six basketballs and two hoops to shoot into, and it features an electronic scoreboard with eight different game modes and sound effects for that authentic arcade feeling.Unlike regular video games, this arcade machine lets you stretch your muscles while using it, making it a great option if you have a little baller who always wants to be outside shooting hoops. Its highly durable frame is made from steel and features wheels for added portability, and the whole thing folds up to make storing this arcade machine as easy as a lay-up.
- Durable, corrosion-resistant steel design
- Built-in LED scoring system
- Hand pump included with six balls
- Assembly can be time-consuming
If your gaming den doesn’t have enough space for a full-size machine, then consider this countertop model from Arcade1Up. The Ms. Pac-Man Counter-Cade is a 4-in-1 arcade cabinet featuring such popular titles as Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, Galaga, and Dig Dug II.This arcade machine may be smaller than a standard upright arcade cabinet (and cost a fraction of the price), but it still delivers an authentic experience thanks to its 8-inch LCD color screen and full-size controls. Unlike large, upright cabinets, this arcade machine comes pre-assembled, making it easy to set up and start having fun right away, and also includes a 90-day warranty in case you run into any issues — and we’re not talking about the ghosts you’re trying to escape from as you munch tiny dots across the screen!
- Compact, space-saving design
- More affordable than upright arcade cabinets
- Includes four classic games
- Small screen size
People Also Asked
Is an arcade machine a good investment?
An arcade machine can be an excellent and timeless investment. Whether you’re installing one at home for personal use or putting one in a crowded place, arcade cabinets are a great choice because video games never go out of style.
What arcade machines make the most money?
Redemption and crane arcade machines make the most money. Not only are they fun and challenging, but they also give customers a goal or prize to play for. Even if a player has a bad game, many such arcade machines dispense tickets to make it feel like a win.
Do arcade machines use a lot of electricity?
The simple answer is no, arcade machines don’t use a lot of electricity. The modern cabinets available nowadays are actually much more energy-efficient than some of your regular household appliances.