I’ve always wanted a home arcade. This is something that has attracted me since I saw my first arcade cabinet as a kid, playing Mario Bros. at a local mall. My affinity for arcade games has only grown with age, but even in my 40s, I’ve never had the spare money or space to pull the trigger on a legitimate and standard sized cabinet for my house. This is why Arcade1up’s machines are so attractive.
This company has found success in manufacturing half-pint lockers that are perfect for a playroom in a small home (like mine) or a child’s room. The OutRun Seated Arcade I played it is only four feet tall and only costs $ 550 (no quarters required). So, like me, you might be running out of excuses not to buy a bunch of arcade cabinets, especially now that the X-Men 4-player Arcade Machine is coming soon.
Fully assembled, this thing is smooth
The first thing to note is that just like Ikea furniture, Arcade1up machines are assembled at home from a box of parts, mostly made of painted particle board. This box is well packed, with everything packed individually, thus reducing any potential shipping damage when shipping these 100+ pound crates across the country. I was very impressed with this package (pictured below), starting my adventure on a positive note.
A huge box, but it’s packed really well
Once I got everything set up on my floor, I immersed myself in the instructions. I found the booklet descriptions and schematics clear, so unlike Ikea furniture, I never felt lost. All I needed was a Phillips screwdriver to keep going.
Everything on the left, instructions on the right
It took me about two hours to assemble both the cabinet and its seat, and I took my time to make sure everything was screwed in correctly on the first try – particle board tends to break if you have to tinker with screws too many times . As I crawled across my floor for a few hours it hurt the next day, I was happy that the construction went well, which I attribute to the excellent design of the assembly.
Mobile and sitting comfortably seated in my small living room
When it comes to build quality and components, the OutRun Seated Arcade Machine definitely looks like a true arcade cabinet despite its tiny design. The steering wheel is heavy and has a comfortable grip, just as one would expect from a true arcade racing game. Heck, every time I pass the car, I reach out and turn the wheel. It feels so good. Now the pedals, on the other hand, are rather cheap and plasticky. They offer a wide range of motion, but have no weight. The plastic construction of the pedals is a little underwhelming after seeing what the wheel has to offer, but they still work as expected.
Wheel and pedals. The wheel feels great, the pedals look a little cheap even if they look the part
I was also surprised to see a functional light curtain at the top of the unit, which is where the stereo speakers are located. It’s a nice touch that gives off a true arcade vibe, while still keeping things very clean. Under this awning is the 17-inch LCD screen, which I found bright and crisp, even when looking at an angle over a gamer’s shoulder. However, there is a fan in the unit, which is audible when seated close together. Around the steering wheel, you’ve got a few buttons and switches, plus a shifter for those who like manual racing controls. You can adjust the volume level of the cabinet and change the music tracks whenever you want.
Bright curtain, it is visible even in a well-lit room
It would appear that the screen permanently displays a scanline filter, creating something that looks like the old tube screens used in cabinets of yesteryear. However, an option to turn off scan lines would have been appreciated, especially since I prefer my games to look as sharp as possible and fake scan lines never seem to be true. Notably, the LCD screen is a bit washed out, but there is a mod available which darkens the blacks of the screen while maintaining brightness. There are actually a whole mod series mod available for these cabinets. So yes, you can add Sanwa buttons and sticks to Arcade1Up cabinets with a little effort.
The scanline filter looks too aggressive
There are four racing games included with the OutRun Seated Arcade Machine cabinet. OutRun, Turbo OutRun, OutRunners, is Power drift—All Sega racing games. These are also the original, officially licensed arcade ROMs. The art on the cabinet is only for OutRun, which seems suitable as it is the most popular of the lot. I definitely appreciate the fact that the cabinet has more than one game considering it is a purpose built unit with a wheel and pedals instead of arcade sticks. My personal favorites are OutRun and Power Drift. OutRun for its classic arcade racing and Power Drift for its challenging kart racing. All the games work flawlessly with the controls, as they should.
All 4 games listed under the wheel, plus the OutRun map above the wheel
So even if I can be a furious cynic when it comes to the mobile games I usually deal with, I am genuinely satisfied with the OutRun sitting arcade machine. It was pretty easy to build, the quality of the materials is better than expected, and the arcade-style experience is great. I appreciate that the bench is not attached to this seating unit, allowing for easy storage. Additionally, all the mods currently available should appeal to hardcore arcade enthusiasts as there is an easy path to upgrade their screens, buttons and toggles. There’s plenty of stuff here for enthusiasts to enjoy despite the small size, and since Arcade1Up offers over 40 upright cabinets across its showcase, Target, Best Buy, and Amazon, you have plenty of options even if stock is limited due high demand.
Despite its small size, it is actually a comfortable cabinet with a seat
All around, I am impressed with what Arcade1up has to offer. Yes, $ 550 is a lot for four games, but it’s the experience that matters here, and for me that’s where the cabinet shines.
Where to buy: Arcade1up, Best Buy (standing unit), Amazon (standing unit)