When I was a kid, I used to ride my bike to the bowling alley near my house each summer to bowl (poorly), drink Slushies, and play arcade games. Truthfully, though, it was mostly to drink Slushies and play arcade games amid the faint smell of wax and cigarette smoke. I’ve since grown out of my Slushie phase, but I still love playing games on old-school arcade cabinets.
Outside of a few arcade-style bars, though, such machines can be hard to find. So Arcade1Up, a subsidiary of Tastemakers, which also produces Hatchimals, is filling the gap. The New York-based company is selling 3/4-scale versions of cabinets for games ranging from “Pac-Man” and “Centipede” to “Rampage” and “Street Fighter.”
And for 2019, the company is rolling out a cabinet for the game that ‘90s parents loved to hate: “Mortal Kombat.” A Walmart (WMT) exclusive, the “Mortal Kombat” cabinet features “Mortal Kombat,” “Mortal Kombat II” and “Mortal Kombat Ultimate Edition.”
Priced between $199 and $299, these cabinets are about as faithful as you can get to reproducing the machines you played as a kid. And the pull of that nostalgia is incredibly hard to resist.
No quarters required
Arcade1Up’s cabinets are made to feel as much like the originals you remember kicking every time you lost a match to your older brother when all he did was block and throw low kicks. The sound of the joystick rolling in a circle, the snap of the big, round buttons — it’s all here.
The games themselves, meanwhile, are true versions of the ones you played in the arcade years ago. Arcade1Up says it spoke with the license holders for each game, and secured the original edition of each title.
Not everything Arcade1Up uses resembles the old game cabinets. Instead of a massive, curved CRT screen, these machines all use LCD panels. The result is a brighter display, though Arcade1Up says it’s worked to ensure the look of the games matches up with their predecessors.
Naturally, Arcade1Up’s machines don’t require any quarters to get them going. You simply start it up and get to wrecking your friends and family right away. Depending on the model you pick up, you’ll get between two and five games. The “Mortal Kombat” cabinet gets three games, while the “Golden Tee” cabinet comes with four.
Yes, Arcade1Up also has a “Golden Tee” machine, which means you can relive those times you hastily plowed through a round of digital golf while you waited with your parents for a table at T.G.I. Friday’s. But this time you’ll be able to finish the game instead of ditching it early to eat dinner under a replica Coke machine and fishing rod.
Arcade1Up does a solid job of recreating its machines, but they aren’t perfect replicas. Since they’re 3/4 scale, adults will have to either play them sitting down, or shell out the extra $39 for a riser platform that brings the cabinet up to its real height. Just don’t go too nuts while playing, or you might knock your machine off.
Still, for $199 to $299, you get to relive some of your favorite games, and have a great conversation starter for your home.
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