5 Arcade Cabinets I’d Like to Own

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Steve Wiebe speaks for all of us when it comes to devotion of arcade games.

Just the other day my wife and I found ourselves trying out a new pizza joint across town. To my surprise, they had a Punch-Out!! arcade machine set up in the corner. I was sad to discover that it didn’t currently work since it was in need of a new power unit, but nonetheless it got me thinking. If I had a house with a game room and enough money to fill that game room with whatever I liked, what arcade games would I put in there? Here are my top 5 choices in no particular order.

Raiden II:

Nothing brings back childhood memories like Raiden II.

I’m actually a huge fan of shmups, though you wouldn’t know it unless you caught me in an arcade going from one shmup to the next. Inevitably, you’d see me plant myself in front of Raiden II and never leave until I had either beat the game or ran out of quarters. I can’t explain just why Raiden II is one of my favorites but it might just come down to the ability I had to play it at most restaurants I frequented as a child. Go with what you know I guess, so Raiden II has to be featured in my game room.

The Simpsons Arcade Game:

Why can't I find these anywhere anymore?

Beat ‘Em Ups are another one of my favorite genres and they were never better than when they were in the arcade cabinets. While you’ve heard me talk about the Ninja Turtle Arcade Game, I have the home version on XBLA, so my need for it has diminished slightly. However, The Simpsons Arcade Game is still without a home port, so the only way I’d get to play this one is if I bought the cabinet myself.

Donkey Kong:

Man those classics are sweet.

If King of Kong has taught me anything, it’s that Donkey Kong is awesome. Ever since I saw the documentary regarding Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell’s competition to obtain the world record score, I always secretly wanted to break their records just for the heck of it. I’m nowhere near good enough to challenge any competent record, but all the more reason to need the arcade cabinet for practice. Maybe I’ll just rewatch King of Kong a few more times since it is my favorite documentary.

Dance Dance Revolution 8th Mix:

Like sunshine on a cloudy day.

I had to confirm with my DDR expert, Other Chris, to determine which is the best version of Dance Dance Revolution since there are roughly 10 mixes available. A good arcade can’t go without one of these machines though. I had Konamix on the Playstation and played it frequently, but nothing can compare to the actual arcade version. Plus, I’d lose so much weight from just doing DDR.

Killer Instinct:

No one's beating me at Killer Instinct, unless of course you know how to play it.

While I have the SNES version, the arcade version is undoubtedly better. I can get the same Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat experience on a home console, but Killer Instinct is one arcade version I’d rather own compared to the home port. Besides, I just can’t get enough of stupid-high combos, followed by the inevitable “C-C-C-Combo breaker!”

These are just a few choices I’d have for my dream arcade, but buying a real arcade cabinet is incredibly expensive. What games would you guys include in your perfect game room? Or do you already have an arcade or two in your home? I’m curious if anyone out there has the sort of money to collect arcade games anymore. Leave a comment and let me know.

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About Author

Chris was the former Head Writer/Editor of Toy-TMA. He did a great job overseeing the site and getting new content published regularly. Always more than willing to respond to a comment or two, but pitiless with trolls! He has since moved on from TMA, and we wish him the best.

13 Comments

  1. In my opinion, if this is something you really want, I’d recommend finding the cabinet first since you’re building it yourself. You can find clean cabinets with fried power supplies, bad monitors, bad boards, etc, for literally $50-$100, but none of the broken stuff matters since you won’t be using it anyways. If the joysticks work, good, if not they’re cheap to replace, add a few buttons with a hole saw, wire them up, and then you can put your computer system in it. I built my first cabinet out of a Tekken 4 and it literally cost me $400 total….and it played 1400 games. Granted, it wasn’t as nice as a brand new cabinet, but at the time I was just stoked to have my own arcade system so I could play X-Men, Spiderman, Captain America, and Sunset Riders in my living room 🙂

  2. Hunting for ROMs is the most annoying part, honestly. Everything else is just money, time, and skill….but that’s all based on your own drive and free time. The ROMs take forever to download, compile, put into a frontend that you actually like, etc, and that’s something that you can’t easily control. It’s all about what ROMs are on the torrent site at that particular moment, how fast is the download (I’ve had some literally take WEEKS), etc.

    The ROMs are free, but getting them all in one place could take months, depending on what you’re looking for. But, in the end, it’s worth it.

  3. Worst case scenario, with a high-quality build, you’re still well under $1000. You can find a clean cabinet for under $300, then you’ll probably have to rewire it and put new joysticks/buttons, possibly a new monitor, then the multicade guts themselves.

    If you build your own cabinet, then the price varies…it all comes down to your skill level with building, programming, wiring , etc. Again, I can walk you through most of it.

  4. I build multicades, bud. Every single game that you mention and that’s been mentioned in the comments is on the arcades that I build (except that X-men is only available in 4-player mode, not 6).

    I can build one for you, but unless you feel like driving to Ohio, you might look into building one yourself. It’s not that difficult and I don’t mind giving you pointers if you email me.

  5. Raymond Barbosa on

    The three cabinets would be:
    Operation Wolf
    Killer Instinct
    Interactive Boxing
    Galaga
    Golf game

  6. My choice would be:
    1. Contra- exiting game of Sega especially when you play it in 2 players
    2. Mortal Kombat 2
    3. Megamen
    4. Super Mario World
    5. Zelda

  7. There’s one place in Portland called Ground Kontrol that still rocks eight degrees of badass for having pretty much every arcade game you’d ever really want, plus the Northwest’s largest collection of pinball machines. It also happens to be a bar, so it works perfectly for us adults that still have that inner child who loves arcade games. Makes me wish I lived closer to Portland.

    I’d definitely want the X-Men game where you could play with 6 players. That was epic, especially if you could actually get all 6 players going at once.

  8. Aw man…arcades. Something near and dear to my heart! Despite missing their true prime, arcades are something gamers are sorely missing today and most don’t even know it. I about cried when one of my wife’s 8th grade students had to ask what an “arcade” was.

    Today’s on-line multiplayer just can’t compare with a live gathering of people that are there to do one thing: play games. I could spend hours just watching another person play a game. You thought you were good until someone tapped you the shoulder, slammed down their quarter, and then demolished your score *right in front of you* – that was pain. On-line/social gaming today can’t hold a candle to the social environment found in an arcade. http://bit.ly/chPaV9

    And any sort of satisfaction in being good at a console game today is lost due to global leaderboards. The arcades created local heroes. It gave you a chance to be the best, even if only at a local level. To me, being the Pizza Hut Ms. Pac Man high score holder would still mean something. Now there is no chance of being a champ unless you’re best in the world, which is quite a mountain to climb. http://bit.ly/be3niQ

    But if I had to pick 5 cabinets to own…
    – Mortal Kombat 2
    – X-Men
    – Ms. Pac Man
    – Smash TV
    – Any decent shmup (A fav genre of mine too)

    I’d also love to have a pinball machine. And throw in a Skee Ball lane for my wife.

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