Ars delves into the expensive but chic world of miniature arcade cabinets

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Enlarge / 20 oz. soda bottle for scale.

Sam Mashkovech

The miniaturized classic arcade category has exploded in recent years, and I’ve found myself to be part of its target demographic. My struggle to juggle raging arcade-era nostalgia with limited apartment space means I’m not quite ready to open my own. luxurious basement arcadenot to mention buying every “small but still bulky” cabinet that Arcade1Up makes.

Instead, I compromised with a few space-saving options. In addition to a virtualized pinball machine, which condenses a mix of pinball and arcade games into a single “full-size” unit, I also enjoyed the Sega Astro City Mini as a shelf decoration. Today, let’s look at a few more options in this last category.

If you’re willing to shell out $140 to $160 per game, a few companies offer decent (but not perfect) replica arcade cabinets that are no larger than 17 inches and come complete with screens, buttons, and controls. built-in batteries. Neither of these methods is strongly recommended for to play the games in question, but if you like the trick of lighting up junior-sized arcade booths and sharing them with players of all ages, they get the job done.

Practice

The two new miniaturized cabinets from New Wave Toys arrived recently and are still on sale. The company’s 1/6th scale replica cabinets are usually pre-sold in limited lots, so if you don’t knock while the iron is hot, you might miss out. But with prices over $100, they don’t come cheap, so we’re happy to be able to offer our recommendations before stock runs out.

The new machines from New Wave Toys, based on the classics of the early 80s Q*bert (from Gottlieb, priced at $160) and 1942 (originally from Capcom, priced at $150), provide mostly fantastic physical reproductions for shelf decoration purposes. These cabins use real wood in an economical yet attractive way; they are not solid oak constructions that weigh 60 pounds (closer to 2.4 pounds), but their exterior matches their original material. 1942 comes with a factory pressed grain effect that includes sculpted streak lines, and the resulting color and texture are quite beautiful. The Q*bert The body of the cab has an authentically solid, slightly dimpled texture that is treated with an even coat of yellow paint perfect for the archways.

The rest of the unit bodies were modeled from official datasheets and design documents, and the best bits come from a high-resolution asset pipeline and immaculate sticker work. Massive decals on the sides of the cabins match the original arcade builds perfectly, and they’re affixed and aligned with precision. The arrangements around screen art and game instructions stand up to scrutiny. New Wave emphasizes its use of original artistic assets; nothing seems to have been badly enlarged or cheaply reproduced.

These cabs also replicate things like CRT door mounts, lighted marquees, and coin slots, but the latter are painted plastic, and both machines have a single cheap-looking item as a result (the locks on Q*bertcoin-operated doors and “metallic” coin mechanism on 1942). Neither is a dealbreaker, but they stand out as issues on otherwise flawless reproductions. My biggest problem is a misaligned sticker on the 1942 cabin (see above, final image in the 1942 Gallery). Its placement is only a hair’s breadth off, but the resulting “crease” definitely stands out.

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