Arcade Machines are to 80's and 90's males what kittens were to young girls. We begged and begged to get one as a kid though sadly, unlike many a young girl, we didn't have our dreams answered in a little box bestowed upon us from the mighty Santa of Christmas land.
No, we had to toughen up and admit to ourselves that there is no Santa, there is no Rudolph, there was no hope. We only had one choice, and that wasn't pretty. Together with our fellow fearless warriors we would head out to the dark, dingy, testosterone fuelled apocalyptic no-mans land that was…
A place were few would leave as champions as many a self esteem was crushed and swallowed into a competitive vortex summoned by sacrificial Hadoukens and Killer Combos. The horrid feeling of your last pound coin to compete is something some of us still have Nam style flashbacks about today. (click here for some Arcade experience stories)
Today though, thanks to technological advances things are very different, and now that we painted you a picture of our traumatic childhood of shame and defeat, allow us to shine the light into your future with our favourite affordable alternatives currently on offer.
The first worth a mention is the impressive iCade for iPad. What started out as an April Fools joke on a gadget site a few years ago soon after became a reality when gamers all over the world cried out for it to be true. Now available online (cheapest on eBay) this setup lets you place your iPad inside a mini cabinet, sync it up via bluetooth and have proper control of your iMame arcade classics (and other supported games).
The only downside to this setup is the lack of secure fastening for your iPad and rather noisy retro buttons, though for some the latter might add authenticity.
Price: Around £70 on Amazon (some used ones on ebay from £20/£30 though)
Then, in true tech fashion someone somewhere thought 'how small can we make it?' and along came the Arcadie. Ideal for your iPhone (though there is also an iPad Mini version) this super mini cabinet lets you securely close your phone inside and play games. Unfortunately it only has two buttons so you have to remove it from the enclosure to select each game you want to play, but this could possibly be fixed in the future (hint to creators, holding both buttons and pressing a direction could work? both + up = start, both + down = coin etc)
Price: Around £15 from many stores such as Argos (Bargain!)
There are also of course the rather pricey full-size and bar-top Mame cabinets, but we have a big feature on them coming up soon. So, until then, these are both ideal, affordable solutions to tide you over. Much better than a kitten who then runs up a £400 vet bill for running into Danny The Doberman…not so smart now are you Santa?