Look, anyone with a serious gaming den probably has an impressive gaming TV to go with a fleet of consoles or a sick gaming desk to serve as the heart of a battle station. We don't think there's any problem with that, but there's a lot more that can be done to deck out a recreation room. One of the niftiest options is an arcade cabinet.
You'll find arcade cabinets that will let you feel like you've just traveled through time, giving you access to a horde of classic games alongside familiar arcade controls. In many cases, a quality arcade cabinet can even exceed the cabinets you would have actually seen in arcades. Many of these models include anywhere from several games to thousands of games all in a single cabinet. Even if you don't have room for a full-size arcade cabinet, you can get in on the retro fun with a handful of mini and tabletop arcade cabinets. So, if you're ready to relive arcade classics, check out our top arcade cabinet picks – and click here to find them in the UK.
- Taito Egret II Mini
- AtGames Legends Ultimate
- Arcade1Up Class of 81' Deluxe Arcade Game
- Prime Arcades Cocktail Arcade Machine
- My Arcade Data East Classics Mini Player
- NEOGEO Mini Arcade
- Tiny Arcade Q*bert
- Arcade1Up Midway Legacy
- Namco Pac-Man Pixel Bash
- SNK MVSX Arcade Machine
Taito Egret II Mini
Best Arcade Cabinet
Are you ready to hop in a time machine back to 1996? Well, unfortunately, that's still not possible, but the Taito Egret II Mini can at least bring back some of those memories. This compact version of the original Egret II totes all its features, including that wild rotating screen. Plus, you get access to 40 games already loaded in and ready to play on a device under nine inches high and six inches wide.
The Taito Egret II Mini comes with a sturdy joystick and buttons on the chassis. Given the size, there is only room for one set of controls, but they are still in the same vein as the original. Plus, a controller can be added for multiplayer action. And, as much as we love the 90s, technology has come a long way, which is reflected in the two USB Type-A ports for extra controllers, an HDMI output, a USB Type-C for charging, and an SD card slot for more games. You also get save states, adjustable lives, and rapid-fire to make playing more enjoyable.
AtGames Legends Ultimate
Best Multi-Game Arcade Machine
What’s better than a big old arcade cabinet that’s packed full of games? How about one that’s packed full of games, still brings some awesome retro styling, and manages to take up a smaller footprint in your home? That’s what the AtGames Legends Ultimate manages to do. This great arcade cabinet skips that old-school CRT display for a 24-inch HD display that lets the cabinet hug your wall a bit better than a classic cabinet would.
Thankfully, you don’t need a massive cabinet to have a big game library. The AtGames Legends Ultimate arcade machine packs in 300 games from classic arcade games to Atari and Sega Genesis games alongside the range of controls you need to play them. If you ever tire of the games available directly on the machine, you can set the cabinet up to stream games from a local PC, effectively giving you access to an unlimited library.
Arcade1Up Class of 81' Deluxe Arcade Game
Best Cabaret Arcade Cabinet
It's easy enough to see the appeal of having a throwback arcade machine in your home, but that old technology is often big and bulky. Cabaret models keep the design a bit more on the svelte side, and that's exactly what you get with the Arcade1Up Class of 81' Deluxe Arcade Game. This model stays trim at just 19 inches wide while standing 61 inches tall for easy playing and viewing while standing or sitting on a bar stool.
The Arcade1Up Class of 81' Deluxe Arcade Game features twelve classic games, including Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. The artwork from those two games is featured on the cabinet, along with a light-up marquee and molded coin door for a more authentic feel. A 17-inch monitor provides the perfect view of those games as you play using a large joystick and responsive buttons.
Prime Arcades Cocktail Arcade Machine
Best Cocktail Arcade Cabinet
Let’s face it: standing is for suckers. Back in the old days of arcades and bars that also had arcade machines in them, someone was like, “Hey what if we could set our drinks on an arcade machine and play at the same time?” And so, the magical cocktail arcade machine was born.
This particular unit from Prime Arcades includes 1,162 classic games (412 vertical and 750 horizontal) including Galaga, Street Fighter II Turbo, and a whole lot more. And just to make sure you’re getting the most out of your newfound freedom from the tyranny of standing, it even includes the chrome stools.
My Arcade Data East Classics Mini Player
Best Tabletop Arcade Cabinet
If you’re short on floor space, there’s always the option to stick a fully functioning arcade machine on the tabletop. This unit from My Arcade features 35 titles from the Data East classic collection, including BurgerTime, Joe and Mac Returns, and Street Hoop.
The games are displayed on a 4.25” LCD screen and controls include a miniature joystick (which you can screw off for a regular D-Pad) and arcade buttons. Plus, the authentic Data East design on the cabinet is pretty rad. Big things really do come in small packages. MyArcade also has a MiniPlayer dedicated to Namco's classic collection if you'd rather play games like PacMan and Galaga.
NEOGEO Mini Arcade
Best Mini Arcade Cabinet
Everyone loves a bit of nostalgia, and the NEOGEO Mini Arcade takes you back in time when arcades reigned supreme, but in a much smaller form factor than the original cabinets. This little machine fits in the palm of your hand, and 40 classic games for SNK fans are built-in, including The King of Fighters '98, Metal Slug X, Samurai Shodown II, and Shock Troopers. You can also save your current game progress and load previous profiles all on the device.
The NEOGEO Mini Arcade is tiny and features a 3.5-inch LCD screen. If you want to blow up that picture on your TV, there is an emulation system that requires a mini HDMI to connect. You also have a free-moving joy stick and several buttons on the cabinet for getting into the action, though they are a bit cramped together. For less uncomfortable gameplay, there’s an optional controller that plugs into the USB-C. This extra controller is necessary if you want to play two-player games. Overall, the NEOGEO Mini Arcade is a relatively inexpensive console that offers a fun way to play some of your favorite classics.
Tiny Arcade Q*bert
Best Tiny Arcade Cabinet
Big, expensive arcade cabinets just won’t fit in everyone's space and budget. Thankfully, this Tiny Arcade cabinet costs under $50 and offers the same look and feel of the classics in an ultra mini form factor. Think keychain size, measuring only 3.75 x 1.75 x 1.75 inches.
But amazingly, this little wonder plays the original Q*bert on an even tinier 1.5-inch screen with full color. You even get a joystick and two buttons for gameplay, while authentic sounds really play into the nostalgia. It’ll sit nicely on your office desk as a little novelty decoration, and you don't need to let anyone else in the office know that you actually play on it when you need a quick mental break from work.
Arcade1Up Midway Legacy
Best Fighting Game Arcade Cabinet
Arcade 1Up's Midway Legacy Cabinet will make you nostalgic for the 90s. This baby is loaded up with twelve classic games including three Mortal Kombat games, Defender, Joust, Rampage, and Gauntlet. The machine itself is designed to look like the iconic Mortal Kombat II. The added themed riser makes it comfortable to play sitting or standing, so be ready to get sucked into the game for hours. A light-up Marquee and coin door sticker will transport you back to simpler days, but this time you won't be spending your allowance on quarters or worrying about someone stealing your machine.
Priced under $600, you get 2 sets of robust controls that will get you kicking, punching, blocking, and running. The real feel, full-size joysticks labeled with moves for Mortal Kombat II have a nice response and the games play just like they used. Although this unit has an LCD screen rather than CRT, there isn't any smearing or ugly ghost effects. Everything looks as crisp and colorful as the original games were down to the pixelated blood squirts. If you're ready to take a leap back in time and help Raiden defend the Earthrealm, save your quarters and grab this cabinet.
Namco Pac-Man Pixel Bash
Best Pac-Man Arcade Cabinet
Hey, it’s a Pac-Man party and everyone’s invited! Except for Inky, get lost Inky. While most of the cabinets on this list are manufactured by third parties using emulators to install huge numbers of classic games, this Namco Pac-Man Pixel Bash machine is pretty unique.
After all, it’s sold by the legendary Namco, and if you’re familiar with Namco’s popular Namco Museum collections for consoles, this is essentially the same concept, but in between full- and cabaret-sized arcade cabinet with a 19-inch monitor. This unit comes with 32 classic titles including Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, and more in a well-made, eye-catching machine.
SNK MVSX Arcade Machine
Best SNK Arcade Cabinet
- See it on Amazon (without riser)
From the King of Fighters and Samurai Showdown to Metal Slug and Fatal Fury, these iconic arcade franchises all came from one place: SNK. So, what better way to relive those classic arcade experiences than a dedicated SNK Neo Geo machine loaded with 50 games.
The SNK MVSX Arcade Machine delivers a large batch of titles from those classic franchises, as well as Real Bout, World Heroes, Sengoku, and more. For $500, you're getting access to a classic library that'll deliver plenty of play time. And, it provides an option to play through either the arcade or the home console versions of the games. The cabinet itself offers room for you and a friend to play shoulder-to-shoulder, as it stands 57-inches tall, has a 17-inch display, and features full-size arcade controls for two players. Fortunately, you won't have to go running for quarters if you run out of lives with this cabinet.
Where to Get the Best Arcade Cabinets in the UK
Best Tiny Arcade Cabient
Tiny Arcade Space Invaders
Kevin Lee is IGN's Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
Danielle Abraham is a freelance writer and unpaid music historian.
In 1982, Space Invaders was considered the highest-grossing entertainment product of its time, with comparisons made to the then highest-grossing film Star Wars, which had grossed $486 million, while Pac-Man is today considered the highest-grossing arcade game of all time.What is the most common arcade cabinet? ›
Multi game arcades come in a variety of cabinet styles. Most common is the full-size upright arcade cabinet, but the multi-game format also works well in vintage-style cocktail arcades, or the compact bar-top style.What is the best arcade console? ›
- Arcade 1up Collectorcade.
- Numskull Quarter Arcade.
- Arcade 1up Countercade.
- SEGA Astro City Mini V.
- Taito EGRET Ⅱ mini – Limited Blue Edition.
- My Arcade Mini Player.
- My Arcade Micro Player – Premium Edition.
- My Arcade Nano Player.
Redemption and crane games are often the most profitable games in any arcade. They are great because not only are they fun but they are challenging and give your guests goals and prizes to play for! Plus, even if the customer has a bad game, tickets are still dispensed making it feel like a win.