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Top 10 Best Arcade Machines in 2022

Are you ready for some classic fun? Rollback the years with these great arcade machines that are the perfect fit for any home!

Reasons to look for a good arcade machine

Tired of your current home gaming setup? Then it might be time for a change of pace.

While they have fallen out of popularity in recent years with the advent of home gaming systems like the PlayStation and Xbox, arcade machines are still a whole lot of fun. The games may not be as graphically complex, but they still offer a whole new gaming experience that can keep you and the whole family entertained for hours!

And unlike in the past, you no longer have to spend tons of money on a simple arcade game for your home. Instead, there are a bunch of companies on the market today kicking it old school by releasing classic arcade machines with classic games designed for home use.

There are tons of great arcade machines out there with timeless classics like Street Fighter, Pac-Man, and even modern ones that you can plug into your TV and enjoy these games in full HD, something that would have been unheard of 40 years ago!

And in this article, we’re taking a close look at 10 of the best arcade machines on the market today. We’ve chosen these options based on their quality, the games they have, the size, and a whole lot more to ensure that we only feature the top options!

Best overall

ARCADE1UP Street Fighter Arcade Machine

ARCADE1UP Street Fighter Arcade Machine

When it comes to buying video game machines, many people look for Street Fighter II. If you’re looking for a way to roll back the years with a classic fighting game, this is a great choice for you.

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Street Fighter is arguably one of the most popular arcade games in history. It featured unique gameplay, groundbreaking graphics, and can provide just about anyone with hours of fun. On top of that, you can play the game casually or competitively, making it a great pick for those building a game room at home.

One of the key factors of any home arcade system is the multiplayer mode. If you’re buying an arcade machine for your home, you need to make sure more than one person can play at a time. And since this machine is loaded with three different versions of Street Fighter II, you can play solo and with your friends for a more competitive atmosphere.

This machine features the original game and original controls, which is why it’s one of the most popular models on the market today. It’s also built 3/4th scale of the original machine, so it won’t take up as much space in the game room.

However, one flaw we found with this machine is the quality of the monitor. Customers complained that if you leave the machine on for too long, the monitor starts to fade. So, make sure to turn off the machine regularly. But even if it does lack in terms of durability, if you take care of it right, it can provide you and the family with endless hours of fun!

Best for kids

Quarter Arcades Bubble Bobble Arcade Machine

Quarter Arcades Bubble Bobble Arcade Machine

With this model, space isn’t an issue and you can easily place it on a shelf, in a closet, or under the table when not in use! Since it’s 1/4th size, it doesn’t take up the same space as traditional arcade machines while still offering the fun of the classic Bubble Bobble game.

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We kick things off with a great quarter-sized arcade machine that’s ideal for kids. We all want to introduce our children to the joy of arcade video games, but full-size machines can be impractical for a lot of people. So, if you’re looking for an option for your kids that doesn’t take up as much space, this is a great pick.

Even if this is a small model, it’s a high-quality machine. It has a great Bubble Bobble design, real wood and metal details, and it even comes with a collector’s box for those building a collection.

As the name suggests, this machine hosts the Bubble Bobble game, which enjoyed a lot of popularity during its prime. While it is a simple game, it has really creative graphics, fun gameplay, and people of just about all ages can play the game!

With that said, one thing to remember is that this is a very small machine. While it says 1/4th size, many customers complain that it is actually much smaller than that. In fact, you can view this as a tabletop machine that is much smaller than the original Bubble Bobble games.

While that isn’t exactly a deal-breaker, it’s still an important factor to consider if you plan on getting this Bubble Bobble game.

Best for adults

Arcade1Up Pac-Man Classic Arcade Machine

Arcade1Up Pac-Man Classic Arcade Machine

The fact that this is a compact, 3/4th size model that provides the full experience is a huge point in its favor. On top of that, the machine doesn’t just come with the classic Pac-Man, but it’s also loaded with Pac-Man Plus.

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One common complaint that many adults have about today’s video games is that they are too complicated! Whatever happened to the old-school simple games without a lot of smoke and mirrors, but just straight-to-the-point gameplay.

If you’re an adult struggling with the complex mechanics of modern video games, this is a great machine for you. While it wasn’t the first video game, Pac-Man is one of the most influential arcade games of all time. No arcade set-up is complete without a Pac-Man machine, and this Arcade1Up is one of the best replica models on the market today.

It features the classic Pac-Man design, with a bright yellow case and vibrant artwork on the sides. This machine can bring the real arcade experience into your home, but since it’s made smaller than regular machines, it’s much easier for you to find space for it.

One complaint we found with this machine is that it can be hard to assemble. Customers report that it can feel similar to setting up furniture from IKEA, which can be a bit annoying. On top of that, you won’t find out any factory defects until you assemble it, and setting up the machine only to find that you need to replace is a huge hassle.

Best cocktail arcade machine & best premium

Creative Outdoor Distributor Classic Arcade Machine

Creative Outdoor Distributor Classic Arcade Machine

With a great screen, volume control, multiple playing modes, and over 1,000 games, this would be a great addition to any public arcade, let alone a game room at home!

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If you want a machine that’s loaded with games, made well, and can be a lot of fun for a lot of people, this is a great option. If you’re building a game room in your house, cocktail arcade machines are a great idea since they are usually loaded with different games that are both single and multi-player.

This model is one of the best modern cocktail machines on the market today. While it is packed with over 1,000 different classic games, it sports a futuristic design with a tilting screen that allows you and your friends to play in multiple positions.

On top of that, we really enjoyed this machine because of how easy it is to set up. In fact, you barely have to set it up at all. Once you receive the machine in the mail or bring it home, all you have to do is plug it in and you’re ready to play.

This machine contains all the classics that you used to find in arcades in the 80s and 90s. Additionally, it has premium joysticks that are responsive and can last a long time. One downside however is that this is a fairly expensive model, but it comes with tons of cool features that justify the price.

Best tabletop

MSP Arcade1Up MS. Pac-Man Arcade Machine

MSP Arcade1Up MS. Pac-Man Arcade Machine

This model is the perfect middle ground for people who want the authentic Ms. Pac-Man experience without taking up a whole corner of the room. With this machine, all you need is a proper tabletop to start playing.

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When Ms. Pac-Man was released in 1981, it became an instant classic. It featured the same gameplay as the classic Pac-Man game, but with four different maps which made for a more varied and interactive experience. And with this machine, you can bring all the fun of Ms. Pac-Man home without worrying about space.

This isn’t just a smaller version of the original Ms Pac-Man machines. Instead, it’s a full-on tabletop arcade machine that provides all the fun with a fraction of the size. That way, you can play the game on the kitchen table, in the living room, in the basement, and in just about any part of the house.

Another cool feature of this machine is that it arrives fully assembled. The trouble many customers ran into with some of the other options on this list is that assembly is hard. Well, if that’s a problem for you, then the assembly on this model is non-existent, making it a very convenient option for most people.

One complaint that people had with this machine is the lack of a pause button. Granted, some of the classic machines don’t have this feature, so it’s forgivable. However, considering the fact that a pause button is necessary if you get a phone call or have to do something in the middle of the game, this is one of the few flaws present on this machine.

Best mini

My Arcade Bubble Bobble Mini Arcade Machine

My Arcade Bubble Bobble Mini Arcade Machine

With this option, you get the real Bubble Bobble experience at about 1/8th the size. So, you won’t have to worry about where to place this in the house since it easily stores in a cabinet when not in use and it even runs on batteries, which means you can take it around with you just about anywhere!

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While many people dream of having full mall-style arcade setups in their basement, that’s also an impractical dream for most. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the fun of the arcade into your home. If you need a mini-arcade machine that packs a punch, this model is one of the best in the business.

It features the classic Bubble Bobble game which was famous in classic arcade games and is also one of the easier and more captivating classic arcade games out there. Granted, in this day and age, Bubble Bobble isn’t as popular as Street Fighter and Pac-Man, but it’s a great way to introduce the new generation to a whole new side of video games, from a simpler time.

This is a mini-machine, so it’s designed to be a tabletop or collector’s option. With that said, keep in mind that this is still a fully-functional arcade machine so it’s not just a collector’s piece for aesthetics. The great thing about this option is you can collect a bunch of the different My Arcade mini models out there and create your own miniature arcade in the comfort of your own home!

However, we noticed in some customer reviews that some people really didn’t enjoy the size. While it’s cute, it was hard to play for some people since the screen was very small. Additionally, this is a very simple machine, so there is no demo mode and whenever you turn it on, it goes straight to the title screen.

Best for basement

Arcade1Up Star Wars Arcade Machine

Arcade1Up Star Wars Arcade Machine

The unique selling point of this model is the accurate controller. While this is a replica machine that isn’t full-size, it does offer the same controls as the Star Wars machines you might find in old-school 80s and 90s arcades.

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Picture a classic basement arcade set up. What did you see?

If you saw a bunch of arcade machines with science fiction themes, then this is the option for you. No one could have predicted the cultural impact Star Wars would have on multiple generations in the 70s. This influence stretches far and wide, to the point where it can be hard to remove the Star Wars theme from a lot of classic arcades.

In the 80s, it would have been impossible to go to an arcade without a Star Wars game, which is why this model brings in a whole lot of nostalgia that many people love. This machine comes with the original trilogy of Star Wars games, so you get multiple options. On top of that, it sports the classic vibrant designs of the 70s and 80s that are instantly recognizable decades later.

While it is fairly expensive, many people point out this is the closest you can get to the classic arcade machine without buying a vintage or incredibly expensive model. Since it is a bit more affordable than the other Star Wars arcade machines out there, the machine has some drawbacks like the lack of a vector screen and it’s a fairly small machine.

These are easily forgivable flaws and actually gives the machine a unique character that’s hard to find on other options on the market today.

Best affordable

Arcade 1Up Classic Galaga Arcade Machine

Arcade 1Up Classic Galaga Arcade Machine

There aren’t too many machines that offer Galaga and Galaxian together. This machine offers a genuine experience and could be just what you need in your basement or game room if you’re a fan of these games.

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Not everyone has the budget to splurge on authentic arcade machines from the 80s that are still in working condition. And that’s okay.

There are tons of great replicas and budget-friendly options on the market today and this Classic Cabinet Riser from Arcade1Up is a great example. It features the classic Galaga game which provides simple and captivating gameplay that can have you hooked for hours on end.

On top of that, this model even comes with classic arcade designs and art on the sides and back of the machine. So, if you place this in the game room or basement, it will instantly look like the classic arcade machines that we grew up playing.

This machine even has an extra game, Galaxian, if you’re looking for variety. It has a 17’’ screen which is large enough to play full games without squinting. However, many customers have reported that the assembly is pretty hard as the package sometimes arrives without screws, so be prepared for that kind of experience.

But once you get the machine up and running it runs just as good as the old school machines we used to see at the local arcade. And since it’s in your home, you might have even more fun and immersive experience!

Best for home

Arcade1Up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade Machine

Arcade1Up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade Machine

With this machine, you get to play with yourself and three other players. This is much better than the regular two-player options on other games, which easily sets this machine apart from the rest.

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Just about everyone is familiar with the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song. Whether it’s from the TV show, toys, or the video game, the TMNT franchise is one of the most instantly recognizable on the market today.

And with this Arcade1Up replica machine, you get to play the old-school video game like you were back in the 80s! You can even introduce the new generation to this gem of a game that provided us with endless fun back in the day.

Just like the other Arcade1Up replicas, this model comes with the classic design and video game already loaded inside. It’s not quite the size of a traditional arcade game, but it is large enough to provide an authentic experience.

On top of that, the controls, details, and joysticks are about as authentic as it gets without busting the bank. However, one complaint of some customers is that the game is too short.

While this largely depends on your skill level and how you play the game, you may not be able to play as much as on a Street Fighter or Pac-Man machine because of the relatively linear gameplay.

Best arcade console

Tander Pandora 9S+ Console Arcade Game

Tander Pandora 9S+ Console Arcade Game

It offers a different approach to arcade gaming and is more affordable than modern gaming consoles or even replica arcade machines. It has a similar layout to arcade controllers, so you get the full and authentic arcade experience without needing a dedicated space.

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While this is far from the classic arcade machine, we chose to feature this model because it brings the classic arcade games into the present context of gaming, which is consoles.

So, instead of just getting one single game, this console offers players over 4,000 different classic arcade games. To play with this machine, all you have to do is plug it into your TV and get to play.

It comes with the classic arcade controller set up that you can use to play Pac-Man, Street Fighter, and just about all of the classics we already mentioned on this list. And instead of taking up an entire corner of the house, the Pandora 9S+ is easily stored in a closet or cabinet when not in use.

The downside to this model is also its upside. Since this is more like a modern gaming console, you do lose some of the realism of playing on arcade machines.

While the controllers have bright and vibrant designs, you don’t get the classic cabinet, vector screens, and speakers that are built-in to arcade machines.

With that said, you’ll be hard-pressed to find an arcade machine that offers as much versatility and convenience as this console. In fact, you can even plug this into your own Xbox or PlayStation and use it as a gamepad for playing more modern games!

What to look for in a good arcade machine

The history of the arcade machine can be traced all the way back to the 1930s with the classic pinball games. However, just like any technology, as time started to pass, more and more companies came up with innovations and new approaches to making arcade gaming systems.

It took some time, but by the 60s, arcade games started to take their own identity. Along with pinball, skee ball, and some of the other manual games came video games like Grand Prix. And by the time the 70s came along, video games were all the rage with Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Pong, Tank, and Death Race.

Currently, home gaming systems like the Xbox and PlayStation have taken over. Since they are much stronger and more capable machines, it’s easy to see why they dominate the market. But still, companies see the value in arcade-style gaming machines, which is why you can find a ton of them online if you go shopping today.

And since they are more accessible and easier to find now, it can be hard to choose the right arcade machine for your needs. So, before you go shopping, here are a couple of key things you need to consider;

Games

One of the first things you have to consider are the types of games you plan on playing. Remember, most classic arcade machines do not work like modern consoles. Usually, machines will have a couple of games loaded into it or even just one game, with the design of the cabinet designed around the game.

So, if you’re looking to play classics like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, make sure to find machines loaded with those games. On the flip side, if you’re looking to play games like Street Fighter, then get machines made with those games pre-installed.

Usually, you can’t change the games already loaded into the machine without doing some complex modifications. So, from the get-go, make sure the arcade machine has the game you’re looking to play or introduce to the family.

Build quality

There are a lot of things that can happen when gaming. People might get too excited and hit the buttons too hard, or someone might bump into the machine when walking or playing the game. So, you need to make sure that the quality of the machine is high.

Since a lot of arcade machines are large and bulky, getting rid of a busted machine is pretty tough. Additionally, they can also cost a fair amount of money depending on the model you buy, so make sure it is tough enough to last you a long time.

Size

The classic arcade machine is about as tall as a person. So, it takes up a lot of space. If you’re looking to buy one of these machines for your home, you have to make sure that you have the proper space for it or else you might end up with a machine too large for your home.

Alternatively, you can also get smaller options available on the market. These are arcade machines more specifically designed for home use, so they don’t take up as much space. In fact, in this day and age, you may also be able to find arcade machines that are made for tabletop gaming or to be plugged into the TV.

FAQ

What are the most popular arcade games?

Throughout the years, there have been many popular arcade games. However, currently, the most famous ones are Street Fighter II, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders. These are the top three, which are followed by Donkey Kong and the House of the Dead.

Do companies still make arcade machines?

While they aren’t as popular as they used to be, there are still companies that make arcade machines for public and private arcade setups. Granted, there aren’t as many companies doing it now compared to the prime of the public arcade, but if you’re looking to roll back the years and kick it old school, then there are more than a few manufacturers on the market today that make high-quality arcade machines.

How do you maintain an arcade machine?

To maintain an arcade machine, you need to regularly inspect the games to see if it is in good condition. Additionally, regular cleaning of the exterior ensures that the buttons and other parts will work fine for a long time coming. Lastly, make sure to clean out the fans and vents while also vacuuming the exterior cabinet as regularly as possible.

Final verdict

There are many ways to build a game room in this day and age. You can choose to put in classic consoles, different tabletop games, or you can install full-on arcade machines to really invite a burst of nostalgia into your homes.

But when putting arcade machines in your house, you need to choose the right options. There are lots of things to consider such as the size, type of game, and design of the machine.

While it may sound like a bit too much to think about for a simple game, these tiny details make a huge difference in the experience. And once you find a machine that suits your needs and preferences, you’ll find it hard to stop playing!

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