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Your Own Arcade for Home

Building your own home arcade is a dream of many who grew up in arcades as a kid. Due to the prohibitive space and budget requirements, it was always a pipe dream for many to own their own arcade at home. Fortunately, as technology has progressed an arcade for home has become a passionate hobby for many. There are now numerous options to build your own personal classic arcade game room in the comfort of your home, complete with all the Shinobi, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, and Pac-Man you could possibly want. From the economical and nostalgic Arcade1Up lineup to building your own DIY arcade cabinet, there are options galore to immerse yourself in the arcade vibe once again.

Arcade1Up for At Home Arcade Games

If you have always dreamed of owning a classic arcade machine but couldn’t afford the expensive one, or didn’t want to mess with all the upkeep, then Arcade1Up is the perfect solution for you. Arcade1Up specializes in providing 3/4 size replicas of real arcade cabinets with multiple classic arcade games. Their cabinets feature classic arcade games, immersive full-color displays, and hi-res sound. They also have exclusive controls for each game, making it the only home arcade machine with officially licensed cabinet artwork.

In addition to their expansive line-up of stand-up arcades, they have also branched out into other offerings like their Infinity Game Table, countercades, partycades, and even a couchcade. Countercades and partycades are very similar in that they are much smaller versions of an arcade cabinet that can fit on a countertop or even be attached to the wall. The couchcade allows you to connect it to your television, and play the game from the control panel that sits on your lap, similar to the old Nintendo NES Advantage.

Arcade1Up’s most recent offerings include advanced features such as light-up marquees, clear deck protectors with LED lights, and Wi-Fi connectivity for challenging other players online or playing together. Additionally, they also offer their Pro/XL line of arcade cabinets that are basically the same height as the real arcade and offer improved hardware components.


A multicade is an arcade cabinet that comes equipped with numerous games already pre-installed. While Arcade1Up cabinets often come with anywhere from three to twelve additional games, most multicades (like the AtGames Legends series) include hundreds or even thousands of games. Multicades also commonly offer numerous devices to assist with playing various games like a trackball, spinner, or light guns. Multicades are often larger than the Arcade1Up models, which means they take up more room and weigh more. Multicades are perfect for those with limited space but still want to play a variety of classic arcade games.

DIY Arcade Machines

For the DIY enthusiast, building your own arcade machine can be a great way to remember childhood days and get a feel for how they used to be. When we were children, we would save our lunch money for our favorite coin-grabbing entertainment. These days, however, we’re tempted to build our own, which allows us to customize it exactly to our liking. Even if we don’t have piles of cash, we can still create a retro-inspired machine that can provide hours of enjoyment.

DIY arcade machines are commonly comprised of a Raspberry Pi loaded with retropie and numerous ROMs of classic games. Downloading and configuring the games to work with retropie can be a headache and is frustrating if you are not technically inclined. Fortunately, there are plenty of vendors who sell pre-modded control panels that already have this taken care of for you. Many are compatible with an Arcade1Up cabinet, so you can purchase an Arcade1Up used for cheap and buy a mod kit with instructions to replace the factory Arcade1Up PCB.

If you are inclined to build an arcade cabinet, you need to use 3 or 4-inch pieces of MDF. The next step requires the installation of speakers and control wiring. Once the electronics are installed, you’ll need to test them to make sure everything works properly. Depending on your budget and skill level, you can even hire an electrician to complete the wiring for you. Besides that, you can use craft paste and poster paper to “wallpaper” the cabinet with pictures and other elements. There are a variety of pre-designed graphics that are available online for purchase that you can add to your cabinet to give it an authentic look and feel.

Digital or Mechanical Pinball

If you’re looking for a pinball machine for your home arcade, you’ve probably come across a few options. A mechanical pinball machine is the classic choice for home use and features lots of moving parts, so it can get expensive. A digital pinball machine, on the other hand, is more affordable and comes with multiple tables loaded.

A traditional mechanical pinball table will commonly cost thousands of dollars and requires substantial upkeep to ensure it continues to work properly. Part of the allure of a digital pinball machine is that they are available for a fraction of the cost and often come with much less hassle.

Arcooda, a division of the Highway Group in Australia, has been developing a virtual pinball machine that combines the classic feel of mechanical pinball with the flexibility of digital technology. This product will cost under five thousand dollars and does not require a dedicated room. The system can be controlled remotely, so you don’t even need to be in the same room as the machine. The Arcooda arcade version will be compatible with bill acceptors and card readers, and will also support remote access and ticket redemption. The Arcooda version also features an LCD display, so you can view advertisements and promotions.

Skee Ball Machine for Home

A Skee Ball machine offers a great way to play a traditional non-video arcade game in the comfort of your own home. Skee ball is often a long wooden board with rings at the end. The objective is to roll balls up the board and into the different sizes of rings. Depending on which ring you are able to land the ball in, you will be given different points. One thing to keep in mind with a skee ball machine is that they are fairly large and take up a lot of room. So be sure you have enough space to play the game and still move around before splurging.

Home Arcade Basketball Game

A home arcade basketball game is another common non-video game found in arcades. The objective of the game is to sink the basketball in the net as much as possible to score points. Many of these games dispensed tickets, based on your score, that can be redeemed at the counter for prizes. If you want a surge of nostalgia and want to do something a little “extra”, you can set up a counter and provide plush toys for kids at your home arcade to really dig into the arcade feels.

Home Arcade Decor

For a retro vibe, your home arcade decor is a great way to bring your gaming memories home. Some of the common decorations you may find in home arcades include LED or blacklights for lighting, an authentic arcade rug, retro wall art, or even a pub table for the room. Decorations are limited only to your imagination, available space, and budget. Filling up a room with rows of Arcade1Up cabinets is all well and good, but adding that arcade vibe really enhances the mood.

Final Words

The traditional arcade has been dying a slow death for the last 20 years. Japan still has a thriving arcade culture, but the United States has moved to stay-at-home online gaming culture. Fortunately, with a wide range of options currently available, building your own personal home arcade with all the flashing lights and unique sounds isn’t out of the realm of possibilities anymore. Arcade1Up has provided millions of avid retro arcade gamers an affordable option to relive their days as kids without needing to take out a second mortgage. Furthermore, the emulation of classic games has never been better, so if you are familiar with the technology, it isn’t difficult to set up your own arcade system on an old PC or Raspberry Pi.

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