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The 8 Best Arcade Machines & Cabinets for the Home: Reviews and Buying Guide!
Last updated 31st July, 2021

Playing on an arcade machine in the 2020s not only casts you back to the glory days of arcade-style gaming, but it also reminds you just how special arcade cabinets are. Their joypads, tactile button, encompassing screens and towering bodies give gaming a real presence, something modern consoles completely lack.

That’s exactly why an arcade machine may make the perfect addition to your rec room or mancave. And we’ve got you covered. After gleaning the market, here we’ll run through 8 of our favourite arcade machines to buy today. Then we’ll equip you with the key questions to ask yourself before you insert your coins and hit start!

Why Buy an Arcade Machine?

Relive Your Childhood

It’s no secret that arcades are more or less a thing of the past (at least in the West). Because of this finding a venue with top-class arcade machines which house your favourite games can be a high task. Getting your hands on your own arcade machine will not only blast you with that nostalgia on a regular basis, but it’ll also give you the opportunity to finally conquer some of those tough titles of yesteryear!

More Varied than Pinball

Pinball machines are a classic that we all know and love. But let’s face it, unless you’re really into it, it can get repetitive. Arcade machines on the other hand are often equipped with multiple games providing you with the spice of life—variety.

Great for Entertaining

Being such impressive and interactive machines, arcade machines inherently gravitate people towards them—and once they’re there they can’t get enough. This makes arcade machines a fantastic addition to any rec room as they’re sure to entertain family, friends and guests.

Top 8 Arcade Machines

1. Arcade1Up Street Fighter II Arcade Cabinet

Fighting games have always been among the most iconic in the arcade, and Street Fighter is certainly one of the greatest fighters out there. This machine houses three versions of the classic Street Fighter II—the Champion, New Challengers and Turbo editions.

Equipped with two player controls and a glorious 17-inch colour screen, you’ll be able to take on the hard-to-master world of Street Fighter alone or face off with a friend.

This arcade cabinet’s slightly smaller dimensions also make it great if you’re tight on space. That said, if you’re hoping to play standing you may want to purchase it with one of Arcade 1Up’s boosters.

Not a fan of Street Fighter II? Don’t fret, you can alternatively go for Mortal Kombat II!

  • Number of games: 3
  • Machine type: Arcade1Up
  • Screen size: 17-inch Colour LCD
  • Machine size: 3/4 (116cm 48cm x 58cm)
  • Coin mechanism: No
  • Extras: Optional Stool
  • Price: ££
  • Brand: Arcade 1Up
  • Retailer: Home Leisure Direct

2. Arcade1Up Pac-Man Light-Up Marquee Arcade Machine

The icon of all arcade games is most certainly Pac-Man, so if you want to turn that nostalgia up to eleven this may be the machine for you.

Featuring an iconic, red-balled joystick, two buttons and some incredibly playful art, this machine houses two versions of the iconic Pac-Man: Pac-Man and Pac-Man Plus.

Due to the cabinet’s slightly smaller dimensions if you’re hoping to play standing you may want to purchase it with one of Arcade 1Up’s boosters.

Not a fan of Pac-Man? Well, how about Galaga?

  • Number of games: 2
  • Machine type: Arcade1Up
  • Screen size: 17-inch Colour LCD
  • Machine size: 3/4 (116cm 48cm x 58cm)
  • Coin mechanism: No
  • Extras: None
  • Price: ££
  • Brand: Arcade 1Up
  • Retailer: Home Leisure Direct

3. ArcadePro Nebula 3442 Cocktail Arcade Machine

If you’re looking for incredible variety and full customisation in a cutting-edge machine, ArcadePro’s Nebula has you covered.

Pre-loaded with over three thousand games, two full sets of controls and a tiltable screen (allowing you to experience it as a cocktail arcade machine or a standard, standing screen) the functionality of this machine is hard to rival. If 3000 games weren’t enough, you can also download from a library of 12,000 games straight over the internet as the machine is Wi-Fi enabled.

Saving game progress and high scores, this machine is ideal for single player forays into the realm of arcade or all-out multiplayer sessions. And given that it’s exclusive to Home Leisure Direct, you won’t find it elsewhere.

  • Number of games: 3442
  • Machine type: multi-Game
  • Screen size: 26-inch HD Tilting Screen
  • Machine size: Unique, standing (72cm x 98cm x 75cm)
  • Coin mechanism: No
  • Extras: 64GB SD Card
  • Price: £££
  • Brand: Arcadepro
  • Retailer: Home Leisure Direct

4. Cosmic Ultimate 2500 Multi Game Arcade Machine

Packing 2500 titles into a nostalgia-ready body, the Cosmic Ultimate 2500 combines the best new and old while still celebrating the aesthetic of the arcade.

Housing two sets of controls, each sporting a commercial quality joystick and illuminated buttons, players will be spoilt for choice as they rummage through the easy-to-navigate menus on this large, vivid 20-inch LCD.

This is a great choice for those wanting to endeavour into the mass of arcade classics, while also offering a lot for commercial venues. But wherever this machine ends up, it’s clear that players will be spoilt for choice.

  • Number of games: 2500
  • Machine type: Multi Game
  • Screen size: 20-Inch LCD Flatscreen
  • Machine size: Full Size (160cm 60cm x 73cm)
  • Coin mechanism: No
  • Extras: None
  • Price: £££
  • Brand: Cosmic
  • Retailer: Liberty Games

5. Pac-Man 40th Anniversary Arcade1Up Tabletop Arcade Machine

If you’re short on space, a tabletop arcade machine may still let you get those arcade thrills without giving up a whole portion of a room. This mini arcade machine celebrates the icon of the arcade: Pac-Man offering up both the original game and cute art all over the machine’s body.

But it’s not just Pac-Man you’re getting with this machine, it also comes with Pac & Pal, Galaga and Dig Dug! Letting you get the best of three franchises over four arcade classics.

  • Number of games: 4
  • Machine type: Tabletop Arcade Machine
  • Screen size: 8-Inch Colour LCD Screen
  • Machine size: Tabletop (40cm x 25cm x 28cm)
  • Coin mechanism: No
  • Extras: None
  • Price: £
  • Brand: Arcade 1Up
  • Retailer: Home Leisure Direct

6. AtGames Legends Gamer Mini Arcade Machine

Arcade nostalgia has two clear sides: the games and the machines. AtGames’ Legends Mini Arcade Console homes in on the first, allowing players to experience 100 classic games right out of the box without needing to sacrifice space in your rec room. Simply hook the machine up to a monitor, and you’re ready to relive the arcade—joystick and buttons included.

While the console ships with 100 titles, it’s also incredibly upgradable, allowing you to BYOG (bring your own game) by uploading your own games, streaming them or accessing ArcadeNet’s online library.

For offering the thrills of arcade without breaking the bank or requiring a mass of space, AtGames’ offering will be a great fit for many.

  • Number of games: 100
  • Machine type: Arcade Console (No Monitor)
  • Screen size: None, Requires External Monitor
  • Machine size: Mini (10cm x 51cm x 22 cm)
  • Coin mechanism: No
  • Extras: Charging cable, HDMI cable, Micro USB AC adaptor
  • Price: £
  • Brand: AtGames
  • Retailer: Liberty Games

7. Namco Tekken Arcade Machine

While flashy, 21st century arcade machines may have fresh bells and whistles, they aren’t exactly the authentic arcade experience. On the other hand, this 1990s machine of Namco’s iconic fighter Tekken is the real deal.

Fully reconditioned, this unit allows players to relive the glory days of the arcade with a machine from that golden age.

The console itself can be played either one or two-player, giving players the choice of eight iconic characters each with speedy responsive controls which hit extra hard on the huge 28-inch screen.

  • Number of games: 1
  • Machine type: Classic, Reconditioned.
  • Screen size: 28-inch Original Screen (1994)
  • Machine size: Full Size (208cm x 90cm x 90cm)
  • Coin mechanism: Yes
  • Extras: None
  • Price: £££
  • Brand: Namco
  • Retailer: Liberty Games

8. Sega Star Wars Trilogy Arcade Machine

Combining two of the most nostalgia-ready parts of late 20th century culture, this machine delivers an iconic take on the original Star Wars trilogy boxed up in an attractive, all-encompassing machine.

The machine’s hulking size may be large for some, but if you’re a hardcore fan you won’t be able to get enough.

The game itself is a 3D shooter which provides different gaming modes combining flight, first person shooting and good-old lightsaber duelling. Produced by the gaming giants of yesteryear, Sega, this is certainly one iconic machine.

  • Number of games: 1
  • Machine type: Classic, Reconditioned.
  • Screen size: N/A (Large)
  • Machine size: Full Size (200cm x 75cm x 94cm)
  • Coin mechanism: Yes
  • Extras: None
  • Price: ££££
  • Brand: Sega
  • Retailer: Liberty Games

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Buying Guide

Whether you’re stuck for choice or are on the verge of forking out on your dream machine, there are some key questions you should ask yourself before you commit to any machine.

Classic, Arcade1Up or Multi Game arcade machines?

The differentiating factors between these types of machines come in three major parts: size, number of games and nostalgia.

  • Classic Arcade Machines are old-school machines which have been reconditioned for contemporary use. These most often will house one game within the console’s original body. As these were built for the arcade, they are generally much larger than more modern machines.
  • Arcade 1Up Machines offer a taste of arcade nostalgia in a slightly smaller package. This is great for those looking to save on space. Like their classic counterparts, these machines tend to contain few games—most often under 5.
  • Multi Game Arcade Machines are, of course, the kings of choice. These machines will offer you from 10 to a few thousand games, often providing you with the option to upload or download additional games to the device. These machines can vary in body design, from home consoles to modern takes on arcade machines.

How many games?

This question really comes down to your use case. If you are a hardcore fighting-game fan and are looking to master the original Tekken, perhaps a one-game Tekken arcade machine would suit your needs. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get an overview of the arcade genre, the more games the merrier.

While you may imagine getting tired of a single-game arcade machine remember that gaming is about the players, so the machine will likely get a great amount of mileage with friends, family and guests no matter the game.

How much Space?

It’s no secret that full-sized machines are massive! Thus, it’s worth getting out the measuring tape to ensure you have enough space to fit your machine of choice into your rec room.

Generally speaking, classic machines will be the largest, modern full-sized machines will follow, Arcade1Up machines will be smaller still (around ¾ of a full-size) and tabletop or mini machines are the smallest. And if space is a real concern, you can always consider an arcade console.

Your budget

As with any purchase, budget is important.

New multigame machines are generally more expensive, for good reason, while modern single-game machines are quite affordable.

Reconditioned classic machines are often at the highest end of the spectrum but is the premium that comes with knowing you’re purchasing a piece of history!

Whatever your budget, ensure you stay within it and choose wisely.

FAQs

How much does an arcade machine cost?

Arcade Machines can vary from around £100 to around £5000. Prices will vary between machines but are mainly driven by size, age, rarity, technology and branding.

What is an Arcade1Up machine?

Arcade1Up machines place old titles into fresh new arcade machines giving classic arcade games a fresh lick of paint and a new home. They are slightly smaller at around ¾ the size of a full-sized machine.

How big is an arcade machine?

Arcade machines can vary in size greatly depending on the age of the machine and the game it provides. Traditional large cabinets are approximately 200cm x 75cm x 94cm while modern machines tend to be smaller.

Our Favourite Luxury Arcade Machine

Nu-Gen Media Arcade Machine

Truly bringing the classic arcade into the 21st century, the Nu-Gen Media Arcade Machine transforms the arcade cabinet into a sleek, HD system.

Offering up two full sets of classic arcade controls, this console is ready to press start on over 7000 possible titles. This library of titles consists of both classic arcade-machine games and one’s from classic consoles. But Nu-Gen’s machine goes a step further: allowing seamless integration with the PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One to bring players a taste of modern gaming.

Thus, for a perfect flavour of old and new housed in an eye-catching machine, you need look no further than the Nu-Gen Media.

It’s also worth noting that there is a more affordable version of the machine which only provides access to the classic arcade titles.

Conclusion

By looking at the market, it’s clear that arcade machine’s aren’t just a thing of the past. People across the globe continue to enjoy the unique thrills that they offer.

Because of this, the arcade machine market is more diverse than ever allowing you to choose from reconditioned classics, new-age cabinets and plenty of smaller options.

Through our deep research, tests and reviews the machines we have selected on this list are our favourites on the market right now. If we had to choose just one for our top spot it would be the Arcade1Up Pac-Man Light-Up Marquee Arcade Machine thanks to its space-friendly size, affordable price tag and choice of an absolutely classic game.

Now that you’re familiar with some of the best arcade machines on the market and the key questions from our buying guide, you’re ready to find the perfect machine for yourself. Let it bring you endless hours of entertainment!

Affiliate disclaimer: on some or all of the products above, we receive a small commission if you make a purchase via our site. This does not impact the price you pay, but it allows us to keep helping people by writing these reviews, so thank you!


Tom
Co-founder at Mancaves HQ

A true man cave enthusiast. When he isn't trawling through Instagram looking for new ideas, you can find him navigating through the streets of London.