Arcade Machine Reviews

The video arcade machine never faded away. It just moved to another location. Instead of its prominence within the video arcade, these machines moved to restaurants and bars. And, when a new generation of players began to shoot aliens and eat ghosts, they wanted to know how to get the machines in their homes.

So, manufacturers began to look forward. Instead of putting one or two games on a machine, they added 10, then a few dozen, then a few hundred. Because, in the end, older games didn't require the massive space they do know. The graphics, sounds, and AI weren't there.

So, instead of gigabytes worth of data, they uploaded kilobytes. Then, they shipped them out. And not only to eating or drinking establishments. They went to people's homes. Now, those who are used to high-concept, real-time, first-person games now enjoy the simpler pleasures of racking up points.

And you can have this as well. The question is, what should you buy? Do you want something that has thousands of games or only a few classics? And, how easy do you want it to be for others to play? To answer those questions, here are five of the best arcade games to consider.

Top 5: Arcade Game Machines For Home Review (Cocktail & Full Sized Arcades)

Recommendation #2

Creative Arcades Full-Size Commercial Grade Cabinet Arcade Machine | Trackball | 3500 Classic Games | 4 Sanwa Joysticks | 2 Stools | 32" Screen | 3-Year Warranty


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Recommendation #1

Creative Arcades Full Size Commercial Grade Cocktail Arcade Machine | Trackball | Three-Sided | 1162 Classic Games | 4 Sanwa Joysticks | 2 Stools | 3 Year Warranty | 26" Lifting Screen


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Prime Arcades, LLC Cocktail Arcade Machine 1162 Games in 1 with 80's and 90's Classics Includes 2 Chrome Stools 5 Year Warranty

Do you want games? Well, the LLC Cocktail Arcade Machine has 1,162 of them to choose from. And they're all favorites from the 80s and 90s. Some of them you may barely remember.

In other words, it's an arcade machine for the true aficionado of titles from that area. All one needs to do is look at the colorful tempered glass top to see what games it offers. They range from 80s classics like Frogger and Q*bert to 90s games like the popular The Simpsons challenge.

The 22" LED monitor displays the colorful images as they would have been seen at the video arcade. The advantage to the LLC Cocktail Arcade Machine is it allows you to sit down. This is thanks to two chrome stools included with the Prime Arcades machine. Add another pair of seats, and a group of four can help each other out in multi-player adventures.

The LLC Cocktail Arcade Machine is delivered fully assembled to your home or business. All you need to do is plug it in to start perusing the large game menu. In addition to its packaging and game selection, this Prime Arcades machine comes with a five-year warranty for a long-lasting experience.


  • Over 1,000 games included.
  • Comes fully assembled (plug and play).
  • Five-year warranty included.


  • Trackball does not come with this model.

Prime Arcades Cocktail Arcade Machine 412 Games in 1 Commerical Grade with Set of 2 Chrome Stools 5 Year Warranty

Five stars across the board for this Prime Arcades Console. This is a slimmed down model with only 412 games available. Nevertheless, it still features continued favorites like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Galaxian, and Space Invaders.

In addition, it includes game sequels as well. So, customers have the opportunity to play the original Joust or Joust 2 to see the difference.

The LED screen on this Prime Arcades Cocktail Arcade is 19", making it around the average of classic video arcade consoles. It's covered in a sheet of tempered glass. So, spilling a drink or other liquid on the top will not damage the screen or electronic components.

No assembly is required for this Prime Arcades model. Once it's received, all you need to do is plug it in and decide if you'll put it on free or coin play. The games displayed in a list and quickly load.

Those who have already purchased this machine are extremely impressed by Prime Arcades' customer service department. They respond immediately to help users navigate the controls, switch to coin-operated play, or determine if machine problems are under their five-year warranty.


  • 412 classic games.
  • Titles included Pac-Man, Frogger, and Joust.
  • Tempered glass cover.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Five-year warranty.
  • Comes with two chrome-plated stools.


  • Some classics like Defender, Rampage, and Mario Bros are not available.
  • No trackball available on this model.

Pop-A-Shot New Official Home Dual Shot Basketball Arcade Game - 16 Individual Games - Durable Construction - Near 100% Scoring Accuracy - Multiple Height Settings - Large LED Scoring System

Whether at a sports bar, arcade, or a friend's home, you've probably seen a Pop-A-Shot. As their website touts, it's the original arcade basketball game.

The newest version is for home use, and it features a lot. There are 10 different basketball games available with six audio options. These competitions can either be for yourself or against another person. Furthermore, once the games begin, Pop-a-Shot's infrared sensors help to ensure a 100% scoring accuracy.

The Home Dual Shot Basketball Arcade Game comes with seven basketballs and a large LED scoreboard at the machine's base. This Pop-a-Shot allows adjustments for the height of the players and the room where it's put together.


  • Dual Shot capabilities.
  • 10 games available.
  • Six sound options.
  • Large LED scoreboard.
  • Height can be adjusted for players or installation space.
  • Comes with seven basketballs and an airpump.


  • Instructions need clarification.
  • It takes an average of two to three hours for assembly.

Creative Arcades Full-Size Commercial Grade Cabinet Arcade Machine | Trackball | 3500 Classic Games | 4 Sanwa Joysticks | 2 Stools | 32" Screen | 3-Year Warranty

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This Creative Arcades' Cabinet Arcade Machine is for the ultimate fan of arcade games from the 1980s and 90s. Within the full-size arcade cabinet, you'll spend hours, days, or weeks going through the 3500 games available.

Those who purchase this console get more than just the classics like Pac-Man and Galaga. It also features popular, but experimental, games. Two of the most famous included in this full-size cabinet are Space Ace and Dragon's Lair.

Creative Arcades Full-Size Commercial Grade Cabinet Arcade Machine | Trackball | 3500 Classic Games | 4 Sanwa Joysticks | 2 Stools | 32" Screen | 3-Year Warranty

The console itself features everything you need to take part in single or multi-player games. The 32" LED screen provides a clear view for all players, no matter what joystick they use. And there are four of them, each with corresponding button controls. In addition, a full-sized trackball is situated in the center for ease of use.

The Creative Arcades Full-Size Commercial Grade Cabinet Arcade Machine comes fully assembled. All that's needed is to plug it in and determine if it will be played for free or coin. It also comes with a three-year warranty should something happen with the console or the software.


  • Full size arcade console.
  • 3500 games.
  • Comes with classics like Space Ace and Dragon's Lair.
  • Plug-and-play startup.
  • Two chrome stools are included.


  • High price.
  • List of included games is not available.

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Creative Arcades Full Size Commercial Grade Cocktail Arcade Machine | Trackball | Three-Sided | 1162 Classic Games | 4 Sanwa Joysticks | 2 Stools | 3 Year Warranty | 26" Lifting Screen

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1162 games and a tilt screen. Creative Arcades' Cocktail Arcade Machine goes a step further in design. The tempered glass console with a 26" LED screen has the ability to tilt to a 60-degree angle.

The result harkens back to arcade machines from the 1980s and 90s. Actually, thanks to the bigger screen, it's an upgrade. In addition, you don't have to jump to individual machines. Your favorites are installed in one unit.

Creative Arcades Full Size Commercial Grade Cocktail Arcade Machine | Trackball | Three-Sided | 1162 Classic Games | 4 Sanwa Joysticks | 2 Stools | 3 Year Warranty | 26" Lifting Screen

This Creative Arcades machine comes with two chrome-plated stools and four joysticks. It becomes a one- or two-player setup when the screen is tilted. The unit comes fully assembled, so all you need to do is plug it in. You also have the option of free play or charging for use.


  • Tilting screen that emulates classic machines.
  • Over 1,000 games.
  • Trackball and eight-position joysticks.


  • Two-player setup only when the screen is tilted.
  • List of games not available.

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Buying Guide

Needless to say, consumers won't be bored with the choices available. The three cocktail and one full-size video game machines average over 1500 games while the Pop-a-Shot offers 10 games. In addition, the home basketball machine is a prime source of exercise.

All of the video arcade machines feature large LED screens and tempered glass. Their games range from the classics (Pac-Man, Galaga) to ones not always on people's list of favorites (Golden Tee, Space Ace). And, when looking at the price, they average around the $2,400 range.

best arcade machine

In the end, the one you should choose is the Creative Arcades Full-Size Commercial Grade Cocktail Arcade Machine with tilt screen. Here's why:

  • It has the right amount of games. While Creative Arcades' other machine on this list holds a whopping 3,500 titles, that can be too many to go through. Most likely, you'll have a number of favorites and some new ones to dabble with.
  • The tilting console is a nice touch. Yes, it limits the number of players; however, there weren't that many games made in the 80's and 90's that featured four-player capabilities.
  • The price is right, you get a lot for the money:
  • Tilt screen.
  • 1,162 games.
  • Trackball.
  • Four joysticks.
  • Three-year warranty.
Creative Arcades Full Size Commercial Grade Cocktail Arcade Machine | Trackball | Three-Sided | 1162 Classic Games | 4 Sanwa Joysticks | 2 Stools | 3 Year Warranty | 26" Lifting Screen

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Commonly Asked Questions

Now, it's your turn to look at the machine and decide for yourself. When you do, consider these questions.

What are the different types of arcade machines I could buy?

There are lots of different arcade machines for you to choose from if you're looking to purchase one for your game room, family room, or some other room in your house. Below are just a few of the game options you may want to consider:

  • Driving games
  • Pinball machines
  • Basketball games
  • Golf games
  • Shooting games
  • Crane machines
  • Redemption games (where you earn tickets)
  • Video games

How do I decide which arcade machine to purchase?

If you're looking to add a new arcade machine to your home, there are a few different things you'll want to think about before making a purchase. First, think about your likes and dislikes. Is there a certain game type that you enjoy playing more than the other?

Next, think about whether you have any strong childhood memories involving a particular game or type of game. If you're looking to relive those memories or share a piece of your past with your kids or someone else in your life, you may want to look for that game or something similar.

You should also think about who will be playing the game. Will it be just you? Other adults? Children?

Another thing you'll want to consider is the available space you have for the machine. Consider how large each of the different games you're looking at are and think about how well they'll fit into your space. Also take note on how easy (or even possible) it will be to disassemble the game to get it to fit through your doorway or other tighter areas in your house to make it to the room where you'd like to put it.

Finally, consider your budget. Arcade machines come in a wide range of prices, so be sure to select a product that fits in your budget.

Do arcade games come apart to fit into a house?

Yes, most arcade games can be disassembled into smaller pieces to fit into a house. However, some of these pieces may still be too large to fit through doorways or down a flight of stairs.

Before purchasing a machine for home use, take measurements of your house and do some research on how large each component of the machine will be.

Do you have to pay to play an arcade game you buy for your home?

No, you will not have to pay every time you play an arcade game in a home. Arcade machines allow you to turn on 'free play,' which will allow the machine to be played without inserting any coins, bills, or tokens.

What type of maintenance do arcade machines require?

To ensure proper functioning, you will need to keep your machine clean. To do this, dust it off and wipe it down frequently. You can use a can of compressed air to clean the electronic components of the machine.

You will want to be mindful with where you place your machine as well. Placing it away from direct sunlight will help preserve the integrity of the design and prevent it from fading.

How much does an arcade machine cost?

There are a number of factors that will impact the cost of different arcade games. New machines will typically cost more than used options. The size of the game will also influence the price you'll have to pay.

Some older games that are rare or difficult to find may also cost more than other models.

How much does it cost to operate an arcade machine?

The amount of time you play your machine as well as the specific product you have will impact the amount of energy it uses. You can expect to spend somewhere between $1.00 and $10.00 a month to run your machine for light to moderate use.

Is It Worth the Investment To Buy An Arcade Machine For Home?

Is this a machine you'll use alone, with your family, or with friends? Or, do you eventually think it will be something else to place empty soda cans or laundry?

Do You Have the Patience to Learn the Games?

Though you may know how to play Donkey Kong, Tempest, and Centipede by heart, do you know how to play the other games that come with the console? Better yet, do you have the patience to learn them?

short history of arcade machines

Let's go way back to the early 1900s. What can you do for fun? Roll a hoop down the street? Read a book? We are now so overwhelmed by entertainment choices that it's hard to imagine what to do in an age before everyone had electricity.

It was at this time that the first arcade machines came into existence. At penny arcades like those at Coney Island you could go and have good time by playing some of these first machines:

  • Early pinball machines
  • Automatic fortune tellers
  • Slot machines
  • Coin shooters
  • Peep shows (not that kind though!)

These early arcade machines were located in penny arcades, named for the popular price of playing one of these machines at the time. Skee-ball is one notable game from late in this period still around in arcades today, where arcades still exist at least.

Pinball Wizardry

By the 1930s, the first true pinball machines came into being. While still a far cry from the elaborate games to follow, the general idea was already there to see and play.

Throughout the 1930s and 40s these games competed with each other for a public demanding more excitement in their gaming experiences. During this time there were many developments:

  • 1931 - Baffle Ball, the original pinball machine
  • 1932 - Juggle Ball, which incorporated a sliding arm for more player control
  • 1933 - Contact, the first electric machine
  • 1936 - Bally Bumper, with spring-activated scoring
  • 1947 - Humpty Dumpty, finally bringing player controlled flippers to the game

It took almost twenty years to go from rolling a ball around a board to get to actually using flippers to control the ball. What was to come in arcade machines would blow the minds of the original inventors and innovators.

Through the 50s, 60s, and 70s there were a few hybrid electro-mechanical games that prepped the public for a later boom in arcade gaming. Some companies like Sega and Nintendo even got their start at this time.

Electronic Machines

It's no secret that computer programmers often enjoy gaming. They weren't essentially much different in personalities back in the early 60s. As soon as prices hit a level that allowed mass production, their programs went viral.

1972 saw the real beginning of a boom in arcade gaming. This was the year Pong appeared, along with Computer Space. Within a decade, full arcades of new machines would move these games to the mass market.

From 1978 to 1988, the computer world went through a revolution. Gaming benefitted greatly, as you can see from the progression of games over this Golden Age of gaming:

  • 1978 - Space Invaders
  • 1980 - Pac-Man
  • 1981 - Donkey Kong and Frogger
  • 1983 - Star Wars
  • 1985 - Vs. Super Mario Bros.
  • 1986 - Out Run

Out Run, released by Sega, is considered the end of the Golden Age of Arcade Gaming. The same revolution that brought arcade machines to the masses also allowed for home consoles to take over as the main gaming platform.

Arcade machines needed to offer something special that the home console couldn't. In 1991 Capcom did just that.

The Arcades Come Back

Street Fighter II basically made the 90s for arcade gaming. Without it there would be no Mortal Kombat or any number of other copycats. The thrill of standing and virtually fighting your friends in an arcade saved these places from serious decline.

The old games were still there, from Skee-ball to pinball to Pac-Man. People loved these old machines, just as a new generation loved the excitement of the fighting shooting games. But the rebirth was not to last.

Consoles brought all of the excitement and more into the home with longer-form gaming that just didn't work well in an arcade setting. With perfect fights, you can finish Street Fighter II in under 20 minutes. People wanted more out of their gaming.

The Last Arcade Machines

A new golden age of gaming left arcades far behind, and from its peak revenue of over $22 billion in 1981 it fell to under a billion dollars in the early 2000s. No game in the top-15 of all-time sales came out after 2000.

Arcade machines weren't finished, and they still aren't. Dance Dance Revolution proved that people still want an experience that you can't get at home. Many arcades are "family fun centers." It's all the wholesome goodness of Coney Island, but now.

There's also a big nostalgia market. Home arcade units are popular, offering multiple games on one machine.

Is there a future for arcade machines? The '90s and 2000s proved that people would still turn out for a combination of nostalgia, wholesome fun, and innovative gaming experiences. It already seems a bit late for virtual reality to make a big impact though.

The future of arcade gaming looks about the same as its present. Arcades are now a family experience, where Generation X parents can relive their teenage years while their Gen Z offspring can practice their Skee-Ball prowess. Maybe the games cost more than a penny, but the experience has gone back to its wholesome roots.

Final Verdict

If you do, then definitely consider adding the Creative Arcades machine to your decor. If not, it might be better to think about another type of game, like the Pop-A-Shot.

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