By the time I was old enough to go out on my own, arcades pretty much only existed in shopping malls, bowling alleys, and pizza restaurants. I wish I had gotten the authentic 80s arcade experience that I now get to simulate through the rise of bar-arcades like Seattle's Gameworks. The Germans have a word, fernweh, which means a longing for a place you've never been.
Unboxing the Pac-Man Quarter Scale Arcade Cabinet from Rubber Road LTD and Numskull gave me serious fernweh. I think Pac-Man is as synonymous with gaming as Mario and Tetris, it's a game that everyone, 80s kid or not, has a connection to. When I was growing up my mom had a Tommytronic Pac-Man machine that looked like a yellow frisbee. Before my first Playstation I played Pac-Man every chance I could get. Growing up in pseudo-arcades at the mall, I can't imagine an arcade without Pac-Man. Nor can I imagine a home arcade without a Pac-Man cabinet.
A Collector's Item That Really Feels Like A Collector's Item
Home arcades are huge right now, both in the miniature replica and the DIY full size variety. We've covered several of them here, but none took my breath away like this collector's edition Pac-Man cabinet. This is the complete package: just take a look at the box it comes in with original art and gold "Collectors Edition" label. I'm half tempted to find a spot to display the box itself.
An accompanying Certificate of Authenticity certifies that your cabinet is from a limited 10,000 unit run. Numskull currently offers a Galaga replica as well and has pre-order available for Dig Dug, Space Invaders, Track & Field, Galaxian, and Ms. Pac-Man. Just imaging a full shelf of Quarter Arcade machines makes me salivate. Knowing they're limited and rare just makes me want them even more.
The cherry on top of the whole package is an engraved collector's coin with Numskull's logo on one side and a Pac-Man design on the other. I keep mine mine right in front of my cabinet because I think it adds something really cool to the display. If I had the whole set they would each have their unique coin right in front.
The cabinet itself is obviously the centerpiece, and you'll recognize it immediately as an exact replica of the original 1980 Pac-Man cabinet. Not just the artwork, either. The wood shell, buttons, and control stick are all the real deal here. Even the marquee lights up when you turn the machine on.
Of course, the original game is fully playable, complete with the demo screen, exact original music and sounds, and the option to play either 1 or 2 player. Nothing takes you back like the sounds of an arcade machine, and the audio this cabinet provides is so perfect.
As far as size goes, I actually like this a lot more than some of the smaller replica arcade cabinets we've looked at in the past. It's more eye catching at 1:4 scale and look more like a model than a toy.
The control stick feels precise, durable, and as authentic as I could possibly imagine it being. It charges on the back through USB and can be played either wired or on a battery. I let it run for several hours on the demo screen and haven't seen the battery die yet.
When it comes to replicas, it's all about the fine details. The game instructions and scoring guide around the screen, the air vents with wire mesh on the back, and even the screw on top are all details that show how much care and attention is put into these replicas. I'm especially fond of the way you need to hit the coin button to start the game as if inserting quarters.
A Gift For Someone You Love (Including Yourself)
If you've considered starting your own mini-arcade collection I highly recommend you start with Quarter Arcade. These are limited run machines and Numskull has a collection of 7 units so far that I can only imagine would look so incredible in a group. I'd like to invite some friends over for an arcade night and get them all fired up at the same time just to hear the sounds of the arcade at home. Wouldn't that be truly magical?
The Pac-Man Quarter Arcade looks like a collector's item while many similar mini-arcades end up looking like toys. The size is perfect and it's a spot on replica of the classic cabinet. Everyone has a connection to Pac-Man, even if it is just out of respect as a symbol of a bygone era in gaming history. There's nothing cooler than a gift that's both aesthetic and functional and I think any gamer would be thrilled to unwrap such a unique and awesome replica.
A Pac-Man Quarter Arcade Cabinet was provided to TheGamer for this review. You can check out Pac-Man, Galaga, and the full run of pre-order Quarter Arcade cabinet on Numskull's website.
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