Hands down my favorite addition to a Man Cave! While the home theater is obligatory, a mans choice of which video game cabinet to outfit his space with speaks volumes to his personality! Once upon a time in a galaxy far away a young Marcus would save his quarters all week to be summarily beaten by his older cousin in the ol’ school Mortal Kombat game at a local pizzeria. Despite my nostalgia, I still have to go with Prime Arcades’ 4 Player Machine as the best of the best in our review of the 6 Best Home Arcade Systems for your Man Cave!
How To Choose The Right Home Arcade System
Before We Dive Into The Fun Part Of Talking About Which System To Get, Lets Go Over A Few Things You Will Need To Think About. Although Arcade1UP Is Leading The Way In Flooding The Market With Affordable Arcade Cabinets, There Are A Ton Of Distinct Differences To Keep In Mind Before You Make You Choice. Here Are A Few Of The Key Points To Consider:
- Size: As with everything else in your man cave, the first consideration is how much space do you have to spare. Home Arcades come in four sizes: handheld, countertop, class arcade, and cocktail table. Although you will generally spend more as you go up in machine size, we still recommend picking the largest size you can fit into your home. Why? The larger machines typically offer a better game play experience, a wider selection of games, and the more enjoyable the multiplayer experience. Don’t go the cheap route and end up regretting your choice down the line.
- Game selection: Short of modifying your cabinets system, you’re stuck with the games your cabinet comes with. So pick right and go with a cabinet that comes with multiple games. That way you can get the most use out of your system.
- Cost: As a one time purchase, this is less important than the above criteria. Be aware that cost is generally affected by three things: size of the machine, game popularity, number of games, and extra upgrades. You can spend anywhere from $200-$3000 for a machine.
- Type: Handhelds are usually flimsy so beware. Countertop systems require you to have extra available counter or table space which I have often found as a struggle to make fit in most man caves. Classic systems are typically 75% of the size the ones found in old school arcades. You will want to buy a stool or chair for these. Cocktail are larger, more expensive, table sharped games that you sit down at.
If you want extra info on choosing the right Arcade Machine Buyers Guide, check out the video below for extra insights on choosing the right machine.
Best Arcade Machines
Best Home Arcade Machine
Prime Arcade's 4 Player Upright w/ 3016 Games
Prime Arcade comes through with the premium option for your home arcade. Absolutely massive game selection that includes Mortal Kombat 1-3, 3D Street Fighter, Pac-Man, Streets of Rage, Marvel vs. Capcom, and basically every other arcade game in one system. There is absolutely no reason to get any other free standing machine on the market! By far my number one pick for those looking to build the best man cave on earth
Arcade 1UP Delivers with two offerings in the more limited fighting game cabinet bracket. First up is the Marvel Super Heroes counsel which delivers with 3 great titles: Marvel Superheroes, X:men Children of the Atom, and the Punisher. Comes with a 17” Color Screen, dual speakers, and measures in at 22.75” D X 19” W X 45.8” H.
The unit settings are all within the actual body of the arcade game. But even though you have to open up the back, setting up the game to play is quite simple. You want to start by adjusting the volume, and then you can toggle through the games via the controllers on the control panel.
There are multiple different graphics available on the unit, and you can choose between the ones you want to ensure your game fits your interior décor. These controls are super user-friendly.
Arcade 1UP Mortal Kombat Arcade Cabinet
Next up is the Arcade1Up Mortal Kombat platform, which comes with three games: Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat 2, and Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3. Comes with a 17” Color Screen, dual speakers, and measures in at 22.75” D X 19” W X 45.8” H. All that comes together to create a relatively lightweight unit in regard to other units, as this Mortal Kombat upright cabinet only weighs 58.5 lb.
On top of the fantastic color screen, the unit is built better with accurate feel arcade controls and buttons. The control panel utilizes a two-player joystick button configuration that will bring you back to your days in the arcade. When it comes to the overall look of the cabinet self, it utilizes the original artwork to have enough intake experience both with your eyes and your hands.
This upright cabinet is designed to be operated without coins and with an easily adjustable volume and on-screen game selection menu. With quick and easy assembly, it is pretty much a plug-and-play option that will have you enjoying your favorite classic arcade game in no time.
Best Class Home Arcade Machine
Ms. Pac-Man/ Galaga Class of 1981 Arcade Gaming Cabinet
A pure nostalgia play, Chicago gaming’s Ms. Pac-Man counsel includes Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga, as well as four hidden bonus games: Pac-Man, Speedy Pac-Man, Speedy Ms. Pac-Man, and Rapid Fire Galaga. A classic one joystick counsel weighing in at 24.5” W X 33.25” D X 68” H.
This console has a beautiful cabinet design that has throwback artwork.
It also comes with the matching riser if you were looking for a bit of height to the place you are planning to house the console. When you invest in the console, you get 12 games and many great features. Not only do they come with the riser, but it has a light-up deck protector and a light-up marquee. It is offered with Wi-Fi live for leader boards and real-feel arcade controls.
The unit is designed with an anti-tip over strap and a transparent deck protector as well as adjustable volume. All of these coupled together make this a fantastic investment, especially if you’re into classic gaming.
Best Cocktail Arcade Cabinet
Prime Arcade's Cocktail Arcade Machine - 412 Games
As the kings of the home arcade cabinet market, Prime Arcades come through with a high quality cocktail cabinet. With game selection ranging from Galaga, to Pac-Man, to Frogger, this is the old school counsel for those who like the cocktail style arcade machines.
Classic games can be a great way to spend the afternoon. This cocktail-style machine is an excellent investment. Coming fully assembled and basically a plug-and-play machine, it is loaded with 412 fun games to keep you busy.
Along with the actual console itself, you get two crowns with stools and a unit that is outfitted with vintage arcade games graphics. The unit is designed with a 19″ LED monitor that is covered with a thick tempered glass top for security and that one-of-a-kind look.
Anyone who opts to invest in this console will have great features, and on top of that, the unit comes with a 5-year warranty and lifetime tech support that further elevates the value.
Best Counter Top Home Arcade System
Pandora Box 6S - Full HD Video Game Counsel
If you are constrained for space and still want to get the home arcade experience, this table top home arcade model is the best of the bunch. Comes 2400 Retro Arcades games including X-Men VS. Street Fighter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Frogger amongst many, many others.
The unit is crafted with high-quality all-metal construction and is designed with both joysticks and locking buttons. The unique and compact design makes it perfect for those within the space as well as those that look to travel from place to place.
Along with the console itself, you get all the cables and cords you need to ensure that you are able to set it up quickly and get started playing those one-of-a-kind arcade games from your past. The console is designed to be able to be hooked up to an LED TV via an HDMI cord which means it is perfect for just about any home.
The menu is user-friendly and easy to navigate, no matter how familiar you are with video games and their consoles. One of the biggest things about this model is that you’ll be able to take your favorite games with you no matter if you’re staying in your basement man cave or heading over to a friend’s house to set up the game in the family game room.
While there are tons of great options for your Home Arcade Cabinet, Prime Arcades comes through with by far the best option. The sheer breadth of games offered means you will never need to modify this machine. For those buying the single game machines, be aware that you have the option to modify your system, if you have the skills. In case you decide to modify you machine, check out a list of available part here. Check out the video below for a list of some cool mods that you may want to make.