If you're anything like us, you are a creature defined by your past. In the case of your faithful editors and writers here at CBR, that past may include spending halcyon nights bathed in neon lights, pumping quarter after quarter into brightly blinking, blaringly beeping and in all other ways beckoning machines at the local arcade. Of course, like all the money we spent there, arcade gamers may never truly get those erstwhile hours back, but the time has never been better to relive them in as close a way to the real deal as possible.
Sometimes you'll get lucky, finding an all-but-abandoned arcade outpost on some forgotten boardwalk, or stumbling into a concept "barcade" establishment offering adult beverages in lieu of the cheap plastic-cheese nachos and sugary pop you used to fill up on as a kid. But there are other options, too; in fact, there's an entire industry dedicated to letting you, quite literally, rebuild your capricious joystick youth right in the comfort of your own home. (For the moment, let's all just agree to ignore the fact that home gaming was what led to the death of arcades in the first place, shall we?)
Arcade1Up is a company that has boxed up and bottled that arcade fire you thought went out years ago, allowing you to set up and play your favorite arcade hits in the privacy of your very own living room and/or parents' basement. Offering a veritable smorgasbord of classic arcade hits in beautifully-designed, easily-assembled cabinets, old and new school gamers can tap into, at very least, a rough approximation of what was a formative part of many gamers' lives.
But for all of their bells and whistles, are these cabinets truly worth it? Will they scratch your nostalgic itch? And what's it like to actually build and play them with your friends? CBR was lucky enough to hook up with Arcade1Up and get our hands on two of the company's most popular products: the Final Fight cabinet (which hosts its titular game as well as other stalwarts, 1944, Ghosts 'N Goblins and Strider), and perhaps both the company and the bygone arcade era's gold standard of button-mashing might: Mortal Kombat.
Check out the CBR Unboxening on our Facebook page, as well as the video below to see for yourself whether Arcade1Up really does capture the magic of the arcade!