Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve been a gamer. I still own my first console, an Atari, and played through the subsequent consoles to present day where I play the majority of videogames on PC. If I’m at the seaside or the bowling alley, I’m in the arcades. In short: I love gaming.
Some games just never get old and it’s often the simpler ones the better. I’ve been telling everyone how I’d love to own an arcade cabinet but I simply don’t have the room (or the mulah) to have one of those retro beauties in my home. I guess this is a problem for a lot of gamers so it’s just as well that company MyArcade has decided to grant us average joes their wish by producing affordable arcade machines just 6 inches in size!
Where some modern games systems boast 400 games in one, each MyArcade Micro Player cabinet is pre-loaded with a single game ROM with matching decals adorning the cabinet to really make you feel as though you’re playing a retro machine. MyArcade have a decent range to choose from that includes: Dig Dug, Karate Champ, Burgertime, Galaxian, Bad Dudes, Caveman Ninja, Heavy Barrel and Mappy. In this review, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the two other releases in their line-up: Pac-Man and Galaga micro arcade machines.
MyArcade Micro Arcade Machines
Like all great tech gifts, they need to be powered to work. One of my pet hates is battery powered gadgets, only because modern devices seem to suck the batteries dry relatively quickly. I was pleasantly surprised to see that whilst the MyArcade micro arcade machines do take batteries to power them (4xAA – not included), they also have a micro USB port so you can power the arcade machine using a micro USB cable in conjunction with your computer, power bank or even plugged into the wall using a micro USB mobile phone charger!
To turn on the game, there’s a giant button pretending to be a coin slot that you can push in. To turn off, you simply push this button again. Once you’ve pushed the button in, the game which you purchased will power up on the little screen and armed with your little joystick, Start button and optional Fire button (if game requires it like Galaga), you’re ready to get stuck in. The MyArcade Micro Players have speakers built into them that will make all the bleep sounds you expect from the games with an option to raise and lower the volume on the reverse of the machine. There’s even a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can pop your headphones on instead to make sure you’re not disturbing others during your gaming sesh.
Despite their size, these micro arcade machine are simply brilliant. The level of detail that has gone into the build of them is remarkable and they feel quite substantial to play. I also like the fact they have considered modern technology with the micro USB power slot and the headphone jack, as many people will look to play these at the office (I’ve had to literally prise them from my co-workers hands). They’re a great way of chilling out for 5 minutes and having a bit of competitive fun with others. With each of the two games offering 3 lives to the player, unless you’re highly skilled then these games are perfect for short bursts. The controls are big enough to be able to play without feeling finicky, and the screen is nice and clear to allow the visuals to pop off-screen.
Pac-Man Micro Player
Pac-Man is one of those games that has and will continue to stand the test of time. MyArcade Micro Pac-Man Player is super cute and brings all those joyous feelings back as you run around eating the dots and avoiding the ghosts. The gaming experience is a fun one however the joystick control did seem a little sticky at times to execute sudden directional movements to get Pac-Man out of harms way. With this game reliant on quick decisions this became a little bit of a bugbear for me with this particular machine until I unscrewed the joystick from the directional pad. This is one of the bonuses of these machines. If the joystick isn’t working for you, you can just simply unscrew it. Without the joystick attached, I found the directional pad a lot more responsive to my sudden directional changes and this made my gaming experience much better. When I refixed the joystick to the directional pad, I found the joystick to be more responsive so in this particular case, it may have just needed a good ol’ wiggle to free whatever might have been causing the slight sluggishness initially.
Galaga Micro Player
Out of the two micro players, I prefer the Galaga Micro Arcade Machine. Once again equipped with a joystick but also with a fire button, you’re quest with the aim to shoot down the enemy aliens in this successor to the popular retro game, Galaxian.
I think there’s something slightly addictive that requires “just one more go” from Galaga with its dodge and shoot mechanics very satisfying to play, especially if you’re using these games as a stress reliever at the office. It’s also great fun to compete with others, seeing how far you can get and if you can beat each other’s scores. Even though the player is micro size, it works incredibly well with the full colour aliens attacking on the 2.75 inch screen, transporting you into the game. Not only that, both this and the Pac-Man micro arcade machine are brilliantly crafted to draw attention from anyone who gazes upon them.
MyArcade Micro Players are more than just a bit of fun to look at or to adorn your desk. They’re fully working retro gaming cabinets that allow you to relive your childhood gaming experiences. Grab a few and you could realise your dream of possessing your own arcade, albeit micro! Perfect for big kids and little ones too.