Joseph works as an editor in one of the magazines dedicated to video games. Here, at RecRoomPick, he’s given the opportunity to enjoy the reverse of the medal – the no less engaging world of offline games.
Ryan knows everything when it comes to gaming, both online and offline. Since his early years he’s been in love with arcades, air hockey, and foosball. Finally, he’s given the opportunity to share his knowledge and opinion on the hobby of his life (and even get paid for it!).
Last updated: February 19, 2021
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Everything old is new again. And the world of tabletop arcade games is no exception. While there may be plenty of new advancements in technology, who doesn’t love the nostalgia of classic arcade games. Thankfully, the best tabletop arcade game is just a purchase away. Finally, your rec room will be complete. While older versions of these games were quite bulky, newer tabletop versions have a smaller footprint and can be placed on a table for more comfort and convenience.
We found five of the best tabletop arcades on the market but one that really stands out is the Doc and Pies Retro Arcade Machine. Based on the classic Donkey Kong game, this version is fun and can be played by yourself or against a friend. It has full size buttons and a joystick, which is perfect for the adult gamers out there. And, weighing just 50 pounds, this is a portable and easy to set up arcade. You can even bring it along to a friend’s house if the need arises.
Along with reviews of all the selected arcade games, we have also put together a buying guide. This is where you can find everything you need to know about the features to consider. Whether it’s how large the arcade is, how many players can use it, or even the screen size, we will have that information for you. There is also a section where we answer the most commonly requested questions about tabletop arcades. Our aim is to provide as much information as you need so you can get back to what life is all about: having fun.
The Doc and Pies Retro Arcade Machine is our Editor’s Choice for good reason. While the graphics may make it seem like it’s a Donkey Kong tabletop arcade, it’s actually so much more. That’s because it offers 60 classic arcade games. The games include Donkey Kong, Pac Man, Frogger, Galaga, and more.
The Doc and Pies Retro Arcade Machine is a bit bulky and you will need a dedicated, sturdy table for it to sit on. It also weighs 50 pounds, so while it can be moved, it is not as portable as smaller machines. Still, this is a very versatile tabletop arcade that offers hours upon hours of fun.
The buttons are full size and the joystick is also easy to maneuver. The screen is 19 inches which is perfect for seeing all your subtle moves come to life. It is not coin operated so there is no need to worry about figuring out that option.
As for construction, the Doc and Pies Retro Arcade Machine is sturdily built. You won’t have to worry about it tipping over or breaking. The only downside with the construction is with the joystick. Too many movements and it can start to unscrew itself. This is an easy fix, however, as you simply screw it back in again.
For those wanting a surplus of classic gaming choices, the Doc and Pies Retro Arcade Machine is a sure win.
Cocktail arcade machines, which include stools to sit around, are much larger than traditional tabletop arcade games and therefore more expensive. The Prime Arcades 1162 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine is our Premium Pick for this reason. You will get the complete gaming experience but it will come at a price.
Included in your purchase is a large gaming console in the shape of a table. The screen is covered by a ¼ inch tempered glass. This is a premium pick, so no plexiglass is used. Also included are two chrome stools.
What’s really nice about the Prime Arcades 1162 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine is that two people can play at this arcade console. One of the major failings of classic tabletop machines is that only one person can play at a time. This cocktail machine is made for socializing and entertaining.
The LED monitor uses the best of modern technology while the games themselves are classic throwbacks. If you’re wondering just what those games are, you’re in for a big surprise. Look at the number in the name of this product. That’s right; there are 1162 games included. We’d love to list them all, but frankly that would be exhausting. You can trust, however, that no matter what classic arcade game you want to play, this machine will have it.
If you’re looking for downsides to the Prime Arcades 1162 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine, there aren’t many. The instructions could be a bit easier to understand, but their customer service is excellent and will gladly help you.
If you want a cocktail arcade machine but are a bit nervous about investing in their sometimes over the top prices, the Prime Arcades 412 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine is the perfect option for you.
The Prime Arcades 412 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine has a respectable 412 games to choose from. This is less than the other cocktail arcade machines on our list, but still has plenty of choice for the average gamer.
Lile others in its category, the Prime Arcades 412 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine comes with two chrome stools. They are comfortable and allow you to play for hours with your friends. The coin slot gives a nice nostalgia touch although it can be disabled if it becomes too annoying.
When you look at the Prime Arcades 412 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine, you can’t help but be transported back in time. Its premium graphics look great and will immerse you right into the gaming world.
One of the best features of the Prime Arcades 412 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine is that it comes fully assembled. Who wants to spend their free time assembling a complicated machine? Instead, just open the box, find the right place for your new toy, and start playing.
As for downsides, you might want to consider the price. This is a budget-friendly pick given the category, but it will still cost a lot. If you’re planning on spending this amount of money, you might want to pay just a bit more for access to even more games.
What we liked:
Comes fully assembled
What could be better:
Still costs a lot but don’t get as many games as other models
Ready to play a game? How about two or three? Ok, so what about 2,475 games? The ABVIDEO INC. Cocktail Arcade Machine easily wins the content category in our list of best tabletop arcade machines. There are so many games, it may take a while to get through them all. If you really want to know just what all the games are, you will have to contact the manufacturer. Even they admit the lists is too extensive and instead will provide a PDF document. By rest assured that within this list will be all your favorite arcade games.
The ABVIDEO INC. Cocktail Arcade Machine is a large cocktail arcade machine. It has a large footprint and two chrome stools included. You will want to carve out some prime space to place this product. And, it does weight 150 pounds, so choose one space and stick with it, otherwise it may be too had to move it.
The construction of the ABVIDEO INC. Cocktail Arcade Machine is quite premium. It has a tempered glass top that is quite sturdy. Underneath is a 22-inch screen with amazing graphics. You can easily navigate the long list of gaming options.
What’s really nice about the ABVIDEO INC. Cocktail Arcade Machine is that it provides a social atmosphere. Gaming can be fun on your own, but why not get a few friends together for a night of battles?
The biggest downside to the ABVIDEO INC. Cocktail Arcade Machine shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is quite expensive. This is not a purchase to be made lightly. However, if you can afford it, you will have hours upon hours of fun ahead of you.
What can be more iconic than playing Pac Man on an arcade console? This classic tabletop arcade will quickly transport you back in time as you deftly maneuver your joystick away from those pesky ghosts.
The Arcade1Up Pacman Countercade is both fun and affordable, a winning combination! It is smaller than some of the other picks on our list, but its miniature size makes it much more convenient and portable, too. Its dimensions allow it to fit on any table and at just over 11 pounds, you can bring this to any games night, upping the ante on fun. But don’t despair at its smaller size as the 8-inch screen is still large enough play for hours.
This Pac Man tabletop arcade plugs into any AC outlet and a color LCD screen. From the screen you can easily select from two game options. There is the classic Pac Man game and the slightly different Pac & Pal. Both can be played for hours of fun.
While you can adjust the volume, be prepared for even the lowest setting to be fairly loud. You will therefore want to either place this tabletop arcade in a remote place in the house or perform some DIY mods to alter the volume.
The Arcade1Up Pacman Countercade is not coin operated. Instead you can simply plug in and play. The original artwork is one final feature that can’t be beat. Your nostalgia level will be off the charts every time you play this fun game.
You want the amazing fun offered by a tabletop arcade but you don’t actually have much space for it? The answer is the My Arcade Mini Player. With a height of only 6.2 inches, this dun toy can be placed anywhere. It’s perfect for a kid’s room if you want them to discover what made your childhood so much fun.
With the My Arcade Mini Player, you get access to 20 classic arcade games including Pac Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, Mappy, and many more. Wherever your gaming tastes take you, there is an option for fun.
The display screen is small, at just 4.25 inches, but that is to be expected based on the overall size of the machine. And while it will be hard for friends to cheer you on, it’s still large enough for you to see what you’re blasting.
What really stands out with this mini tabletop arcade game is all the realistic touches. There are front-facing speakers, a tile marquee, and even a coin trap button.
Modern features include a headphone jack in case other family members aren’t so keep on the beeps and whistles.
As for a power source, the My Arcade Mini Player is powered by electricity but through the means of a micro USB. There is a power adapter included, however, so you just need to set it up to an electrical outlet.
If your child is wondering just what you used to do for fun in the olden days, the My Arcade Mini Player is the perfect demonstration of what kids back in the day used to do.
What we liked:
Includes 20 classic arcade games
Includes classic and modern design elements
What could be better:
Small unit and not meant for adults
Things to Consider
Ready, Player One? Before you commit to a new tabletop arcade and revisit your youth, make sure you know what you are getting into. Tabletop arcades may be smaller than the version you remember, but they still take up a lot of room. Do your research to find the device that will give you the most opportunity for creating an unbeatable high score.
Features to consider when choosing a tabletop arcade machine
Finding the right tabletop arcade can be a bit challenging. There are a lot of factors involved beyond just reconnecting with your favorite childhood game. Below are the most important factors to think about.
Small tabletop cabinet or a cocktail arcade machine?
Within the world of tabletop arcade are different types. A tabletop cabinet, as the name implies, is small enough to be placed on a table or desk. You can then either stand or sit in front of it.
A cocktail arcade machine gets its name from the fact you could technically sit and sip a cocktail while playing. Cocktail arcade machines will have stools included in the purchase to create a more social experience.
Cocktail arcades machines, at which you can sit at, can offer even more game options. Indeed, these often reach into the hundred or even thousands, although you will pay a premium for such a large amount of content.
The screen size will vary greatly on tabletop arcades. However, the screen size is usually in proportion to the overall size of the entire arcade. Therefore, if you purchase a larger arcade, the screen will be larger as well.
The smallest screen size on our list of items is for the My Arcade Mini Player which has is only 4.25 inches in size. As the name suggests, this is a mini version. Its small size makes it perfect for kids who want to keep a game in their room.
At the larger end of the spectrum is the ABVIDEO INC. Cocktail Arcade Machine which has a screen size of 22 inches. Again, the design is much different with this machine as the screen is actually on a table and there are chairs surrounding it.
When you wanted to head to the arcade as a kid, part of the ritual was scrounging up enough quarters to last you your play time. Purchasing your own tabletop arcade means not having to actually pay per game, but there’s still a nostalgia factor about it. This is why some machines have the option of being coin-operated. The good news is that you will have the key to retrieve your coins when you choose to. As well, there is usually an option to switch to a free play mode instead.
Before you purchase your next tabletop arcade, think about where you will want to place it. Measure both the physical space it will take up and the space you will need to play it. Remember that you will probably have an audience at some point, so leave room around your new game so everyone can see as you defend your high score.
Tabletop arcades are complex machinery. From graphics cards to construction, a lot goes into these devices to make them work. Find a product with a solid warranty so you can quickly get back into gaming if any issues arise. On our list, the product with the best warranty is the Prime Arcades 412 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine. It has a five-year warranty along with lifetime tech support.
One of the nostalgia factors of arcade games was placing a quarter in the slot. Many tabletop arcades for home use have this option, but rest easy as you can also dismantle the coin operation. All machines are different, so be sure to check your user guide. However, setting your new game to free play is easy and usually just requires the press of a button.
Different tabletop arcades will have different types of games. Some will have only two games available while others will have as many as 2,475. To find out which games are included, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s website for a complete list.
All of the tabletop arcades on our list are powered by electricity. You will need to set up your arcade by an electrical outlet for best results. Most power cords are 8 feet in length and while you can use an extension cord, excess wires can pose a tripping hazard.
Wrapping It Up
Get ready for the ultimate blast from the past. Our Editor’s Choice for the best tabletop arcade is the Doc and Pies Retro Arcade Machine. You can play Donkey Kong and 59 other classic arcade games on this tabletop design. It’s the perfect size for any rec room table.
If this cocktail-style arcade machine is a bit too pricey, however, there is a more budget-friendly pick with the Prime Arcades 412 Game Cocktail Arcade Machine. It still has 412 prime games to choose from and the table and chairs make for an excellent social setting. Transform your next games night with the best tabletop arcade.