Tale Of A Tabletop Arcade Machine - Arrival Of The Arcade Baby

My friend had a giant THING arrive in her lounge room last week. It was a Tabletop Dream Home Arcade (fondly nicknamed “the one and only” by her husband). It has flashing lights, a zillion games and is very heavy and takes up a LOT of space.

At first she was not impressed. She had moved into a new house and the Dream Home Arcade filled a quarter of the lounge area, leaving a scant 120cm to fit the TV cabinet in. It was meant to be a belated birthday and Christmas present to her husband from himself and since it arrived yesterday, he hasn’t let his fingers off the joysticks, except to shovel a few kadayifi prawns into his mouth in between Space Invaders and Galaga.

She soon came to realise she had some serious competition in the house – now she would be free to do anything her heart desired…..but she’d also inherited a neanderthal who would grunt and leave the tv and downlights on while fiddling with his new ding-ding machine, with its flashing lights and serious operating manual which would take hours to absorb.

Journey To The Other Side Of the Earth

Otherwise known as "The Gestational Period Of The Tabletop Dream Arcade Machine"

About four months ago, my friend’s loverboy was hunting on the internet for the above tabletop arcade machine when he happened on the very website to make all of his dreams come true. I remember him telling her and me about it for hours and hours, while she, glazed eyed, wondered how the heck it was going to get in through the front door and how she would be able to disguise its loud cartoon characters in a minimalistic and subdued décor – maybe by throwing a homespun, hand embroidered circus scene tablecloth made by her Nanna over it?

Of course, he bought it and her mind moved on to other, more important things, like how to mow a 3m x 2m lawn while not buying a lawnmower, or the joys of reconstructing stubborn Ikea bookshelves that have been moved ten times prior.

Pacman (Atari 5200). All photos in this hub are © 2013 Suzanne Day.
Pacman (Atari 5200). All photos in this hub are © 2013 Suzanne Day.
As well as the built in joysticks for two players, you also get this one which makes gameplay much more authentic, just like old times.
As well as the built in joysticks for two players, you also get this one which makes gameplay much more authentic, just like old times.
Interesting retro buttons indicate Player 1 and Player 2. Note the similarity to toilet signs.
Interesting retro buttons indicate Player 1 and Player 2. Note the similarity to toilet signs.
Rainbow Islands (Arcade Classics - MAME).
Rainbow Islands (Arcade Classics - MAME).

A Credit Card Story

I do remember the day of the big purchase. It was the day my friend’s bank phoned her with a serious sounding financial controller on the other end, asking her if she was a victim of credit card fraud, since an enormous sum of money had parted from her steady savings bank and had mysteriously been given to someone in the US of A.

Of course, she assured the man that US$4,000 was quite a legitimate afternoon’s purchase on the internet, even for someone as frugal as she was, and that he shouldn’t worry about this one and thanks for letting her know that a guardian bank angel was looking over her shoulder in case any fraud should ever happen for real.

For the next month, every day was a litany and lecture from her sweetheart regarding the machine’s movements. Apparently, it was like having a baby. Firstly, the husband worried that the money would not get there on time (not quite sure why it had to be on a certain date) and then he fretted over what would happen during shipping and when it would reach customs in Australia.

There were discussions about where it would sit and how it would sit. She was told that when it would arrive he would be the happiest man in the universe and that his childhood would come rushing back, just like that. It would be the machine to make him a whole person again – and he’d marry it shortly after (just kidding about that last bit – you can imagine my friend was a bit put out).

She thought she might hear that it was going to hop into the bed between them and cuddle up with him at night, but I expect the weight of the packaged machine (100kg) might have put him off a little.

The Day The Tabletop Arcade Baby Arrived

At last the great day dawned. Customs had been phoned and emailed and notated and my friend’s credit card was once again drained in a spontaneous outburst that wasn’t quite the original amount and therefore didn’t incur a bank fraud investigator’s phone call.

Plans had been made. A special truck that was cheaper than a forklift was hired to come and drop off the new addition to their family. As a bare minimum, customs were demanding a hydraulic lift and trolley door access and host of other things to keep the husband busy and tossing and turning during the night before.

My friend's hubby was too busy playing his new tabletop video games to notice I was taking this photograph.
My friend's hubby was too busy playing his new tabletop video games to notice I was taking this photograph.
View of the side artwork on the tabletop arcade.
View of the side artwork on the tabletop arcade.

Some of the more popular and fun arcade games that can be found on Dream Home Arcade machines:

Asteroids
Bubble Bobble 1 & 2
Cannon Fodder
Centipede
Civilization 1 & 2
Daytona USA
Dig Dug
Donkey Kong
Doom
Dune
Flashback
Frogger
Galaga
Kaboom!
Kung Fu
Lemmings 1 & 2
Missile Command
Moon Patrol
Mortal Kombat
Mouse Trap
Pac Man
Pinball
Pong
Populous 1 & 2
Rainbow Islands
Space Ace
Space Duel
Space Invaders
Street Fighter I & 2
Tron
Warlords
Worms

As you can see, there’s plenty of old favourites in there – and this is only a sample list!

My friend returned home from work after the customs truck had gone, to find the house a mess and none of the little jobs she had set done that day. Instead, there spread a giant, heavy looking pallet on the lounge floor and the new spaceship shaped game was circled in its very own blankie, which was astoundingly well made for its brief travels.

Without even saying hello, she was asked to heave and push and lift the Giant Arcade Baby onto a recycled TV cabinet so that it could be unwrapped and manoeuvred properly into place. Upon finding that the plug fitted an American wall socket, the husband dashed off down the road in his car at top speed to purchase an Australian adapter.

He plugged it in and fondled its lights. He was tuning in Tokyo.

The games began to spin and roll. She left him to it. After about three hours, she visited the Arcade Corner and found that he was slowly beginning to work out the menu and how to bookmark his favourite tabletop video games.

Some more fiddling with the menu under her instruction produced thousands of games, including the favourites she’d had as a child, on an Amiga computer. She was allowed a quick view of the Bubble Bobble opening screen before it was hastily snatched away in favour of Moon Patrol and Kung Fu Master.

It took awhile, but she became incredibly fond of the machine. She found out that it plays not only Bubble Bobble, but Rainbow Islands, Lemmings and many more games that she enjoyed immensely (sometimes for days). It makes her husband nice and subservient – he even cleaned the kitchen table after dinner and spent a few minutes being charming to her in between the games.

I can see my friend and her husband in the future – curled together around their latest toy, creating housework chores for the loser of whichever two player game they choose to compete in. And I seriously hope that she can collect some gold pots, fluoro foods and sprout rainbows with the Amiga games because it would take her back to a magical time where all possibilities glowed in neon lights.

Photo of Player 2 controls. The bubbly looking joysticks are an interesting feature.
Photo of Player 2 controls. The bubbly looking joysticks are an interesting feature.

Some bullet points he wanted to share:

  • Did he mention there are 24,000 arcade, console and PC games on this machine?
  • The games are continuously upgraded through hard drives, free of charge.
  • Other tabletop arcade machines do not have the weight to provide the same experience as this one.
  • It feels like a big machine, but fits on a table easily – it’s 50kg when unpacked.
  • There’s unique artwork on it.
  • There’s a pinball button on the sides to make it feel like a real pinball machine.
  • It’s very easy to use, just plug it in and play.

Her Husband’s Say…

Here’s an excerpt from the gushing 30 minute spiel the husband wanted to give me about his new tabletop arcade game:

“This guy has the best arcade game on the market because it’s a handcrafted machine, with the right weight ratio and quality controls (joysticks and buttons). There’s over 24,000 games, a massive 27 inch screen and it’s also a very compact tabletop machine with an immersive game experience.

It’s made in a little factory down in Knowlton. And there’s just no comparison to other arcade providers because of the unique experience you get from the combination of factors that you can’t get anywhere else.

It’s an art and a craft to make these, and that’s vanishing quickly today and I have no doubt that these machines in future will gain value because they provide everything in one and you couldn’t improve on it.....blah blah blah” (I tuned out after this).

Galaga (Arcade Classics - Mame).
Galaga (Arcade Classics - Mame).

What's your favourite arcade game?

See results without voting

A Perfect Gift For Men Born In The 1980s

If you want to give the gift of a second childhood to your Generation X man, this machine sounds like a brilliant present. It seems to keep him out of your hair, keep him happy doing housework in between playing old arcade games and you might get him feeling frisky towards you because of your thoughtful generosity.

My friend’s husband bought it for himself, but if I had a spare US$5,000 I’d say it is cheaper than buying that island, sports car or residence in New York that most men seem to want. Plus friends and guests will be awed.

Check out the website where they bought their machine from at www.dreamhomearcades.com

There are many categories of games, including Pinball, Nintendo, Game boy, Sega, Atari, Amiga, Playstation and more. Free system upgrades for life are included in the price.

***UPDATE***

My friend received some very passionate kisses and romantic gestures from her husband this month. I’m not sure if it is because he is happy or because the Arcade Baby won’t kiss him back…

© 2014 Suzanne Day

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Comments 8 comments

Anonymous 2 years ago

I'd love one too! I'd trade both my wife and her mother in for one of these.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

It certainly sounds exciting and should keep your friend's husband busy a long time. I recall when Pac-Man first came out on the old Ataris. There are much worse ways a man could spend $5K.


Susan Recipes profile image

Susan Recipes 2 years ago from India

Wow... This sounds really very exciting. Great hub. Voted up & Interesting.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

What an ordeal! Just getting the arcade machine into the house sounds like quite an experience....and it's not cheap. But you're right, it's cheaper than a sports car or an island. My husband would also be enthralled with such a toy, but he'll have to stay contented with his iPad for now! I'm glad your friend's wife even became fond of their new toy. This was a well-written article and useful for those who are in the market for a tabletop arcade machine.


luisj305 profile image

luisj305 2 years ago from Florida

This is awesome, it brings back memories that are rarely ever brought back. If I have the money to spare in a few months, I see one in my living room by the summer lol.

Thanks for sharing Suzanne!


RolyRetro profile image

RolyRetro 2 years ago from Brentwood, Essex, UK

Great hub, I built one of these machines myself and it's a great way to play the old games that you can't find in the arcades any more.

Cheers!

Rolyretro


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

The beginning of video games, I've played these golden age games and enjoyed them. Really, they started this whole industry and deserve homage.


Jacobb9205 profile image

Jacobb9205 15 months ago from Gloucestershire

Pac man for the win aha

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