With another round of pandemic holidays upon us, the term “home for the holidays” has taken on new meaning. With more people working remotely and people traveling less, now’s the perfect time to build out that home arcade in the basement or den, or just add a digital pinball table to your home office to relieve some stress.
Even with supply chain issues, there are plenty of cool and affordable arcade machines built for your very own game cave. Take a look at some of the latest options in this Prima Games Arcade Holiday Gift Guide.
Home Arcade Holiday Gift Guide
The Simpsons Arcade Machine, $700, TasteMakers, www.arcade1up.com
The Simpsons have been welcomed into our homes for the holidays and year-round for over 32 years now. And back in the early ‘90s this nuclear family owned the arcades with this classic Konami cooperative beat-em-up game, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
This cabinet features four-player action so the whole family can join in as Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa as they battle Springfield’s cast of characters to save Maggie. My favorite character has always been Bart, who gets to skateboard through levels and also use said board as a weapon along the way.
If you’re home alone, there’s Wi-Fi for multiplayer action from afar. In addition to the humorous shenanigans of the Simpson clan as they explore a virtual Springfield, this cabinet also offers The Simpsons Bowling, offering a very different family-friendly gaming experience.
The retro arcade graphics meld well with the traditional TV art style of the still-going-strong show. And this is one game that’s fun to play again and again with family and friends.
TMNT: Turtles in Time Arcade Machine, $700, TasteMakers, www.arcade1up.com
Another Konami arcade classic comes to life with this quarter-munching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles double feature. This cabinet features the original TMNT and TMNT: Turtles in Time, which are both co-op brawlers featuring the world’s most popular turtles.
While the original game is set in NYC and features Shredder and his minions, the side-scrolling sequel action sends Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael on a journey through time from prehistoric locales to the distant future.
Along the way, up to three friends can play together and take out Shredder and his not-very-smart army. The machine’s WiFi enabled for multiplayer gameplay even when you’re alone. The Turtles have always had a solid home in video games and these two original titles from the ‘90s have stood the test of time.
So order some pizza, grab some family or friends, and “Cowabunga, dude!”
Star Wars Pinball Machine, $750, TasteMakers, www.arcade1up.com
The Force is strong with this pinball machine, thanks to the wizards at Zen Studios who’s been making video game and virtual reality pinball machines based on Disney’s LucasArts intellectual property for a long time.
This table, which stands 59.5” tall and is 36” long and 20.5” wide, features a 23.8” LCD playfield and a 7.5” LCD score screen. The machine ships with 10 Star Wars pinball games from the original and modern trilogies, including:
Boba Fett, A New Hope, Ahch-To Island, Battle of Mimban, Darth Vader, Masters of the Force, Star Wars: Rebels, Han Solo, The Force Awakens, and The Empire Strikes Back.
While the action is all virtual, it feels like a real pinball machine thanks to the real working plunger, haptic touch flippers and real-feel tilt and nudge features. I love these hybrid video game/pinball machines for their flexibility of boards to play.
And if you’ve checked around for used pinball machines lately, you’ll easily pay 4X the price of this versatile table. If comic books are more your thing, there’s also a Marvel Pinball Machine available.
Infinity Game Table, $700 for 24” table and $900 for 32” table, TasteMakers, www.arcade1up.com
Speaking of versatile tables, this Infinity Game Table, which is available now at retailers like Best Buy, rids the clutter of dozens of board games and lets families sit in front of the fireplace or around the kitchen table to play.
The Wi-Fi enabled table has legs that easily slide on and off, so it can become a tabletop experience or a table for in front of the sofa. It comes with 40 games pre-loaded, including Hasbro classics such as Monopoly, Battleship, Sorry!, Clue, Connect 4,
Operation, Hungry, Hungry Hippo, as well as chess, checkers, and jigsaw puzzles. An additional library of games can be purchased through the online store and downloaded, including titles like Pandemic and Ticket to Ride. Most titles allow up to four players to game.
And up to six players can join in remotely with the Social Play+ feature with Safe Connect. Sure, the board game versions of these family classics cost a lot less money, but anyone with kids knows that pieces get lost and boards get torn.
This 32” or 24” table offers an immersive experience with tactile feedback, high resolution graphics and stereo sound. It’s perfect for holiday get-togethers and any family room.
NBA Jam 2 Player Countercade, $230, TasteMakers, www.arcade1up.com
While NBA 2K remains the best basketball sim on the market, when it comes to old school hoops there’s nothing better than NBA Jam.
For those on more of a budget, or lack the space for a full-sized NBA Jam four-player cabinet, this two-player option (16.54 D x 11.81” W x 15.75” H) sits on any countertop or table and offers mano-a-mano, boomshakalaka fun on an 8” LCD screen.
This collection includes the original arcade game and NBA Jam Tournament Edition. Throwback NBA legends like Charles Barkley, Dr. J, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are featured in their prime in these games, which toss out the fouls, technical and free throws.
The over-the-top action is spiced up with “he’s on fire” dunks and full-court swishes. This is definitely the gift that keeps on giving, even if two additional friends need to wait their turn for this shrunk-down version.