My Arcade Retro Arcade Machine Review: Instabuy or Pass?
Retro games are making a comeback, and we’re all in for it. Nintendo started the trend of immortalizing their previous consoles from the 90s in the form of “mini consoles” and, needless to say, this was a big hit! This move was followed by Sony, SNK, and Sega who dipped their toes into the niche market. Since then, there has been an emergence of “mini” arcades and re-hashed versions of GameBoys. My Arcade is one of those companies that decided to mainly focus on these types of mini-sized consoles, with their Retro Arcade Machine being their flagship product. So does this arcade system deserve a spot in your gaming room? Or is it a mere flash in the pan? Find out as we tackle the good and the bad of this “smol boi”!
The one that calls the shots
My Arcade is a company located in Southern California supervised by people just like you, gamers! Unlike other companies that just want to milk you dry, My Arcade prides itself on being a company that really tries to give everyone access to the retro market. Besides the Retro Arcade Machine, they also have a slew of other products wholly dedicated to retro gaming. The more popular items include the Mini Player, their Pocket Player that takes inspiration from the design of the GameBoy Micro, and Micro Players. All of which are deemed officially licensed products. They even had a booth at the recent E3 convention where they showed off their latest (and soon-to-be-released) products. You can watch the vlog here!
If that still hasn’t convinced you about the quality of their products, My Arcade even partnered up with Taito to make Taito-inspired handhelds! Classics like Bubble Bobble have been put into the Pocket Player. Just look at it. Doesn’t it remind you of the old brick game handhelds we used to play when we were kids? Except this one looks much cuter!
There’s a lot to take in, but not too much
The My Arcade Retro Arcade Machine has a 2.5-inch full-color display, and despite the compactness of the handheld system, the graphics don’t look muddy at all. In fact, it boasts a bright screen so that it won’t make your eyes squint. Right off the box, the product feels premium, with the weight not being too light but just right. Due to its small stature, the Retro Arcade Machine fits right in your palms and will ensure a comfortable grip. The system requires 3 AA batteries to start it up, which is almost equal to what an old school GameBoy would bring to the table (the GameBoy requires 4 AA batteries). The sounds that exude from the Retro Arcade Machine are great! It’s loud, but not uncomfortably so. There’s an on and off switch for the sound, giving you the choice of either playing the games with or without that retro 8-bit music.
Now as for the joystick and buttons, they feel alright. Not bad, but not too good either. We’d like to give them credit for sticking with the original style of stick as well. Compared to the ones on their Mini and Micro Player that had d-pads that just had joysticks stabbed into them, the joysticks in the Retro Gaming Machine are miles better. The look of the arcade cabinet is okay, but we feel as if they could have been given more, considering the gorgeous designs that their other wares have.
Are the games any good?
Despite its small stature, the My Arcade Retro Arcade Machine has a huge library of games. With 200 titles up its sleeve, it’s going to take more than a while for you to finish all the games installed in this mini arcade system. The games inside the machine are sub-par, however. There are some notable games such as Popeye and Mario Bros., but most of the titles are simply mediocre hacks of classic NES games. While it may look great on paper, the games inside the Retro Arcade Machine aren’t worth getting hyped about.
The saving grace of this mess is perhaps the emulation running these games. They look pretty good, there’s no delay in the movement of the characters and such at all. Thanks to the great screen, it makes the colors pop out crisply, but not to the point where everything looks overly saturated like the filters available on Instagram!
All in all, we’d give the My Arcade Retro Arcade Machine a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars. At just $21.49, you’d be hard-pressed to find better mini arcade machines at that price point. The joystick and buttons are great, and the whole system itself is durable compared to the other ones that break easily. The great resolution of the screen and the option to turn the volume up and down is a nice touch as well. While the games are so-so (lots of NES/Famicom clone games), it’s not so bad that we’d outright hate it. With just a few tweaks, My Arcade could’ve possibly made one of the best mini arcade machines in the market. Ultimately, the Retro Arcade Machine Handheld System with built-in 200 games gets our seal of approval as the perfect gift for yourself or your friends!