Join me today as I review the latest arcade gaming cabinet from Arcade1Up. It’s the Arcade1Up Marvel vs. Capcom Arcade Machine with Riser & Stool, and it’s just the type of gaming cabinet you’d expect to find in any classic arcade. This particular machine has a large (17 inch) LCD colour screen, room for 2 players at once, Wi-Fi connectivity for online gaming with friends, and it even has a light-up console! It’s also currently available for preorder and will be available sometime in May of 2021. If you’re an old-school gamer with a nostalgic fondness for those big ol’ arcade machines, read on for full details of what it’s like to receive, assemble, and play one of these games in your very own home.
But before you read the full text of the review, here’s a brief video overview of what it looks like to put the machine together along with a few of my general thoughts on it:
Arcade1Up Marvel vs. Capcom key features
The Arcade1Up Marvel vs. Capcom Arcade Machine with Riser & Stool is a full-sized arcade gaming cabinet that features several Marvel themed games for your playing enjoyment. These include Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Heroes, Marvel Super Heroes, Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems, Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, and X-Men vs. Street Fighter. These games were all new to me, but they are proving to be both fun and intense.
The cabinet itself comes with a separate custom riser (essentially a fitted block adorned with matching Marvel artwork) that boosts the machine to a more adult height. You don’t have to use the riser (shown at left is the cabinet without the riser attached), but it does make the machine feel more full-sized when the riser is in place. Also included in the Arcade1Up box is a matching stool that’s the perfect height for use when playing the games on a fully boosted cabinet. You do have to assemble both the riser and the stool yourself, but each takes only about 10 minutes to complete.
Also of note are a full-colour 17″ LCD display, authentic “real-feel” joysticks and buttons, a fun light-up marquee, an abundance of licensed artwork featuring cool Marvel characters, and a light-up deck protector that was noticeably absent from the NBA JAM machine. The light-up deck protector (shown below lit up in red) allows you to cycle through a variety of bright colours that really enhance the atmosphere of the playing area.
This machine also offers online multiplayer modes via Wi-Fi (it connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network) for some friendly online gamine among friends, while the console itself can accommodate either 1 or 2 players at a time. The recommended age range for this machine is 14 and up (with emphasis on the “and up” as I suspect that many in my own age range of 40+ will enjoy this machine for its nostalgic ’80s and ’90s arcade appeal).
Arcade1Up assembly and setup
Assembly and setup was quick and relatively easy, taking just 45 minutes to complete (main machine only) with my wife calling out the instructions and myself turning the screws. Perhaps due to having recently completed an Arcade1UP Retro Arcade Machine with NBA JAM review, the build process was quicker and easier in part due to familiarity. For additional information on the build and setup of these Arcade1Up machines, consider checking out that previous review—and in particular the video supplement.
As for this machine, it mostly comes down to following the very well laid out instructions and turning screws (bring your own Phillips head screwdriver) to attach the various pressed-wood panels and electronic components, of which there are four: the main gaming screen, the console board, a speaker arrangement, and the special light-up marquee that really sets the whole thing off. Shown below is the back of the 17″ LCD screen, which attaches to the inner walls of the cabinet via plastic brackets and screws. Every electronic component in the system plugs into the metal box that you see on the back of the screen, as does the machine’s plug-in power adapter.
Aside from aligning pressed-wood and electronic components and turning a few screws, there isn’t a whole lot to putting one of these cabinets together. In the case of this particular cabinet, the machine isn’t even all that heavy. I was easily able to manipulate it and stand it up when the time came, and it’s no trouble at all to move around for the desired placement and positioning.
I would say that if your biggest concern about getting one of these machines is a dread of the assembly process, fear not—the assembly is hardly worth a second thought. It’s certainly a whole lot easier than much of the pressed-wood furniture out there with instructions that aren’t even in English. If you’ve got the space in your home and budget for one of these machines—along with the desire to play its built-in games, I would just go ahead and get it.
Gameplay and testing
Playing these games is both fun and challenging. The games themselves are (mostly) action-packed fighting contests, and you can either play against the computer, a friend on the same console, or someone online via the Wi-Fi connectivity feature. As I don’t personally know anyone else with one of these machines, I mostly just played against the computer. And also because my wife isn’t into these kinds of games. To be perfectly honest, neither am I. I would probably have preferred something either sports based or possibly an 80s classic like Pac Man. Either way, I did enjoy being Spider-Man in the Marvel Super Heroes game and trying to defeat frenemies like Iron Man and the Hulk.
I also tried the Wi-Fi connectivity feature out and found connecting very easy. You’ll need your Internet password to connect, and I did have to download a quick update once I was online, but overall it was quick and easy to do. The only hitch was that when I tried to find a “Quick Match” (basically playing against a stranger), there was no opponent available to play at the various times I tried. I assume that this is probably because this machine is still rather new and may not have a large following yet, but I can’t really be sure. There were leaderboards showing that other people do hang out in there, but I imagine that the most fun to be had using the online feature comes when you’re playing against a friend that has the same machine.
As for the games, they are mostly just straight-up fighting games, with jumps, kicks, punches, throws, and the like. The Marvel Super Heroes: War of the Gems game did have more of a story/narrative flow to it, but honestly it was probably the least fun of them all. It was fairly slow getting through all of the preamble info (the stuff I had to read on the screen before starting), and once I did get into the game, the gameplay itself seemed slow too. In any case, Marvel Super Heroes was definitely the one for me!
In fact, that’s the one I played most of the time. I’m not as familiar with the Capcom universe, so I mostly wanted to stick to the characters I knew. Capcom are the folks behind games like Street Fighter, so if you’re a fan of those games, just imagine that set of characters taking on the Marvel heroes and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what most of the games in this cabinet are all about. If you really like first-person fighting games, this machine is likely to appeal to you. To be totally honest though, I only had the machine up and running for a few days, so trying to get very deep into all 5 games just wasn’t happening, which is why I mostly just sampled the others and stuck to the one I liked best.
Note: I stuck a photo of the included stool in here as there wasn’t really any other more appropriate place to put it. You can see the art it has on the seat cushion. Very cool!
I definitely could have used more time to get used to the built-in games of this Arcade1Up gaming cabinet, but even though I’m pretty bad at them, I still had a lot of fun with this machine and can easily recommend it (to the right individual or family). Who is the right person or family for this machine? Pretty much anyone with a love of fighting games and a desire to own a full-sized arcade gaming cabinet.
If the games included with this cabinet aren’t right for you, there are plenty of alternatives. You could get a machine featuring Pac Man, the NBA JAM machine I previously reviewed, or any one of several others currently available on Best Buy’s Retro Gaming Consoles page. The choice is yours, and so is the fun!