I recently got the chance to play around with the Arcade1Up Star Wars Digital Pinball Machine, which comes with 10 different Star Wars themed games to keep you entertained. If you’ve been considering adding one of these cool gaming cabinets to your own home arcade, today I’m going to tell you all about what it was like to assemble and play with this one. Read on for full details!

But before you jump in, consider taking a few minutes to watch my brief video overview of this Arcade1Up machine. In it I spend a fair amount of time showing the unboxing and assembly process, which should go a long way to helping you to determine whether or not this pinball machine is worth all the fuss (hint: It’s not that much fuss at all, and I totally think it’s worth it!):

Arcade1Up Star Wars digital pinball machine games & features

Side view of the Arcade1Up Star Wars Pinball Machine

The Arcade1Up Star Wars Digital Pinball Machine, which is 3/4 the size of a traditional arcade pinball machine (still pretty big), comes with 10 different games that all have a fun Star Wars theme. The included games are A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Han Solo, Battle of Mimban, Ahch-To Island, Star Wars: Rebels, Masters of the Force, and The Force Awakens.

As this machine is digital pinball, there are no steel ball bearings knocking around inside making a whole lot of noise, but all of the standard controls you would expect are there. A 23.8″ LCD screen (playfield) is accompanied by a 7.5″ LCD score screen, a light-up marquee, a real working plunger, haptic touch flippers with real-feel feedback, a pair of playfield knockers (with built-in solenoid modules for realistic ball feedback), and it even has real-feel tilt and nudge effects for an authentic arcade experience.

Shown are a number of the buttons and controls on the front of the machine

There’s also cool Star Wars themed music and sound effects that are specific to each game, and you can turn the volume all the way down if it happens to annoy your wife (or for some other purely hypothetical reason).

The design/layout of each game is very elaborate as well, with Star Wars characters and other themed imagery mingled among the ramps and various other elements of the pinball architecture. Overall, the games have a good amount of variation to them, the table itself is sturdy and solid, and the overall presentation of the machine is quite impressive.

Unboxing and assembly

Star Wars Digital Pinball
The big box that this bad boy comes in

This game comes in a big box. But that’s ok, because once you dig into it, you’ll find that there really isn’t all that much to put together. In fact, the main body of the machine is already fully assembled and needs no attention whatsoever other than attaching the legs and the top (marquee) section.

The marquee itself does need to be assembled, but it’s really only 7 or 8 (mostly pressed wood) pieces, and it takes no more than 15-20 minutes to put together. I show as much of this process as possible in the accompanying video, so definitely check that out if you want to get a better sense of what that is like.

Basically you just have to screw a few pieces together that make up the marquee box and then attach it to the main body of the machine. For this you will need to have your own Phillips head screwdriver, but everything else you’ll need is provided in the box, including screws, dowels, bolts, brackets, and some fairly well detailed and easy-to-follow instructions. Oh yeah, and there’s an Allen wrench included too.

The marquee section is where the speakers and LCD score screen are housed, as you can see in the photo at left. Note that the very cool Star Wars art at the top of this blog post is the image that adorns the upper part of the marquee. This image is backlit and looks really cool when the rest of the room is in darkness and only the pinball machine is lit up.

Aside from assembling this marquee section (a roughly 15-20 minute process), you also have to attach the legs (3 bolts each) and plug in a few wires right at the end of the build. Beyond that you just tear off a few protective plastic coverings and get to playing.

Playing Star Wars pinball

Playing the games is a whole lot of fun. Since it’s pinball—a game that most of us are probably already familiar with, gameplay is fairly similar no matter which game you choose to play. Still, they did manage to pack in a good bit of variety in terms of things like ramp layout and general pinball architecture. My only comment in this respect is that everything looks somewhat flat in comparison to a classic 3-D pinball machine, but I suppose that is difficult to avoid in a digital pinball setup.

One cool aspect of this kit is that each individual game has its own unique theme and personality, so it’s likely you’ll end up having a favourite or two. The game shown at right is The Empire Strikes Back, which has some really cool visual effects, such as lightsabers that periodically light up on the field of play. Other games I tried include Darth Vader, A New Hope, Boba Fett, and Masters of the Force—all fun options.

So I haven’t tried all of the games yet, but everything I have tried has been fun and definitely has the feel of authentic arcade pinball. I was always a big fan of video game pinball, so there was no chance that I wasn’t going to like this machine. If you’re into both Star Wars and digital pinball—or maybe even just one of those things, I suspect that you’ll like it too.

Final thoughts

Pinball is pinball, and if that’s something you enjoy playing, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll like this machine. It’s far too big for my limited space, so make sure you’ve got a dedicated area to put it in. It’s not difficult to move this machine around in a limited sort of way, but once it’s been put together, you won’t want to be trying to move it up or down stairs or anything like that.

As for the expense of these machines, I think you somewhat have to be in a nostalgic frame of mind to willingly absorb it. But then, that’s the whole point of these classic arcade style machines, isn’t it? They make you feel like a kid again, and give you a little chunk of the past to share with your own kids.

Finally, I can’t really complain about the assembly process at all. Sure, I did have to get down on my hands and knees a good bit, and the older I get, the less it feels like I’ll be able to get back up again whenever I do something like that. But it really didn’t take all that long to put this thing together, and that’s with trying to film the entire process, which probably stretches things out to about twice as long as it really ought to be. Sure, you’ll sweat a little—maybe even get a bit frustrated here and there, but then the job will be done, you’ll have a quick shower, and in no time you’ll be enjoying Star Wars pinball. Recommended with the preceding caveats in mind. It’s definitely a quality product.

Find your Arcade1Up Star Wars Digital Pinball Machine at Best Buy Canada today.

 

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