My Arcade proves that everything old will one day become new again.
I grew up in an amazing era, as an inbetweener, not so much Millenial nor Generation X. Sarah Stankorb coined the term Xennial in an article published in Good Magazine in 2014. This term defined our micro-generation, born between 1977 and 1983, as an analog childhood with a digital adulthood. We ushered in the era of video games and knew multiple audio media formats. Arcades were a hit in our childhood/early adulthood but were mostly phased out by the 1990’s. Now, it is much harder to find arcades and game cabinets to rekindle memories of a bygone era. Think back to the memory of placing a quarter on a machine to alert the player that you “had next game.” Nostalgia may be one of the most powerful forces of marketing and product sales. If you can tug at the heartstrings of the consumer, you win their pocketbook. My Arcade is riding the wave of the retro revolution, with the return of record players, vintage video games Atari, Nintendo, Sega and now with cabinet style games.
I remember losing many quarters to a full-sized Karate Champ arcade machine, at my local Poway Kenpo Karate studio. My parents would give me 50 cents, and I would be able to play a few rounds at the end of my lessons. The game was released in 1984 when I was three years old and has been touted as the “Grand-daddy of fighting games.” Many modern fighting games are thought to have taken some of their gameplay and character control based on this retro game. The My Arcade Karate Champ unit brings the “tournament style gameplay and unique character controls” into the palm of your hand. Whether you want to display your retro micro arcade in a game room, office or display case, the classic artistic style, coloration, and quality were obvious. The outer retail packaging of the My Arcade Karate Champ cabinet was inspirational and should serve as a masterclass in packaging. The Karate Champ logo is elegant in its simplicity. The red bars wrap around the side and down the back of the clear plastic window. Behind the 3 sided clear plastic, you can clearly and directly visualize the very attractive Karate Champ micro cabinet. The clear window allows you to see the sides of the cabinet and the two Gi adorned masters. Along the bottom of the packaging, My Arcade does a great job detailing the 6-inch collectible retro arcade machine. My only regret was having to open the packaging to remove the cabinet.
The Data-East Karate Champ Cabinet weighs 14.2 ounces and measures 6 13/16 inches tall by 4 inches wide by 4 1/2 inches thick. The micro arcade machine is built to resemble a full-sized cabinet but stands just a few inches taller and wider than a soda can. The screen measures 1 3/4 inches tall by 2 1/4 inches wide and seems to be the perfect ratio for the cabinet. The Marque of the cabinet is well placed, well decorated and aligns well with the bezel of the monitor. The control panel juts out 2 inches from the base of the bezel and houses a D-pad with a removable joystick. The joystick is a bonus, one that improves the overall gameplay. The joystick sticks up 13/16 inches above the surface of the D-pad and can be removed by simply unscrewing the device (counterclockwise). I found that playing the game with the D-pad alone was not ideal and reinstalled the joystick. The control panel stickers are very well done and embody the original artwork. To the right of the D-pad, you will find two unlabelled red control buttons and along the top, two smaller buttons for select and start. The side art displays two 2 1/4 inch diameter circles, each with a martial artist in an active flying-sidekick motion. The main difference between the full-sized cabinet and the micro cabinet can be found in the service/coin door region. The mini-cabinet has a 1 1/4 inch tall by 1 3/8 inches wide power button.
Turning the cabinet and evaluating the rare face, you will find a 2 3/8 inches wide by 3 inches tall battery door, which will accommodate 4AA batteries. Beneath the battery compartment, My Arcade conveniently included a 5V micro-USB input port but the cable was not included. At the top rear of the cabinet, you will find a “+” and “-” volume button, 3.5mm out port for headphone enjoyment and the speaker grill. To turn the game on, you will need to depress the power button, which provides a very prominent click-feel. The game will start up quickly, and the “Karate Champ” logo will scroll up from the bottom of the screen. To start a game, simply press the start button. You will play as the white gi wearing martial artist, fighting against the red karate master. In a combination of up/down/left/right D-pad movements and left/right buttons, you can lay the smackdown. You will quickly learn the button combinations: left button=rev punch(right punch), right button=back kick, left/right button together=Round kick. When you add the D-pad movements with the left/right buttons, you will gain a whole new host of abilities. Forward-D and right button=jump back kick, forward and left=front kick, down-D and left button=forward sweep, down and right=rear sweep, up-D and left button=jump side kick, up-D and right=back round kick, forward-D right/Left will jump forward, down-D and right +left =low rev punch. Back-D and right button=leg kick, back-d and left button=leg kick and back-d plus left/right buttons will jump back.
The game is addictive and makes you want to keep playing. My children love the arcade, and we have had a few games before bed over the last two weeks. Their only complaint is that there is only a single game. In fact, we have decided to purchase another cabinet and are deciding between the Bad-Dudes micro cabinet, the Burgertime micro cabinet, or the retro machine X-mini. I would purchase a mini Tempest machine without hesitation if it existed. Additionally, I would buy and any number of other mini-games such as Ninja Turtles The Arcade Game, Dungeons and Dragons, X-men, Galaga, Centipede, Pac-Man. Luckily, according to Twitter, I may get my wish on a few with the releases of Pac-Man and Galaga and Dig-dug this spring. My Arcade seems to capture the spark that the original game ignited. The controls are not mushy, they will stand up to the torture of play and you can play with batteries or via micro-USB. I love that this can be a travel game. Playing roughly an hour a day over the last 12 days, I have not had to change the batteries. My eight and six-year-old sons played with the game and found it to live up to the rigors of children. My biggest complaint is actually with the audio-out jack. I do not know why there is an audio-out port, as the sound can be turned down to nearly nothing. I wish that they put a video out port instead so that we could play on a bigger screen. Even better, I wish that there was a way to link two units for a two player game. I love the cabinet, the coloration and the overall feel of the unit. The vibrant screen fully captured the animation, the playstyle and the magic of Karate Champ. I feel the device warrants a 5/5 star rating.
BUY FROM AMAZON