We’re starting to see a resurgence of arcade games for use in the home, between Replicade’s Centipede machine (and other forthcoming favorites like Tempest and Street Fighter II) and the Arcade1up line of machines, featuring Asteroids, Rampage and more. But Numskull is looking to get in on the action with a line of Quarter Arcades machines, bringing the feeling of classic game machines in a much more compact format.
The first game in the lineup, based on Bandai Namco’s Pac-Man, is set to make its debut in December with a limited amount of units available, with more to come in 2019. You can expect other favorites like Galaga to come around, with possibly more machines to be introduced after.
We caught up with Numskull’s PR and communications manager Ryan Brown to get more details about what the game will have to offer, as well as how it was put together and, most importantly, what’s next:
Jumping Into the Home Arcade Market
First off, how did the creation of the Pac-Man mini arcade cabinet come about? Did you guys think it was a good idea to celebrate the classic arcade game, or did Bandai Namco come to you? Take us into its initial start.
We’d previously worked with Bandai Namco on official merchandise for Tekken, Dark Souls, and PAC-MAN, so we already had a great relationship with them. We saw a gap in the miniature arcade market, so we approached Bandai Namco and they loved the idea of representing PAC-MAN with a high-end arcade cabinet replica! They’ve been fabulous to work with start to finish and have been hugely supportive of the project.
Now we’re seeing more arcade-to-home recreations on the market, including Replicade’s games and the Arcade1up series. Are you worried about the competition, or do you think it’ll push arcade gaming-at-home to a higher level?
Honestly, we’re gamers ourselves and are more than happy to see lots of arcade representation on the market. I think Quarter Arcades sticks out as being a product focusing on making high quality, authentic builds that look and play just like the real deal. There’s definitely room in the market for us and the other competition as I’d say we all provide something a bit different. For us, it’s all about being the high-end collectible.prevnext
Putting the Game Together the Right Way
Tell us about the parts that you used to create the Pac-Man mini arcade game. Are they authentic to the “real deal,” as it were?
Absolutely – we pride ourselves on having the most authentic Pac-Man miniature on the market. We could have just made the unit out of cheap plastic and a Raspberry Pi, but we knew retro gamers would have quickly picked up on it, and as I say, we’re serious gamers ourselves – we wanted to create a product that we ourselves wanted on our shelves.
The cabinet itself is made of real wood, with real metal details like the coin drawer, and a four-way joystick for that lovely ‘clicky’ feedback. Everything from the light-up marquee to the fact we’ve used the original arcade ROM on a custom emulator and board is all about that authentic factor. There’s even little details like the wire mesh on the back and screws on the top of the cabinet. If you compared pictures of the real deal to our miniature, you’d struggle to tell the difference!
What was the most challenging part of getting a game like this to work so well on the home market?
We knew many people would purchase this as a display piece, but we always wanted it to emulate the original arcade gameplay experience perfectly – which, as I’m sure you can imagine, was a struggle at quarter scale. We changed the joystick on more than one occasion because we wanted it to feel just right. Eventually, we settled on the 4-way joystick we have now, which feels really great to play without getting uncomfortable after longer play periods!prevnext
Universal Approval, Even From Pac-Man's Creator
How has press and fan reaction been to the game thus far? Are people excited to get their hands on it?
The reaction has been phenomenal! We’re incredibly appreciative of all the press attention it’s received, as well as the warm messages from fans and customers. It’s been a real pleasure to work on a product like this. Some people are surprised to see that it’s larger than they thought from pictures and that it plays and looks better than expected, which is exactly what we like to hear!
Has Bandai Namco — or perhaps even the original creator of Pac-Man — had any say on the game?
Bandai Namco has been with us right from the beginning, making sure we represent Pac-Man in the best way possible. Lee Kirton at Bandai Namco in particular has been a massive help, going so far as to appear in our promotional video for the machine – and yes, even Toru Iwatani has given it the thumbs-up.
What's the Cost, and What's Next
This is just the beginning, right? You guys are planning to make more of these, based on Galaga and Dig-Dug? Or are you just taking it one game at a time?
Galaga is next in the pipeline, which will release around April, with pre orders available some time beforehand. We also have Galaxian and Ms. Pac-Man confirmed for 2019, but we’re in talks with companies like Bandai Namco, Konami, Taito, Capcom, and more to bring even more classic arcade titles to homes and offices.
How much do these sell for, so people can prepare their wallets accordingly?
It’s $199 (and can be pre-ordered here), and it comes beautifully packaged with an exclusive collector’s coin and certificate of authenticity. It’s a very limited edition product, with only 10,000 units produced worldwide – much of that stock has already been sold, so we’re hoping it’ll become a genuine rare collectible for fans, and the start of an excellent range.
Finally, if these take off, can we see more obscure games join the lineup? What I wouldn’t give for a miniature Splatterhouse.
Haha, I love Splatterhouse! I’d personally love to see some classic light gun games, although I’m unsure how that could be implemented. Everything is a possibility, so please do send us your suggestions! More obscure titles may not have quite as many units produced, of course, but we’re definitely looking at everything.0comments
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