The idea of owning a miniature arcade game compared to the real deal isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. First off, there’s space to consider, as not everyone has room for a huge machine. There’s also maintenance, parts, and other little factors, which makes things like those old Coleco arcade cabinets worth picking up.
But New Wave Toys has introduced a new era of what miniature arcade gaming can be with a near-exact arcade replica of Centipede, the 80’s Atari classic where you shoot at a number of bugs making their way from the top of the screen. They launched a successful KickStarter some time ago, and it appears that the units are starting to make their way out the door. But now the real question sinks is -- is a mini-arcade experience just as rewarding as playing it in the arcade? Well, it’s different, that’s for sure, but it’s also pretty highly effective. Especially when you consider the price.
As part of its debuting Replicade line-up, New Wave Toys’ Centipede is impressively built. It’s pretty much an exact replica of the original Atari arcade game, right down to the cabinet design and parts. It feels like an actual arcade unit, complete with side art (no cheapy replacement items here) and even light-up one and two player buttons on the cabinet, along with the coin slots and the name display. It looks just like an arcade game.
What’s more, it also features a trackball controller on the right side and a fire button on the left side, both of which work very closely to the arcade game. Obviously, controls are a little bit different since you’re now rolling the ball around with a finger instead of your whole hand, which takes a mild bit of adjustment. But the physics are pretty rock solid, and the response is spot on in terms of aiming and shooting at on-screen enemies. No question about performance here, even with the mild adjustment.
After getting through a start-up screen (featuring the Replicade and Atari logos), the game starts right up like it would in the arcade, with the attract screen. To add credits to the game, simply press in the left coin slot button. And you can press the right one next to it to make little changes, like changing the brightness of the screen (which isn’t a bad idea).
It all works pretty nicely, but there is one thing to keep in mind. The Replicade doesn’t run off of batteries, and is instead a rechargeable unit, with a USB cord included so you can charge via your computer or adapter. It can take a little while for the unit to charge back up (though it lasts around a couple of hours off a full charge), so just keep that in mind. Once charged, however, you’ll be hard pressed to find differences between the arcade game and this thing (aside from size, obviously).
I’m also a fan of the video screen. Sitting at about 12” in display size, I can understand how those with poor vision might be thrown off at the smaller setup. Otherwise, though, it runs just as smoothly as the arcade game, and it’s easy to make out what’s happening. I also enjoyed the retro sounds that came through, like the marching of the Centipede characters, as well as the zapping noise coming from your ship. And that spidey dangling noise is back as well.
So the real question is if the Replicade is worth it. Well, that depends how much of a collector you are. Obviously this is a game that’s built for old-school fans, although newcomers are sure to enjoy it, just for the sake of having an awesome collectible on their desk. (It sure looks good on mine.) It’s a pretty exact build of the original arcade game, even though its smaller control scheme takes some getting used to, along with its display.
But there’s no question that New Wave Toys’ debut effort is impressive. This is a must-have for anyone looking to start a line-up of small arcade games (it’s a little higher than the price of those older Coleco games, and far better quality), or just looking for a neat item to show off to their gaming friends in-between sessions of more current games. It’s got a tremendous amount of value, and for a pretty good price of $160 to boot. (Don’t wait too long to order, though -- only a few thousand units are being produced.)
And what’s more, New Wave isn’t done. A Tempest game is in the works, and Street Fighter II has been announced as well. Again, they’ll have control schemes that will take adjustment with their shrinking down, but I have no question that they’ll be fun for the fans that truly want to get into them. And who knows, maybe New Wave will visit even more corners of arcade history for collectible purposes. We’d love to see what a mini Defender game looks like.0comments
(Disclaimer: A review unit was provided by the publisher.)
Want to learn more about Replicade? Check out our interview with the team!