My wife gets nervous whenever I mention arcade cabinets or pinball machines. It's an understandable sentiment, because a good friend of mine has a basement filled with over two dozen vintage machines. She knows that as soon as one sneaks through the door, more will undoubtedly follow.
Archie Jones faced a similar problem a couple of years ago. He wanted to build a multi-game arcade unit, but his wife didn't want a refrigerator-sized machine lurking in the corner. The result is the American Ace Arcade—a scaled-down arcade machine that stands just over 4 feet high. It's the perfect height for kids or seated adults.
The design looks absolutely beautiful and Archie just rolled out an affordable Kickstarter project for anyone interested in getting their hands on one. Pledging $40 gets you a set of plans, blueprints and full-sized templates to make cutting side panels a breeze.
If you're not quite so into DIY, a $300 pledge gets you a cabinet kit that assembles with only a screwdriver, and you can add a $150 pre-drilled control panel (USB arcade controller, sanwa joystick and happ buttons) and accessory kit (marquee lights, t-molding, plexiglass and marquee retainers). There's also a $250 personalized artwork option which gets you the side panel art, marquee and control panel overlay.
Once you have the cabinet assembled, what goes inside is up to you. You'll need to supply your own monitor, sound system and game board (PC-based MAME arcade emulator, JAMMA multi-game, or even a home game console).
The fit and finish of the American Ace Arcade looks first rate and it's an excellent alternative to buying a pre-built unit, which can easily cost several thousand dollars. The compact size makes it easy to accomodate in the corner of a family room and makes it absolutely irresistable to kids. And if you like the compact cabinet but want something that adults can play standing, it should be easy to build a small pedestal to raise the unit.
So what are you waiting for? Check out Archie's American Ace Arcade and let me know what you think!