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Willie!

Arcade USA

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Most of us Gearheads are familiar with the name Haynes that publishes auto repair manuals.  Now they are getting into making electronic kits in that same style!  From retro radio kits to visible engines, these kits from Haynes are both educational and fun!

 

Being a avid gamer, I could not resist buying this kit when I came across it.  The build is quite simple and can be done in under a hour.  Just needs a small screwdriver, soldering iron and wire strippers.  The actual box is the game case, it is very sturdy and has magnets to hold the lid down.  It runs on three “AA” batteries and features a working “coin slot” to coin up the game!

 

The instruction manual is very well written (as you would expect from Haynes) and features lots of pictures to help put the kit together.  It also gives play tips and describes other play modes you can activate on the device (1 player versus computer, 2 player mode or computer versus computer mode).  Activating the computer player is simply done by placing one of the paddles at the bottom of the screen then coin up.  That paddle will flash to indicate it is now going to be a computer player.  You can do this with either paddle or both (for computer head to head play).

 

In playing the game it is quite challenging to play against the computer.  The paddle and ball animation are very good and scoring is displayed as individual dots on the players side of the screen.  Once a game is over, the unit will go to sleep and power down waiting for another coin.

Pros:

  1. Easy assembly
  2. Minimal parts
  3. Very clear and concise assembly instructions
  4. Challenging gameplay
  5. Fun!

Cons:

  1. No hold down for the battery tray (I used double sided tape)
  2. Getting the coin detect working can be tricky while setting it up.
  3. Little pricey for what it is (39.99)

Overall I really enjoyed building this kit, playing the game with my wife we found ourselves giggling and enjoying playing this little device!

 

Rating: (4 out of 5 minicades)

 

4-out-of-5-1-300x99.jpg

 

Retro Arcade Kit – Build Your Own Arcade

Some cool hacks for this device!

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Edited by Willie!

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Released in 2005 by Excalibur Electronics, this mini arcade machine is loosely based on the classic Coleco Tabletop Mini Arcades of the 80’s.    Although it does not have the “classic” VFD (Vacuum Florescent Display) screen, it does have a back lit LCD screen that kind of simulates that VFD look.    Four “C” sized batteries are required to power the unit.

 

Playing the game you will find that you simply cannot hold the joystick to one side to have your base continue to move, rather you have to release the joystick and push it again.   The control panel also has a on/off, pause, mute and start/fire buttons.  controls are responsive but the sound effects are lacking.   The screen is divided in two parts (Left and Right) so as the invaders disappear of the right hand side of the screen you can follow them with your base.   This gives you six total bunkers to hide behind and each bunker can take five hits before disappearing (they do show damage).   The overall game play is kind of slow and the early levels are not much of a challenge.  The invaders will not start marching down until you get up into the higher levels.

 

I did notice that it appears Excalibur Electronics has updated the graphic display.  I had a 2005 released version that shows a much different play screen than what this unit is showing.   The older units had the same graphics as the other hand held space invaders games Excalibur Electronics has made, whereas this newer unit has graphics that look like the original Taito Space Invaders!

Pros:

  • Very well built
  • Nice artwork
  • Backlit screen
  • Improved gameplay graphics

Cons:

  • Smaller than the original Coleco minicades
  • Repetitive joystick motion to get base to move
  • Playfield is divided into two screens
  • Sound effects are “tinny” at best

Overall this is a  fairly nice electronic game to add to a collection, especially if you like Space invaders and these little minicades.

 

Rating:  (4 out of 5 MiniCades)

 

4-out-of-5-2-300x99.jpg

 

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Released by Hashy Toys, this Breakout MiniCade Bank was mainly only available in Japan.   Based on the same molds as the Excalibur MiniCades, the build quality is quite good.   The controls however do suffer a bit, the joystick does not respond will if you happen to push down while playing.  The sounds can get annoying but thankfully there is a Mute button (labeled Sound) to play the game in peace :).

 

The unit runs of 4C batteries and features a working coin slot on top!   There is a small micro switch in the coin slot to detect coins.  anything from a arcade token up to a quarter will activate the machine.   The bank part of the machine has a very large capacity, there is a screw lock door on the back of the machine to empty out your moola simple-smile.png

 

The system auto powers down after 3 minutes.   To activate it, you insert a coin and get 3 minutes to play the game.  The screen is a back lit color LCD and is fairly clear.   This machine also features a pause button do you can take a break from your current game.

The gameplay is straightforward breakout.  you start the game with 3 balls (which are indicated on the upper left side of the screen).  You paddle starts off four pixels wide and as soon as you break through the wall of bricks, the paddle shrinks  down two pixels wide and the ball speeds up.  Also on the screen is a indicator to show if the sound is on and off and a score display on the upper right.

Pros:

  1. Make money off your friends simple-smile.png
  2. Well built housing
  3. Nice artwork, will look good on any shelf or desk
  4. Enjoyable gameplay
  5. Pause and Mute buttons

Cons:

  1. The joystick can become unresponsive if you happen to depress it while playing
  2. The sounds, oh the sounds, they are maddening!
  3. Screen can be hard to see in some orientations.

Overall I really like this Minicade!.  Granted its not VFD based like the Coleco Classic MiniCades, but it does the job well.

Rating: (4 out of 5 Minicades)

4-out-of-5-2-300x99.jpg

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I don't have one today but back in the day I raked in a LOT of time on this bad boy! AWESOME handheld. 

I recently got one of these too!  It is fun, but what really attracted me to it is the wild 70's graphics and font, and just the cool look of it.  It's one of my favorite handheld games. 

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Great stuff Willie. I agree. I really dislike it when people sell repros and try to pass it off as the real thing, especially with a pricey game like MUSHA.

 

And btw, I totally dig the Pinball Electronica theme. It's more modern, but I really enjoyed the Williams and Gottlieb collections on the Wii. I played the Tiger handheld pinball, but it didn't do much for me. Wildfire looks cool though.

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Great stuff Willie. I agree. I really dislike it when people sell repros and try to pass it off as the real thing, especially with a pricey game like MUSHA.

 

 

For this reason, I won't even get "repros" of games that were ever actually in print.   The only ones I buy are multi-carts and fan hacks.   

The one exception, I have sold some copies of Mega-Man Wily Wars for Genesis, which was technically released on the Mega-Drive.   None the less, since I sell it in a custom box for $20 bucks, it should be obvious...however, I will also gleefully point it out.

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Raw Thrills the people behind Galaga Assault, Worlds Biggest Pac Man, Aliens Armageddon and many other cool modern arcade games comes this awesome Pac Man Premium L.E.D. desktop clock!

 

This is an officially licensed product from Bandai Namco and is a limited edition item.   Comes in a nice sturdy well decorated cardboard box with instructions, power supply and the clock.

 

The clock does not have sound, but does feature two neat animations from the Pac Man arcade game - ghosts chasing Pac Man and then Pac Man chasing the scared blue ghosts.

 

The display is made up of multi-color L.E.D.s and are very crisp and bright.  On the back of the unit are two buttons, one to get into the time setting mode and the other to set the time (12/24, Hours, Minutes)

Pros:

  • Bright full color L.E.D. display
  • Pac Man arcade animations
  • Compact size for desk - 8x4

Cons:

  • No sound effects
  • No clock memory of power is removed

Overall a really nice desk top clock, especially for all us Pac Man nuts!

Visit Raw Thrills webpage for purchasing info and what other cool things this company does!

 

Rating:  (4 out of 5 MiniCades)

 

4-out-of-5-2-300x99.jpg

 

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