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My First Cab!!

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Galaxian is always a lot of fun. Congrats on your pickup (from a long time ago).

Here's the thing, and I'm not trying to offend anyone here, just stating my opinion: I don't like the MyArcade cabinets. I don't own any, and I don't in the future because of a couple of reasons. I'm a Basic Fun mini arcade collector. There seems to be a lot of companies making these nowadays. Anyways, here are my reasons.

  1. They use, to my knowledge, MyArcade uses unaltered NES ROMs on their games. I'm not saying basic fun is blameless here; they have done this in the past, but it seems like nowadays they are using versions closer to the arcade on their newer Wal-Mart exclusive dot-matrix games.
  2. The screen on the Basic Fun dot-matrix games looks much better than the screens on the MyArcade units. From videos I've seen on the internet comparing the two, I have seen that the Basic Fun screens have darker blacks and richer colors.
  3. The Basic Fun units are generally cheaper. I've noticed that the Basic Fun units are typically around $20 at most stores, and oftentimes less. By comparison, the MyArcade units generally run for about $30.
  4. This one is the biggest reason of all for my personal dislike of the MyArcade units. They're lazy. To be completely honest, I think the same of all the other Mini Arcades with the dot-matrix screens. I think they're just plain lazy. I know they're closer to the arcades this way, but I really, really enjoy the static screen LCD mini arcades that Basic Fun also makes. These seem more retro to me as it's more realistic for the 1980s. You wouldn't be able to get a full dot-matrix screen in an early 1980s handheld! Granted, you couldn't get the sound quality these LCD games have on a 1980s handheld either. Still, the LCD units are more realistic, unique, and fun to collect. I can just play the arcade or NES ROMs elsewhere, but this is something you need these machines for. I feel the MyArcades are even lazier than the typical Basic Fun units as they are just the plain NES ROMs. At least when Basic Fun used to do that, they changed the title screen.

If you couldn't tell, I'm a sucker for retro handhelds. LCD, LED, VFD, don't matter to me! I think it's fascinating that people were able to turn arcade games into portables with little segmented displays. Oftentimes, these handhelds turn out to be pretty fun as well. It takes some pretty creative people to work around the limitations of these sorts ofm displays. In school notebooks and the like, I used to doodle little drawings of LCD games of my own creations. I'd think of a game (Metroid for example) and try to draw what the LCD matrix would look like had it existed. I still have all my old notebooks, so I might post some pictures in the future if anyone is interested.

I try not to compare different versions of arcade games to their originals. I mean, it certainly helps, but when it comes to ports on old systems or handheld devices like these I try to look and see if they stand on their own as fun games. That's part of the reason why I love Atari 2600 Pac-Man and Donkey Kong so much.

When I first saw these Basic Fun LCD games come out, I was both really hyped and somewhat disappointed. On one hand, THEY WERE BRINGING BACK THE LCD MINI ARCADES! Ever since I was like 6 or so and learned about the Coleco Mini Arcades through the internet (yeah I was a weird kid), I had yearned for one. They looked so awesome! I even asked my parents for one for Christmas or whatever it was, but they thought it was too much money for what it offered and they didn't think I would play it enough. Understandable, though I think I would have used one quite a bit. They were right about one thing: these things are outrageously expensive! I completely understand why my parents wouldn't let me get one. Maybe someday when I have a disposable income I'll get me the DK one, as I highly doubt Basic Fun will be making a version of that!

I have played the Coleco versions of Frogger and Pac-Man in an antique mall before. Pac-Man isn't great, but at least it has a lot of different modes to try out. Frogger on the other hand is done very well. Obviously, I didn't pick them up there. Way too expensive, but when I look back on it they were going much cheaper than ones I've seen on eBay recently. This was a few years ago, and they might have increased in value since then. I probably wouldn't have picked them up today if I saw them, either. Do you know how many 2600, Game Boy, or NES games I could get instead?

On the other hand, the games were black-and-white and looked pretty cheaply made. The selection was also not great. You had Space Invaders (which was very similar to a keychain version I already owned at the time) and Pac-Man. Since then, I've gotten both. Space Invaders is fine, but Pac-Man is without a doubt the worst version of Pac-Man I had ever played in my life. I might even blog about it someday. I know they released an updated version at Wal-Mart, which looks loads better. Get Ms. Pac-Man instead anyways. Also, don't get Tetris. Nothing wrong with that game on the surface, but it's way too easy and will straight up stop your game after you beat level 15.

I didn't get one of the Mini Arcades until a few years later when I got Q*Bert. By that time, they were making them in color and with better joysticks. These versions of the games are most of the time very good and much cheaper than the Coleco units and other VFD games at the time. I'd recommend collecting them.

I hope nobody is offended by my opinion of the MyArcade titles. If you enjoy them, go right ahead. They definetely have their pros against the Basic Fun machines as well. For instance, they're more tabletop-like. But this is just my opinion.

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To my knowledge, myArcade cabs use LCD screens, not dot matrix.  Dot matrix is what you’d see on a classic GameBoy. 

And I’m not offended.  I have similar thoughts about games.  Yes, for the price of a mini arcade I could get a few games for a console but I also wanted an attention getter for my game room and those mini cabs do just that.  Besides their design the artwork on them just pops.  I don’t play them very often but they are cool.

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