The retro gaming scene continues to grow and more and more physical toys are appearing on the market every season. We have recently gotten hold of these Tiny Arcade toys. They are pocket-sized fully-playable reproductions of 1980’s arcade machines that allow you to play a classic game in the palm of your hand.
These units are not to be confused with the kickstarter kits, instead offering instant ready-to-run accessibility for a bargain-basement price. We take a look at the four units currently available, Pac-man, Ms Pac-man, Galaxian and Space Invaders.
Tiny Arcade : At a glance
- Pocket-sized functional mini arcade machine
- Authentic sound effects
- Directional joystick and two input buttons
- Fully licensed by Bandai/Namco/Taito
- Runs on 3xAAA (included)
The Tiny Arcade Range
Each of the units comes in its own plastic display case. These are easy to open and re-seal which makes them great for people interested in collecting. If you are feeling adventurous you can even access the controls through a hole in the packaging without even unwrapping them.
Turning on the Tiny Arcade
The units come shipped in demo mode. Pressing any of the controls will trigger the game startup, demonstrating a small clip of gameplay. To activate the full game, you need to turn the cabinet off and back on again via the switch on the back of the unit.
Replacing the batteries
The cabinets come ready-to-run, with three AAA batteries already installed. Considering the low power requirements we expect these to last a long time.
How small are the Tiny Arcade cabinets?
The cabinets all measure 90mm tall, 43mm wide and 46mm deep at their extremities. Below is a comparison against the new slim 330mm drinks cans to give you an idea of just how small that is.
Seemingly to increase the portability, each comes with a key chain and ring attached. We felt these are more suited as desk ornaments or mini-book ends rather than mobile gaming units and would have prefered the option to release the chain from the cabinet.
Tiny Arcade Space Invaders
Once again it’s up to you to protect the planet as the Space Invaders are back and in the palm of your hand! True to the original you use the joystick to move the craft left and right and fire with the far right button.
Whilst the menu doesn’t scale too well on the low-resolution screen, the game itself is clear and fun to play. Given three lives you must strafe behind the bases, shooting the approaching invaders with your laser beam.
Tiny Arcade Pac-Man
As per the original you control Pac-Man through the maze with the mini controllers, eating all the pac-dots along the way. The ghosts, Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde are in attendance to haunt you around the map. It features the wrap route and the bonus fruit that turn the tables.
Tiny Arcade Ms. Pac-Man
This variation of the original features the solid walled mazes that alter between levels. Whilst it doesn’t have the cachet of the base Pac-man game, Ms. Pac Man offers a lot more longevity.
The baby blue cabinet is less recognisable but features the iconic pink bow of the original setup.
Tiny Arcade Galaxian
Despite the advanced age of some of our colleagues, this was the least familiar of all the games. Galaxian was developed by Namco in the early 80’s and has you fighting off a swarm of alien armies as they strafe across the galaxy ahead of you.
Whilst they don’t offer a great deal of longevity, we really like the Tiny Arcade cabinets. Ours have become treasured (and often stolen) desk ornaments for many around the office.
- Great (if not perfectly faithful) recreation of some classic games
- Fantastic details on the cabinets (including backlight) make them great desk ornaments
- An entertaining casual experience at an inexpensive price
- Keyring and chain. These are a little too bulky to have hanging off of your house or car keys so it is largely pointless.
- Screwed battery cover. This is likely to stop kids tearing the cells out, but it leaves you searching for a screwdriver
- Low-res display harms the legibility of scoreboards and can strain the eyes if you really get addicted!
Should I buy a Tiny Arcade cabinet?
If you are an avid retro gamer, or really love playing with miniature toys then yes. If not then a paid app on your phone might offer a more enjoyable gaming experience.
At little over £20, they make great presents or stocking fillers for any self-professed geek or ’80’s baby’ come Christmas time, as memories of a bygone era before games consoles.
You can find each of the Tiny Arcade cabinets on our webstore here.