Evo 2018: Arcade 1Up Wants the Street Fighter Arcade Experience in Your Living Room

Since Arcade 1Up announced their mass-market arcade cabinet venture earlier this year, speculation ran rampant about how they were going to pull off such a feat. Thankfully, Arcade 1Up was out in force at Evo 2018, and World Warriors was there there to put their machines through their paces. Being World Warriors, our focus was obviously on the Street Fighter cabinet, and Super Street Fighter II Turbo in particular given the conspicuous absence of Street Fighter II` Hyper Fighting.

The first, and perhaps most important thing to note, is that these are not full form factor cabinets. Built on a roughly 1:4 scale, these machines are more along the lines of what you would find in smaller local arcades, gas stations, and pizza parlors than the showcase cabinets of your more likely Street Fighter mecca from back in the day…if even a bit smaller still (you’ll either want some small stools to sit on while you play, or an optional $40 riser from Arcade 1Up to elevate it to a stand-up model). This is probably the most decisive compromise that allowed Arcade 1Up to achieve its mass-market palatable $299 price point, and provided you’re not placing a row of these machines side-by-side, should allow most players to enjoy the hardware as intended.

The other important compromise is that all of the sticks and buttons were made in-house by Arcade 1Up, rather than implementing higher-grade, costlier parts from brand names like Sanwa Denshi, Seimitsu, or Crown. Apart from the precision question, there’s a longevity issue that may present itself if this is the same hardware that ships in September: While we were putting one machine through its paces (and we most certainly did, to the tune of nearly 100 matches over the weekend), it was rare that we didn’t see a company rep or two running repairs on one of the ones nearby. However, it should also be noted that we never had controls fail on us mid-play, implying that if you respect the hardware, it will hold up. Still, the more avid Street Fighter player will certainly want to run an upgrade before putting one of these through very heavy use.

Now for the good news – really good news, in fact: The machines play remarkably well, earning endorsements from the likes of Justin Wong and Marn in a promotional video. The Arcade 1Up rep we spoke to made a point to clarify that the games are not running emulated, contrary to previous reports, but that they were licensed and properly ported to the custom hardware. First-hand experience backed up the claim, as there was no lag problem to speak of, and Super Turbo ran as properly as can be for our entire time grinding away at it. This is also a testament to the quality of the monitors used, as they were blisteringly fast and sharp. The lone buzzkill: Asking about the possibility of a scanline filter was met with an immediate and decisive “no.”

To hear Arcade 1Up tell it, their mission for their maiden voyage is simple: provide an arcade-quality experience to the mass-market at a reasonable price. With this first wave of cabinets (which also includes Asteroids and Galaga models, among others, for those of more diverse tastes than simply fighting games), they certainly appear to be accomplishing that. Who knows what an immediate success might enable them to produce?

Arcade 1Up’s line of consumer arcade cabinets will launch on September 25, and can be preordered now from a host of online retailers, including Walmart (including Canada), FYE, Gamestop, and eventually (strangely enough) Bed Bath & Beyond.