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Arcade Legends vs MAME vs Multicade...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Was looking at getting a home arcade unit and my head was spinning for weeks. I eventually decided what I was gonna get but thought I should start a thread about the options and get some other opinions on the matter.

At first, I was looking at arcade legends, but was disapponted that it was missing some key games (Ms PacMan, Galaga, Donkey Kong, etc). I then found that you could load these game, but some sites were charging several hundred dollars per game.

I also thought (quite naively) that you could get every clasic game to work well on one unit. I have learned better.

Every arcade game has it's own qwerks. Some games need a horizontal orientation to the monitor (Joust, Defender, Stargate,etc) others need a Vertical orientation (Donkey Kong, Frogger, Ms PacMan, Galaga). Some just need a joystick (PacMan), some a Joystick and a fire button (Galaga), Some need a trackball (Centipede), some a joystick and a ton of buttons (Defender, Mortal Kombat), some need 2 player side by side compatibity (Mortal Combat, Street Fighter), some need 2 joystick (Robotron), some need a flight yoke (Star Wars), some need a steering wheel accelerator and buttons (Spy Hunter), etc...

There is no system out there that accomidate these needs.

So, I came to decide that I need to figure out what my priorities are:
1) Standup vs cocktail
2) Vertical vs Horizontal
3) What kind of games do you want
4) Computer based (MAME) vs some board based design.

I ended up going with this:

The advantages of this system (for me) is that it is a cocktail (I had limited space), it allows horizontal and vertical controls and has 70 games. It is plug and play (no computer) and has most of the games I want (missing Asteroids, QBert, Missle Command. Tetris). And missing any sports games or fighting games.

The cons is lack of trackball (they include Centipede and there is no trackball...grrr) and it is really NOT upgradable.

Cost: $3200 (shipped into my rec room). Probably overpaid...

So, I am just curious about what systems people bought and why. Would you buy it again or recomend it to friends? Why or why not?

I just found this to be far more complicated purchase than I anticipated.
post #2 of 14
I wanted ALL the games, so a guy I know in Florida has built me a MAME and is brining it up to me in NC this Friday. I can't wait! I'm not a huge video game guy and figured I wouldn't know the difference between a game run on MAME or the real thing. I've played MAME video games on my laptop for years and just wanted a more arcade look and feel.

I can't wait to play this thing. Below is the info and photos that Thomas posted. He's the guy in Florida that made this for me. It has side art, but we are going to put that on this weekend after he brings it up to my house.

Here's the info on it...

They are on pages 9 - 12.

It is running MAME32, GameEX, Zinc, WinCab and PinMAME.

This set up includes:

Midway Cabinet (Painted and Restored)
Wells Garner 25" Monitor
2.6Ghz Pentium Processor Computer
120 GB hard drive space
DVD Rom Drive
Ultimarc VGA Card
Ultimarc J-Pac Card
New Jamma Harness with all new Connectors
Brand new HAPP Buttons & Switches
Brand new HAPP USB Lighted Trackball
New MAME Marquees Marquee and Side-Art
Peter Chow Power Supply
New Amplified Computer Speakers

Everything is functioning exactly as it should, including: Coin Mech's, Locks, Lights, Marquee Light, Service & Test Switches, Recessed computer power switch under the control panel etc....

All the programs are configured and are working as well as they can (NOT ALL MAME GAMES WORK 100%, most do, but not all).

This game is pre-loaded with MAME32 & GameEx with over 3,000 working games.
It is loaded with Zinc with about 80 games including the Tekken Serious, Soul Edge, etc...
It is loaded with the WinCab virtual Jukebox. Just load your MP3's and play them directly on this machine.
It is loaded with PinMAME. Play virtual Pinball machines on this MAME cabinet.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Nice setup!

How much?
post #4 of 14
$1,350 + gas. Not too bad. I had him add the two buttons on each side to play Visual Pinball on it, got to pick out the trackball style/color, button colors, art, etc., it was pretty custom.
post #5 of 14
I agree with you Raymond, that at first the purchase seems like it will be cut-n-dry. But then it turns out not to be the case.

My first foray into the hobby was the purchase of a Star Trek upright. It was the game I played most regularly in the arcades growing up and I always wanted to get my own. So, once the basement was done, I got one. Too bad it arrived in non-working condition and I have been struggling to get it working for that past 4 months. The game uses the infamous G08 vector monitor so, that is where my problems have been. I'm hopeful I can get it up and running eventually.

In the meantime, I wanted more games for the man-cave. I have the Xbox 360 and it gets a lot of use, but I wanted more classics that would be fun to play with the kids and at parties. I decided on a cocktail for the same reason as you…space. I didn't have enough of it to keep getting classic uprights, so I needed a multi-game machine.
The local pool/gaming place had Arcade Legends. I checked it out, played it and I enjoyed it. The price was a too high though. They were asking $3499 or something like that. I tried to get the price down, but they wouldn't so, I didn't get it.

I check out the AL machines on the Internet, as well as the mame machines.
I ended up ordering an Arcade Legends (1st version) cocktail with the King Pack and Midway Classics pack from HTMarket.com. What happened was, that they ended up sending me an Ultracade! It had more games installed on it than the AL machine did, but it didn't have Asteroids or missile command (games I wanted). The add-on packs they sent, though, were for the AL machine and wouldn't work on the Ultracade either.

So, because the "screwed up," they told me to keep the Ultracade and ended up sending me the correct packs PLUS Asteroids and the trackball classics pack for free. So I ended up getting a lot more games than I originally planned on without spending more. I have about 158 games on my machine now. It gets used pretty much everyday by myself and the kids.

What I like about the Ultracade is that the screen adjusted depending on what games you are playing. There is no need for additional controls on the side, like the Multiwilliams. If you are playing a horizontal 2 player game, such as Mortal Kombat, the screen is mirrored of each player. Works out pretty well. One downside is that you can't play 2 player simultaneous for vertical scrollers…such as 1942. Works fine for vertical scrollers that each player takes a turn, though, like Commando.

I did do a little to tweak my cabinet. I replaced the CP overlays and put in lighted trackballs, etc. Pics can be seen in my "Pimp my Ultracade" thread…


I'm happy with my Ultracade and don't regret the purchase at all. Doesn't mean I don't think the other machines out there aren’t cool too. As long as you can get something that you're happy with, then that's all that matters.
post #6 of 14
Originally Posted by tidalwdave View Post

$1,350 + gas. Not too bad. I had him add the two buttons on each side to play Visual Pinball on it, got to pick out the trackball style/color, button colors, art, etc., it was pretty custom.

That's a great idea for the video pinball games! Cool.
post #7 of 14
looks good!

i've got my eye on the x-arcade... just because you can swap out the control boards for different styles of games... also the monitor is big enough that you can do both orientations, and it'll have black bars on the sides or top to give it the right aspect.

that piece is nice though! congrats!
post #8 of 14
I have an Arcade Legends 1 machine. It's now tricked out with almost 300 games. It has served me well for about 3 years now. Very nice machine and highly recommended if you want a stand-up. They make Arcade Legends 2s now, so that may be your best route.
post #9 of 14
I have something called "The Time Machine" from a company called Royal Amusements.

4 Joysticks, trackball, spinner, it has everything on it, all arcade games, all neo-geo games, nintendo, super nintendo, genesis, ps1.

The classic stuff is emulated the best, great trackball games (missile command, millipede, marble madness) the capcom fighting games are perfect too. Most of the neo-geo games are right on, the genesis, etc. are hit and miss, some are perfect, some stink. Atari games too.

It's the best I've seen of these, it has a proprietary system for choosing formats, genres, etc. Jevon Kearse of the Eagles has one, the kid with the red hair from Austin Powers has one.

My problem is I have it in my Family Room and want it out so I can use my fireplace, I've been meaning to sell it and some pinball machines but I never do winter is coming though.

I paid over 4K delivered for it a couple of years ago, if anyone is in the NJ area and is interested in it just pm me.
post #10 of 14
"The Freak" has one? cool.

Do you have any pics of the machine or a link to the company? I did a google, but didn't find anything.
post #11 of 14
I wouldnt recomment going with an Arcade Legends or Ultracade. I have an Ultracade that I bought back in the spring of 2004. Paid $3,200 for it. It has 100 games for it, but all support has stopped. The Ultracade co. was bought over by a company called Global VR and there hasnt been a game pack released in 3 years. They kept saying how future packs will soon be available but nothing ever happened. The Arcade Legends has a few more games on it but the Wells Gardner 25" monitor has a low resolution when compared to the W-G 19, 27 and 33 inch monitors that were featured with the Ultracade. I regret not buying a custom made MAME arcade. I thought there would have been tons of packs available by now, but it seems licensing was a big problem as well.

My reason for buying is that Im a videogame junkie. I have over 400 games and 16 systems dating back to the Sega Master System. I even collect game soundtracks, artwork and arcade marquees. There is a huge amount of arcade games from the 80s and 90s that I want to play in their original arcade glory. Unfortunately the majority were never brought out for home use and if they were, the technology at the time wasnt there for a faithful translation. Not to mention the classic arcade has disappeared over the past 10 years.
post #12 of 14
Global VR can still help you with tech questions, but you're right, there won't be any new game packs coming out.

Still, I am quite happy with my cocktail Ultracade. I have almost 200 games on it and it gets a lot of use between me, my kids, and my friends.
I like how you can now get all the old add-on packs much cheaper than they were when they orginally came out. It is all left over stock, so it has been my experience, that suppliers that have the packs will let them go for cheaper, just to use up the old stock.

But if I bought my machine 3 years ago like you did, expecting Ultracade would continue to support it and come out with new packs, I would probably feel different.
post #13 of 14
Yeah, really. There was supposed to be a Data East pack as well as another Capcom pack. The Capcom games were the main reason why I bought it in the first place. And yes, the packs are pretty darn expensive. I havent seen a reduction in price for the ones that have been sitting around. I'll have to dig deeper. Thanks for that info.
post #14 of 14
A Data East pack would've been pretty cool...would love to get some Roboocop action on there.
I haven't even played all the games on my machine yet, so I can't really complain about lack of games.
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