Arcade1Up have made a reputation for themselves by releasing gorgeous replicas of classic arcade machines – at slightly more manageable sizes than the originals – with beautiful modern displays and even extra games included.
Though their most recently announced release – a replica of Don Bluth’s still impressive, beautifully animated, 1983 LaserDisc title Dragon’s Lair – is currently an online exclusive in the US, in the UK it’ll be exclusively available from GAME this summer (and can be pre-ordered at this link for the sum of £429.99).
The Dragon’s Lair arcade machine doesn’t just contain the original 1983 game, but also its 1991 sequel (Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp) and Space Ace, a sci-fi themed title which also arrived in 1983.
All three of the original games were genuinely jaw-dropping at the time they were released; running video from LaserDisc, interaction was minimal – consisting of quick time events that meant moving the joystick or pushing a button at a specific moment, with failure occurring if poorly-timed or if the wrong direction or button was used.
Naturally, with such restrictive gameplay, it was more a test of memory than a traditional game – one in which players would eventually progress through what essentially amounted to a slightly interactive cartoon.
Yet the phenomenal standard of the animation – Don Bluth having been an ex-Disney animator who left to set up his own studio, producing feature length cartoons such as An American Tail and The Land Before Time – gives Dragon’s Lair, its sequel and Space Ace an absolutely timeless look, even if the gameplay could never hope to match up to the visuals. Having a Dragon’s Lair cabinet at home would certainly be quite the conversation piece, too!
Arcade1Up have some more machines on the way this year too, with NBA Jam: Shaq Edition and Golden Tee 3D Golf also set for release in 2022.
NBA Jam, with its lightning-fast, end-to-end, 2-on-2 basketball gameplay is fondly remembered for its over-the-top gameplay and overly-enthusiastic commentary (“He’s on fire!” and “Boomshakalaka!” come instantly to mind whenever the game is mentioned). The Shaq Edition features NBA Jam, NBA Jam Tournament Edition and NBA Hangtime.
Though four players can play together on a single machine, online play is also enabled, which is a welcome addition.
A series that’ll be familiar to anyone who frequented pubs in the UK in the 90s (and I’m sure they made their way to bars in the US too!), the Golden Tee 3D Golf games – with their digitised visuals and trackball controls – were a staple of pre-millennium nights out.
This machine features five Golden Tee titles; the first being 1995’s Golden Tee 3D, followed by Golden Tee ‘97, ‘98, ‘99 and 2K. Additionally, if you want to play away from the golf course, bonus games Shuffle Shot and World Class Bowling are also included.
One of the biggest features of the original Golden Tee games was being able to compare your score with other players nationwide, thanks to the inclusion of online leaderboards – which felt revolutionary at the time! Thankfully, online leaderboards are also supported in Arcade1Up’s version too.
Both NBA Jam: Shaq Edition and Golden Tee 3D Golf are available in the US and Canada from Arcade1Up directly, or from GAME in the UK.
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Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog midlifegamergeek.com, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).
Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.