Quarter Arcades TMNT Cabinet Review – Is It Worth $300?

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Quarter Arcades Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cabinet

$300/£250
7

7.0/10

Pros

  • Stunning replica
  • Brilliant gameplay in solo player mode
  • Game runs flawlessly

Cons

  • High price tag
  • Multiplayer mode feels clunky
  • No HDMI out or multiplayer pads included

We’re hanging out with heroes in a half-shell and scratching our nostalgic gaming itch with this Quarter Arcades Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cabinet, but is it worth the RRP of $300?

We’re obviously massive fans of retro gaming here at Retro Dodo. Show us a device that looks a bit like an original Game Boy and we party like it’s Christmas 1999.

It’ll probably come as no surprise that we’re also fans of old cartoons that were popular in the 80s and 90s. There seems to be a lot of overlap with these two fanbases, and a lot of the reason for that was probably due to the amount of licensed video games based on TV shows and movies from that era.

Of all of these shows, there was probably none quite as huge as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and despite having watched some the 1987 TV series when I was younger, it actually wasn’t until the 2003 show that I considered myself a true fan. I loved this particular version of the Turtles, I collected the magazines, I still have a couple of the games and I tuned into the show all the time.

But you didn’t come here for my tales of being a Turtles fan, you came here for this; this is the Quarter Arcades Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cabinet which was sent to us for review by Numskull.

Being a pretty big fan of the Turtles I was obviously very excited when this arrived in the post, but is it actually any good or is it just cashing in on the recent Turtle hype?

Checking Out The $300 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade From Quarter Arcades

Rob holding the Quarter Arcades Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cabinet

Our first impressions of the cabinet are that it’s utterly incredible. As to be expected with Quarter Arcades the build quality and attention to detail is astonishing; they craft these cabinets to be as close to the original machines as possible, featuring the same artwork on the side, the light up bezel art, and the speaker grill placed above the screen.

Then there’s the four coin doors, and of course the four player control panel with coloured joysticks and buttons to represent the different turtles you can play as.

In terms of visual appeal, this is absolutely perfect. Even the fake coin slots are backlit when the cabinet is turned on; there are just so many little details to look at here.

I love how goofy the original arcade artwork is too. April is just a literal live action person while the turtles are illustrated but in a different style to the background art, and it’s all meshed together in this really ugly but strangely charming way.

Even though I kind of hate it, I also kind of love it and I’m glad that Quarter Arcades preserved it like this.

Impeccable Attention To Detail

When we turn the cabinet on with the switch on the back, the impressive 6 inch display turns on and the visuals here look amazing. The colours are extremely vibrant, the display is bright and easy to see, and because the screen is fairly small, the graphics look awesome, it’s not being stretched at all and it’s being displayed in it’s native 4:3 aspect ratio.

The sound levels can be adjusted with a wheel on the back of the cabinet, and despite only featuring 3 watts of power, the speakers are pretty good. The bass isn’t going to blow the shell off of your back or anything, but it’s not tinny and the audio quality is generally great.

It also has an internal rechargeable battery which means that you can use the cabinet even if it’s not directly plugged into a wall socket. It has a USB-C port on the back which can either be used to supply it a constant feed of power from a wall socket adapter or you can charge it, unplug it and then put it on your shelf and play it wirelessly.

The battery lasts for around an hour and twenty minutes, so it’s not the longest battery life, but it’s still a nice extra touch.

So, it looks awesome, the display is great, the sound quality is good and you don’t even need to mess around with wires. This all sounds good, but how is it to actually play?

Controls That’ll Make You Shout Cowabunga!

4 joysticks of the TMNT quarter cabinet

I was initially a little bit worried that because the joysticks and buttons are so small, it might be a little bit awkward to play a game that requires a certain degree of precision like this. However it turns out that this isn’t actually a problem at all and the controls feel great. I love the feel of the joysticks clicking into place as you move them around and the buttons get the job done even if they are a little bit soft to the touch.

The issue with the controls would only really become apparent if you were to try and play this with more than one player.

Multiplayer Mishaps

Two players struggling with the quarter arcade cabinet at once

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is known for its simultaneous four player co-op and while this cabinet does allow for that, because it’s so small it would be uncomfortable to realistically play it like this. You’d be way too close to each other huddled around a small screen and you’d practically be holding hands due to how small the control panel is.

The solution – Quarter Arcades created their own USB controller which is specifically for these TMNT machines after discovering this issue. You access these USB inputs by pressing the front coin doors in which opens then up revealing the hidden ports.

I love this little element of interactivity with the cabinet, it’s so much more interesting than just having the ports on the back.

This attempt to fix the multiplayer component of the game though comes with it’s own set of problems.

Firstly, the cabinet doesn’t come with any of these controllers and they cost £20 each on Amazon, meaning a full set of four would set you back £80. I feel like it should have come with at least one controller honestly.

The second problem with this controller situation is that you’d still be huddled around a small screen which isn’t ideal when you’re playing with a whole group of people. It’s a shame that the cabinet doesn’t have a HDMI output to connect it to a bigger display because this combined with the controller solution would have actually made the multiplayer component of the game viable and made it a more versatile device in general too.

Modelled After A Masterpiece

Quarter Arcades NES controller

As a quick side note, the Quarter Arcades USB controllers are actually quite interesting. They’re modelled after the NES controller but the d-pad has a joystick attached to it which makes it feel slightly more authentic for arcade games.

The joystick is actually removable too if you prefer using a standard d-pad and I just think this is pretty neat, I’ve never seen anything like this before.

Another thing that I tried out was seeing if the cabinet was compatible with other USB controllers and to my surprise it actually is, at least partially.

The PS5 and Switch Pro controllers didn’t work which is a shame considering a lot of people probably have access to these, but a wired Xbox 360 controller and the 8BitDo SN30 controller worked flawlessly, so depending on what you have access to, you might not actually need to buy the official Quarter Arcades controller.

Joystick Vs Controller

Close up of the arcade cabinet joystick

Using a controller is a little bit weird though because I couldn’t find a way of selecting which turtle to play as. No matter which port I used, the first controller to be plugged in was always Leonardo, the second was Michelangelo, the third was Donatello, and the forth was Raphael.

This means that if you only have a single controller you’d only be able to play as Leonardo. It’s a bit weird how the USB ports aren’t assigned to a particular turtle like the joystick controls are.

However, what I will say is that despite all of this fumbling around with multiplayer options and the controller support, the actual gameplay is rock solid. It’s obviously emulating the original arcade ROM, but it runs absolutely perfectly with no performance issues in the slightest.

But now let’s move onto the part that everyone loves, how much does this thing cost and is it worth the price of admission?

A Pocket Full Of Quarters, But How Many Will You Need To Play?

Quarter Arcades Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cabinet - how much does it cost

The Quarter Arcades Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cabinet currently costs £250 or $300 via Amazon, with other retailers offering very similar prices too. This is obviously quite expensive, but with the quality of the product being so high, it could be worth it depending on how much of a fan of this particular game you are or how much of a general fan of the TMNT series you are.

This price tag means that it’s positioned as a premium collector’s item which I always think is a little bit of a shame because I would love for it to be more affordable so that it’s accessible for the average person.

I do also think that considering this price, it does make it even more ridiculous that it doesn’t come with a controller and that it maybe also should have had more than just one game installed.

There is another Quarter Arcades Turtles cabinet based on the Turtles in Time arcade game, but I think both of these products would have been made more attractive if they had both games available on them and the difference was purely cosmetic.

Quarter Arcades Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cabinet - Gameplay

They could have even put more of the Turtles Games on there as a bonus; I mean we only just got the Cowabunga Collection on consoles which includes thirteen games in the series, so there’s plenty of games that could have been included here.

At the same time I do understand that the Quarter Arcades vision is clearly on authenticity and having a dedicated machine that just plays the one game it’s fully designed around is a part of that. But the idea of having a Turtles arcade machine that plays practically every retro TMNT game is also very appealing and would arguably be more worth the £250 asking price.

Final Thoughts

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Quarter Arcades machine gets 7/10. It’s an extremely high quality product and as a display item it’s absolutely perfect. It’s a stunning replica of the original cabinet and it’s easily one of the best looking devices in my entire collection.

Playing it in single player with the standard arcade controls or an external controller is also incredible and the game itself runs flawlessly.

However where things start to get a little bit clunky is when you introduce the multiplayer element of the game. It’s too crowded to play with such a small screen and the arcade controls, the external controller support is a good idea to get around this but it doesn’t come with any controllers and there’s no HDMI output to connect it to a bigger screen which results in one of the main draws of the game being removed.

The price tag is also very high, which is fine considering just how well built the cabinet is and the passion that clearly went into it’s creation, but it does mean that it’s only really a realistic purchase for hardcore fans or collectors, for anyone else it’s probably worth waiting to see if you can get it on sale, but you might be waiting a very long time.

But let me know what you think of this Quarter Arcades Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Cabinet! Are you interested in picking up one of these Quarter Arcades for yourself?

Which version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is your favourite? And what games do you think could benefit from the Quarter Arcades treatment?

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