I'm guessing most of you who have read my blogs think I only like console and handheld games. Not so. I've visited numerous Arcades since the late '80s/early '90s, including Arcades in Theaters, Bowling Alleys, Airports, and Ferries, playing most of the better Arcade games like Pac-Man, Street Fighter II (don't remember which one), Ninja Turtles, Marvel Vs. Capcom 2, Cruis'n USA, San Francisco Rush, Mario Kart Arcade GP 1 and 2, Luigi's Mansion, and Super Monkey Ball, as well as Pinball games like Super Mario Bros., Time Warp, Jurassic Park, and Star Trek.
I've known about Arcade1Up since 2018 or so. Besides the Internet, I've also seen these machines at Walmart, Costco, and several other stores. I purchased a Super Pac-Man Arcade1Up machine. This machine has seven games: Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Pac-Mania, Pac-Land, Galaga, Galaxian, and Dig Dug. I thought I'd talk about this machine, and share some stories about where I found out about the more obscure games.
Super Pac-Man Arcade1Up Machine
Artwork and Controls
Most of the art on the machine is from the original Arcade release of Super Pac-Man from 1982. The bottom front of the machine has the logos of all of the included games. The marquee lights-up. There's a joystick (obviously), buttons for Pac-Mania, Pac-Land, Galaga, Galaxian, and Dig Dug, and buttons for playing alone or with two players. Like the original release of Super Pac-Man, the boarder around the screen has instructions (even still saying to insert a coin) and game tips.
Menu and Settings
Turn on the machine, and a video showing the Arcade1Up logo plays. This is followed by the game selection screen. Every game has adjustable settings, including lives and difficulty. I can remember some people complaining about the Pixel Smoothing that these machines include. There's an option to turn it off if you want the games to look more like they did when they were originally released in the '80s.
We all know about this game. I don't have much to say about it. It appears to be basically the same here as in Pac-Man Museum +, with the title screen being updated to say BNEI (Bandai Namco Entertainment, Inc.) instead of "Namco" (or Bally Midway).
The featured game on this machine, and a lesser-known game than the original Pac-Man. I found out about Super Pac-Man on a website called "The Pac-Page" (https://web.archive.org/web/20031204233134/http://www.classicgaming.com/pac-man/) in the early 2000s. Though it was released on some consoles in the '80s and later for the PS1 in Namco Museum Vol. 2, it wasn't released on nearly as many systems as Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, or Pac-Mania. In the last decade or so, Super Pac-Man has been re-released more often and became more accessible, appearing as part of several Arcade 1Up machines, the Arcade Archives series, and Pac-Man Museum +.
In this game, the goal is mainly to collect food instead of dots (though the Power Pellets are still in the game). Several keys appear in the mazes, which unlock rooms containing food and power pellets. Dots that transform Pac-Man into Super Pac-Man are one of this games' added features. While super, Pac-Man can pass through ghosts without being harmed and break through doors.
After two or three mazes, a bonus round appears. These are like the regular mazes/rounds, except there's a time limit and there are no ghosts. Also, Pac-Man is already Super Pac-Man at the beginning. The more food you eat, the more points you get when the timer runs out. Collect all of the food, and you get even more points. The game also has some intermissions, like most other Pac-Man games from this era.
I rented the NES version of Pac-Mania in 1994 or so (still have the card from the store where I rented the game), and bought it years later. The first time I played the Arcade version of Pac-Mania was, technically, Pac-Man World 2 on GameCube (which I believe is a port of the PS1 version from Namco Museum Vol. 5 on PS1). I've also played it on various Namco Museum compilations, Pac-Man Collection for Game Boy Advance, and Pac-Man Museum + on Switch.
This is another well-known Pac-Man game, and plays basically the same as the original except for the isometric view and the Pac-Man's added ability to jump. It's also one of my favorites.
The version of Pac-Mania included on this Arcade1Up machine is the American release of the Arcade version, which has some differences compared to the Japanese release. For one thing, Jungly Steps is not selectable on the level select screen. If you choose to start on Pac-Man's Park or Sand Box Land, the game gives you a "Courage" bonus/extra points (which I remember from the NES version). The Japanese release has a few extra mazes that are basically repeats with the only difference being the addition of another ghost, which were removed in the American release. Another difference is that the American release adds a high score screen.
I recorded playthroughs of the NES and Arcade version of Pac-Mania years ago. The latter was played in Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, and has over 200,000 views.
Another lesser-known Pac-Man game, though it was released on more systems than Super Pac-Man. It predates Super Mario Bros. as the first side-scrolling adventure game.
Like Super Pac-Man, I found out about Pac-Land on a website called "The Pac-Page." I was kind of surprised that the only Nintendo version of the game was the Famicom version, which I later bought. The Arcade version of the game wouldn't appear on a Nintendo system until 2022, when it was released as part of the Arcade Archives series and Pac-Man Museum +. Pac-Land, like Super Pac-Man, has also been included on various Arcade1Up machines.
Pac-Land is unique in that it has some unusual controls. It is the only game included on this machine that doesn't use the joystick. The two buttons on the left move Pac-Man left or right, while one of the buttons on the right (the red "A" button) makes him jump.
At the end of a level/round, you come to a screen with a Church and a sign that says "BREAK TIME." If you jump. you can get different amounts of extra points depending on how close you are to landing on the ground without touching it when the music stops. The maximum amount of extra points you can get here is 7650.
At the end of every third round, Pac-Man enters "Fairy Land." Here, he's given some special shoes that allow him to jump in mid-air.
Pac-Man Museum + (Switch)
Super Pac-Man Arcade1Up Machine
Oh and like the Arcade Archives release and Pac-Man Museum +, Ms. Pac-Man was changed to "Pac-Mom."
The version of the game included in the Arcade1Up machine appears to be the American release of the Arcade version, which was slightly different than the Japanese release. The American release was based on the '80s Pac-Man cartoon, so Pac-Man looks a little different in the two releases. Pac-Man's nose in the Japanese release is bigger. The crosses on the Churches (shown in the "BREAK TIME" screens) were removed in the American release. The American release also added Pac-Man's two pets, shown when he returns home at the end of every fourth round. The version in Pac-Man Museum + appears to be the Japanese release, as Pac-Man's nose is bigger.
Pac-Man Museum + (Switch)
Super Pac-Man Arcade1Up Machine
There's also an emulation issue in certain levels. The water appears blue and black, instead of just blue. This is not present in Pac-Man Museum +.
Another well-known game, and the sequel to Galaxian. Galaga is the same here as it always was in Arcades, except for the title screen being updated slightly to say "BNEI" (Bandai Namco Entertainment, Inc.). In a sense, this Arcade1UP machine is like an Arcade version of Namco Museum. Like Pac-Man and Dig Dug, Galaga has been re-released so many times and there are so many versions of it. The NES version has appeared on bootleg NES multicarts, and the Arcade version has appeared on Namco Museum compilations, various Namco and Pac-Man Arcade machines, and the Ms. Pac-Man Plug and Play.
Galaga's predecessor, and Namco's (or Bandai Namco's) answer to Space Invaders. It too is well-known and has been re-released on numerous consoles, handhelds, and other Arcade machines. It's the same here as it's always been, complete with adjustable settings. Not much to say about it. Even if you haven't played it or don't remember it, you've probably seen Galaxians in other Namco games. They've appeared as items in several Pac-Man games, for example.
I've played so many versions of Dig Dug. There's the Famicom version, Namco Museum compilations, NES multicarts, Dig Dug Arrangement, etc. I've even played a hacked version that has Hello Kitty on a 64 in 1 Famicom multicart that @fcgamer gave me. Because the Arcade version has a vertical screen, some versions have smaller screens or scroll vertically. The version included in this machine, of course, is the Arcade version and retains the original aspect ratio.
I don't have much to say about Dig Dug either. It's still just as fun now as it was in the past.
For a little while there, Arcades seemed to be a thing of the past in the U.S. and Canada. Yet, they could still be found in Theaters, in Bowling Alley's, on Ferries, and some new Arcades have opened. And then Arcade1Up appeared, releasing numerous smaller Arcade machines and countertops, stools with Arcade art, accessories (like risers), and apparel. Then we get to the collector's, of which many are into Arcade games. Seems to me that Arcade gaming is still alive and well.
Many '80s, '90s, and early 2000s Arcade games have been re-released on various compilations. This is good, because they're more accessible and people who play them on the Switch have the option to play them on the go. Some compilations, like Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, even have the option to play the Arcade Ninja Turtles games (as well as some of the console games) online. However, when it comes to Arcade games, nothing beats the authenticity of an Arcade machine, be it the original machines or these newer Arcade1Up machines. If you like Arcade games but don't have any Arcade machines, I highly recommend getting an Arcade 1Up machine (or multiple). Or, get one of the original machines if you're able to.
Edited by MegaMan52
Fixed typos and added pictures