Hi there! Ready to get a lot more out of your video game investment? Then start thinking about the latest trend: multiple arcade video games in one cabinet, generically known as a multicade.
That’s right. Now, you can have multiple classic games, not just one, in a video game cabinet.
Instead of just, say, Ms Pac-Man in a Ms Pac-Man gaming cabinet, now you can have Ms Pac-Man, plus Galaga, Frogger, Donkey Kong, and dozens more classics, all in one cabinet.
There are many possibilities for multiple games available on the market. Here is a brief description of some of the most common:
1. Multicade. The original Multicade system consists of a computer and game discs. However, the manufacturer is no longer in business. But, the system still exists and there may be a new company that has taken over the brand.
Name Multicade it is now commonly used to describe almost all multi-game setups.
2. Ultracade. Ultracade is another multi-game platform that features multiple classic arcade games emulated on PC hardware running a proprietary operating system and emulation code. The company is no longer in operation. And the name Ultracade sometimes it is also used generically.
3. Arcade Classics 60 in 1. This is a JAMMA printed circuit board (PCB) that offers 60 classic arcade video games.
4. Capcom 18 in 1. Are you a fan of head-to-head fights? Then take a look at Capcom Multicade.
5. PlayChoice 10. The Nintendo PlayChoice 10 system can be upgraded to play dozens of classic games.
6. NeoGeo. SNK’s Multi Video System (MVS) NeoGeo is a widely available cartridge-based multi-game system. They are celebrating their 20th anniversary.
7. JAMMA 1940-in-1 multi-game system from the game family. Yes, it’s true: 1,940 games and a lot of the best too. It is a monster.
8. MAME. The MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is a computer system with the ability to emulate virtually all arcade video games. This multi-camera setup is usually done only by very dedicated hobbyists.
9. Williams classics. Several of Williams’ classic games (Joust, Defender, Stargate) are available in a dedicated cabinet.
10. Ms. Pac-Man Galaga meeting. This is a great game dedicated with two great classics. The game’s PCB (Printed Circuit Board) can be installed in any cabinet, including an Ms Pac-Man cabinet or a Galaga.
11. Multiple JAMMA PCBs. Multiple JAMMA game PCBs can be installed in one cabinet and toggle between them.
12. Modified Ms Pac-Man. It is possible to modify a PCB Ms Pac-Man to also be able to play Pac-Man, and in the fast or slow version of both.
13. Galaga Ms Pac-Man Switcher. It is possible to add any of the game PCBs to the other game cabinet and be able to toggle between the two.
These are some of the most common solutions for multiplayer games, but there are many others.
An important distinction between cabinets:
There is an important distinction to understand about arcade game cabinets.
Classic games like Ms Pac-Man and Galaga are played using a vertically mounted monitor. While there are some classics like Joust, almost all modern fighting games like Street Fighter use a horizontally mounted monitor.
Most importantly, the game types are not immediately interchangeable between the cabinet types. It is possible, for example, to modify a horizontal cabinet to accept a vertically mounted monitor, but the reverse is generally not possible. This is because the cabinets for the two types of monitors are built differently. The horizontal cabinet will be a few inches wider than the vertical cabinet.
The point is, the style (horizontal or vertical) of a cabinet matters – some will work for a classic multi-camera upgrade and some won’t.
My Favorite Multigame Solution: The Classic 60-in-1 Multicada:
Today, the most nostalgic multicade experience is achieved with the JAMMA 60-in-1 PCB.
It is possible to take any vertical mount monitor cabinet (Ms Pac-Man, Galaga, etc.) and install the hardware that will allow the play of 60 great classic games in one cabinet (see exceptions listed below).
And since the game would be a standard JAMMA installation, the hardware is easily serviceable and will be around for a long time. Additionally, a JAMMA cabinet is versatile as it can accept many of the hundreds of other JAMMA game PCBs.
Here are the classic 60-in-1 arcade video games:
- Ms. Pac-Man
- Donkey kong
- Donkey Kong Junior
- Donkey Kong 3
- Dig dug
- Mr do
- Space invaders
- Galaga 3
- Tank battalion
- Millipede **
- Burger time
- JR Pacman
- 1942 ***
- Centipede **
- Phoenix ***
- Time pilot
- Super Cobra ***
- Space panic ***
- Super Breakout **
- New Rally X
- Arkanoid **
- Juno first
- Xevious ***
- Castle of Mr. Do
- Moon crest
- Pinball action
- Scramble ***
- Super pac-man
- Pump Jack
- Shao-Lin Trail ***
- King and balloon
- 1943 ****
- Van-Van Car
- Pac-Man Plus
- Dig Dug 2
- Gun Smoke *** 3 buttons
- The end
- 1943 Kai ****
- Congo Bongo
- Cat jump
- Ms. Pac-Man (quick mode)
- Pac-Man (quick mode)
- Galaga (rapid fire mode)
- Jr. Pac-Man (quick mode)
- Pac-Man Plus (quick mode)
** Indicates a game that requires a trackball to play (# 17, 23, 29 and 31). The installation, or not, of a trackball would be determined by the size and configuration of the control panel.
Therefore, the 4 games that require a trackball may not be feasible for some types of cabinets with smaller control panels.
However, all 4 games can still be played with the joystick. Although the game is not the same as with a trackball, many people learned to play Centipede, for example, with a joystick.
If the control panel allows it, a trackball can be installed.
*** Indicates a game that requires 2 (or more) buttons to play, for example, a fire button and a jump button. Most classic games, however, only require 1 button, like a Galaga with just one fire button.
Therefore, the approximate 8 sets that require the installation of additional buttons (7 require 2 buttons and 1 requires 3 buttons) will also be determined by the size of the control panel.
When the size of the control panel allows (and generally does), the installation of up to 2 buttons (fire and jump) is usually standard.
**** Indicates a game (there are 2) that requires 2 sets of player controls to allow simultaneous play by two players. Usually there is no room on the control panel of a classic game to comfortably play with two sets of controls (2 joysticks with two buttons each).
One set of controls is usually standard, as most classics are played with two players taking turns. If two sets of controls were desired and possible, they could be added. But, that would probably exclude the addition of a trackball.
Any of the 60 games can be turned off individually, so that they do not appear on the screen in menu selection. Which means, for example, it could feature just the three games with controller action from left to right: Galaga, Galaxian, and Space Invaders.
Use the information in this article to help evaluate the different styles of multi-cameras available. Multicades may seem complicated, but it is worth any extra effort. Simply because they are inexpensive to own, save space, and offer a wide variety of arcade video games.