5 Must-Know Tips When Buying a Retro Arcade Machine

The year 2020 was a roller coaster ride for many of us. Unfortunately, with the sudden spread of a strange virus, the safety guidelines for staying at home, and the cancellation of all the events and everyday living, we were left with many questions. We feared it was the end, and we regret not doing what we’ve always wanted to do. 

If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that if we want something, then we should do it and have it now. So, since we’re at it, why not do something fun, start collecting things you love, travel back to the past when you were so fond of arcade games? But do arcade games still exist now? Yes, and you can even purchase some of them! 

Before you start feeling nostalgic and reminiscing about those fun memories, here are several tips you should know when buying an arcade machine:

1. Familiarise yourself with the arcade machines

The Internet has a lot of free information. If you are not familiar with coin-operated machines, be sure to search for the basic types that you might like. If you have a few ideas, you can also search for the images to be sure what you are buying. Some sellers of arcade games are not also knowledgeable about these, so educate yourself and know what you are buying. 

Another point that you should know is the game boards, as there are original and multi-game boards. While picking an original game board is more valuable, multi-game boards are nice to have if you are still yet to find out what you enjoy. Most importantly, know the actual value of what you are paying for.

2. Test the machines first

Sellers will always hard sell their products, but you should see it for yourself to validate their claims. Don’t be deceived by how new it looks on the outside, but check everything inside. For example, ask the seller to turn on the arcade machine and play it there. 

Listen to the machine and watch out for the grinding sound. If you hear it, it is most likely dirty and may cause problems in the future. Is the coin slot working? Then, use the joystick and all the buttons, and check if the monitor is still projecting images clearly or it seems too dark.

Once everything is tested, turn off the machine and reopen it to see how quickly the machine reboots. Lastly, try to shake the machine subtly to see if the machine has hidden problems!

3. Buy what you can afford

You might have found a machine that you’ve wanted to buy for a long time now, but if it is something you cannot afford, then don’t buy it—that simple. Arcade machines should be all about the fun. If you want a fully working machine, prepare money that can buy that. If your budget limits you, remember that there will always be another machine that you can afford and still enjoy your gaming time!

4. Opt for a Jamma setup

Jamma setup is the standard and universal setup for arcade machines in the late 80s. With this, you can use one game board for another game. This is convenient in switching from one game to another if ever one stops working. Just expect to add extra buttons for some games. 

5. Ready to get dirty and handy

Old arcade games were made decades ago. While some still work correctly, others need some minor repairs. Just in case the machine is a little old, be sure you know how to repair your machine. There are also tutorial videos available on YouTube that can help you perform the necessary fixes. 



We wish we can always be a child who has no responsibilities but has all the time for fun and games. And with all the time spent at home today, you can do just that! By purchasing classic arcade machines and keeping the tips we’ve shared in mind, you’ll be able to have the time of your life as you stay safe indoors! 

Bring back old-school games and make brand new memories with the ultimate retro gaming experience with Retro Arcades. We are a family-owned and operated business in north Queensland, supplying classic arcade machines that you can enjoy for hours. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!

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