Capcom Home Arcade - Hands-on Preview
Remember the old days? Those were the days. Everything was bigger back then.The chocolate bars. The opportunities. The pre-Brexit UK economy. Even the mobile phones. Those things were so big that if you ran out of battery, you could wrap a note around your phone and throw it through your mate’s window.
Continuing the trend of taking ‘ye olde things’™ and making them smaller, enter Capcom Home Arcade: a miniaturised gaming cabinet for those who lack both floor space and back strength. If you do have both, check out our hands-on with the Arcade1Up cabinet. I got my mitts on Capcom’s newest offering at a pre-launch event in London because I was the closest person living nearby who was free. I’m joking of course, video game journalism is a non-stop blur of exclusive parties and salmon canapés.
I mean, sure, they wouldn’t let me in at first because they thought I was a member of the filthy unwashed public, but eventually they did let me through. If anyone from the team is reading, your front of house staff were genuinely the loveliest people – even after a full day of looking after schmucks like me.
I got to try out the sixteen games included with the unit at launch over about an hour. The first thing to hit you immediately is the design of the unit. It’s certainly quite… bold. It’s a bit like a racing car bed: sort of cool, but also deeply uncool. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the shape, but it’s definitely a statement piece. The hardware itself is very slick. Lots of people have said lots of words about the competition class Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT 8-way GT-Y directional sticks and OBSF buttons. If, like me, you have no idea what any of that actually means then let’s just say: the knob sticks feel good. Everything's tight and responsive, and the hardware feels like it will resist hours of frantic bashing. The emulation is spot on too, with games playing smoothly and great audio capturing all the glorious retro beeps and boops.
The unit doesn’t have a huge amount of titles pre-loaded but what’s there is fun. I gave most of the games a quick whirl and, without having too much experience of Capcom's back catalogue, I found them all a bit samey. With a few exceptions, your choice is a pretty binary one between bullet-hell or fighting game. However, the unit does come WiFi enabled so I’m certain Capcom will continue to expand the catalogue of games in time.
My biggest sticking point is the price. At £198.81 on the launch page, it seems like a pretty hefty investment given the games available. I’d guess that the majority of that cost comes from the hardware itself, and it definitely feels like a premium unit. However, when you consider the competition – for example Sony’s PSClassic at just £49.99 – this feels like a very niche product for a very niche audience.
Not one for me, sadly. But if you have a Capcom-shaped nostalgia hole then this unit will certainly deliver the goods. The fancy knob bits are both fancy and widdly, and the buttons both pushy and bashy. Make of that what you will.
Capcom Home Arcade will be released on November 8th, 2019.
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