Arcade1Up Ms. PAC-MAN review: The mancave centerpiece

We dive into some arcade classics through this machine from Arcade1Up.

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Nobody reading this needs me to tell them that Ms. PAC-MAN is an all-time great video game. It was one of the pioneers of this very medium. Younger readers may not realize this, but there was once a stretch in the 80s and 90s where one could barely walk down a commercial block without hitting a Ms. PAC-MAN arcade machine. In that spirit, I was excited to try out this arcade cabinet, provided by the folks at Arcade1Up. After taking turns with members of my family, I can say that this machine is a hit.

Some assembly required

When the Arcade1Up box first arrived, I couldn't help but be a little intimidated. It's a massive box, at a little more than 80 pounds. It's been said before in previous reviews, but if you're making this kind of investment, this is not an endeavor you should go into by yourself. You're going to need some help assembling this thing, as well as a lot of space to work with.

The positive, however, is that for an arcade cabinet that's nearly as big as the original, this thing is fairly simple to assemble. As long as you have a pair of screwdrivers at the ready, you should be more than good to go. The instructions are clear and illustrated with amateur builders in mind with the only real trouble being that one person needs to prop up certain boards, while a second person places all the screws and components. Don't worry if you drop a screw or a component, because there are plenty of extras handy.

The best part is, the monitor and the joystick basically slide right in. There's no complicated wiring at work here. It's an easy matter of plugging some cords together and making sure they come out of the correct side of the cabinet, in order to plug into the wall. Overall, the assembly process is more time-consuming than anything else, taking a little over an hour to put together.

Arcade flashback

Here's where I'd review the full package, but one thing to note about the Ms. PAC-MAN machine is that whatever version you get from different retailers may contain a different set of games. To clarify, depending on where you pick this arcade cabinet up, you could wind up with Galaxian, PAC-PAL, PAC-MANIA, Super PAC-MAN, Dig Dug, or whatever other seemingly random combination of titles. Wal-Mart, for instance, features Galaxian, while Sam's Club features PAC-PAL. My machine contained Ms. PAC-MAN, Dig Dug, Super PAC-MAN, and PAC-MANIA and all played like a dream.

The 17" LCD monitor brings these arcade titles to life and makes them look crystal clear. The joystick has a bit of a clicky-ness that takes a moment to get used to, but the input is responsive, there isn't any noticeable lag, and there's a firmness to the joystick that makes it feel like you won't break the thing within a few weeks.

Presentation-wise, it fits perfectly in a standard apartment or a garage/mancave. Taking it into my brother's mancave, I was concerned that there wouldn't be enough space to slot it in around the couches, the bar, the pool table, and the washer and dryer. Finding a place for it was not only easy, but once the cabinet is assembled, it's much easier to move around. Two people can lug it around easily, much easier than the cardboard box that it originally came in. Wherever it ends up, it'll bring personality to its space, thanks to the light-up marquee.

It should be easy enough to find an Arcade1Up Ms. PAC-MAN cabinet, as they've been out in the wild for a few years. However, those searching for something a little different (and a little extra) may want to be on the lookout for the Wi-Fi-enabled Class of '81 cabinet, which comes with 12 titles. That is expected to ship over the next few weeks.


This review is based on a cabinet provided by the company. Arcade1up Cabinets are available for purchase online and at retailers now at a starting price of $399.99.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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Pros
  • Great for classic arcade players
  • Easy to assemble
  • Light-up marquee brightens surroundings
  • Strong price point
Cons
  • Joystick takes some getting used to
  • Slightly heavy for one person
From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 17, 2021 1:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Arcade1Up Ms. PAC-MAN review: The mancave centerpiece

    • reply
      October 17, 2021 2:39 PM

      Would love this in my basement

    • reply
      October 17, 2021 2:52 PM

      did you build this pantsless?

    • reply
      October 18, 2021 11:52 AM

      I hope you play Super Pac-Man long enough to understand and enjoy it. It's my favorite Pac-Man game by a mile, despite it being the Super Mario 2 of the Pac-Man games. :)

      I have a Ms. Pac-man cabinet and am kind of bummed I can't get a conversion kit that isn't one of those terrible 60-in-1 boards to make it changeable between Ms. Pac and Super Pac.

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