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Tiny Arcade gets bigger

Nathan Strum


As I've posted before...


Oh, right. No categories. Hang on, let me search my own blog for the links...


Okay, I'll start over.


As I've posted before here, and here and here and here, I've been (and I'm loathe to admit it) collecting video games. But not cartridges. Not prototypes, rarities, or anything like you'd typically expect on AtariAge.


Nope, these are arcade games! Tiny little ones. Only 3 1/2" (about 9 cm) tall. Made by Super Impuse, I'd already amassed eleven of them. Now they've added four more classics to their line up!


New to my mini-basement arcade are BurgerTime, Mappy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and that perennial favorite: Hello Kitty Pac-Man!




Uh... what?


I don't remember seeing that in the arcades. It doesn't show up in KLOV either.


Okay, so it's not an actual arcade game. It's a mash-up cash-in on two profitable properties. Basically, it's Pac-Man with new mazes that are Hello Kitty themed. And they're actually pretty good. This feels very much like it could've been an early 80's hack along the lines of Crazy Otto. I wonder if Bob has seen this yet? ;) 


I'd also hesitantly call Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles an "arcade classic". Although popular, it didn't come out until 1989, and arcades were all-but dead by then. At least to me they were. Arcades were mostly just button-mashers and beat-em-ups at that point. But I figured I'd get it to keep a complete set going.


But what is up with April's legs? It looks like she shrunk from the waist down. Weird.




Playability-wise, Mappy, BurgerTime and Hello Kitty Pac-Man are all really good. Surprisingly so, given how tiny the screens are. All of the gameplay elements (including all of the bonus items and bonus rounds in Mappy) are present. The controls are generally very good, with the exception of the bonus rounds in Mappy. For some reason, moving left/right responds very slowly, and you can't do the fast bounces off of the walls needed to break through some of the trampolines. The rest of the game plays very well though.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is another matter though. They're really pushing the limits of what these little systems-on-a-chip can do. The frame rate is pretty terrible when the enemies start piling on, and while all four buttons work, the form factor is really too small to make effective use of them. Also, strangely, the whole thing simply turns off when your game ends. It doesn't return to the attract screen. I don't know if this is a glitch, or intentional. It doesn't affect the game itself, and given that this is basically a keychain on steroids, it shouldn't be that much of a surprise. As I've mentioned before, these aren't supposed to be arcade-accurate re-creations. These are collectible novelties.


That said, they've added some features that I'm sure fans have been asking about. For one, they now save high scores. Previous ones had high score tables, but didn't actually save anything. Now they do, which is pretty cool!


Also, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Hello Kitty Pac-Man have on-screen volume controls at startup. This is most-welcomed, because the volume level in previous games has been really inconsistent (with Space Invaders being noticeably loud and shrill).




I'm especially happy with BurgerTime and Mappy, and the other two... well, every arcade had its fillers. ;) Most of the time it was some old  Starhawk machine, sitting in the corner. Unloved and sad.


Anyway, here they are, as arcade games were meant to be seen: in the dark!



Unfortunately, shooting a picture of all of them on my shelf is becoming problematic. For one thing, I'm running out of shelf!



So I thought I'd set them up as a little mini-arcade. I need to find better "carpet" though. These are just a couple of placemats. I also still want to 3D print a change machine. :D 




The other issue with trying to take pictures of these, is that if you're not actively playing them, they shut off. So I have to go through and start games on every one of them, and hope the games don't finish and shut off again before I can take the shot. Which doesn't always work...



Missed another one...



And again...



Although I suppose it adds to the authenticity by having at least one game not working. Maybe I should print up a little "Out of order" sign. :D 


Now, if you've looked at the Tiny Arcade website, you'll notice I don't have any of their tabletop/cocktail games in my arcade. Well, I did buy two of them (I don't have Pac-Man, because it was an exclusive at Cracker Barrel restaurants when it came out), and here they are. They look pretty nice, right?



Space Invaders is cool, because it uses the different Space Invaders Part II coloring:



So... why aren't they in my arcade? Well, because they got the proportions all wrong.


They're way too big compared to the upright cabinets.


Way, way too big:



Yep, they're huge! By themselves, they look cool, But they don't fit in with the cabinets at all.


They should be about this big:



But that's just Photoshoppery. So I won't be getting any more of the tabletop versions. Also, because of how the controls are oriented on the front of the cabinets, I find that they're effectively unplayable. But there was no way to know either problem until I had them here.


I will keep buying the cabinets though. There are so many other iconic games that would work for these: Bosconian, Scramble, Joust, Phoenix, Xevious, etc.


If this keeps up, I may actually have to get a basement!


Coming soon... some other videogame reviews. :ponder: 

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