The 80’s and 90’s were the era’s that gaming evolved from niche entertainment aimed at children and young adults to becoming global phenomenon that eventually would lead into becoming a mainstream platform that has made it possible for today’s gamer’s to make a career in gaming be it as a streaming, journalism, QA testing, programing, and even content creations like I’m doing. The 80’s-90’s were a time from the evolution of gaming from quarter munchers to home experiences that rivaled and in many cases exceeded anything Hollywood could potentially produce; in that time frame we have a company called Capcom that is infamous for making classic after classic that created enumerable genres and also pioneered many others and became the standard barer that forced companies like Sega, Konami, Atlus, and more to step up to the plate and create new experiences often times founded in what Capcom had trail blazed. In 2019 we get to experience many of the titles that have gone on to define an era in gaming with the Capcom Home Arcade plug and play home console. Does it give us that arcade perfect experience, or does it fall to the wayside? Let’s find out.
Now I have to preface this review by letting you all know that I am a HUGE Capcom fan that not only loves the company but grew up with each and every one of these titles when they originally released in the arcades back in the day so color me old and nostalgic if you will.
The first thing I want to tackle is the games, below you will find a list of all the preinstalled games from the original Capcom CPS1 and CPS2 arcade cabinets:
Alien vs Predator
Street Fighter 2: Hyper Fighting
Mega Man The Power Battle
1944: The Loop Master
Capcom Sports Club
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo
Ghouls 'n' Ghosts
You get a nice variety of games from side scrolling beat em ups to fighting games to shoot em ups or SHMUPS to platformers to sports and finally to puzzle. There’s honestly something for everyone here with this awesome collection and most of all is the fact we get to games that have not been rereleased on a home compilation before in the critically acclaimed Alien Vs Predator and Progear.
The game selection interface to me is simple and clean with a very Capcom flavor added to it. I’ve seen many complain that its plain and or sluggish but in my opinion it’s perfectly serviceable. Maybe they want it to be like the SNES Classic or Sega Genesis Mini but this is a device that is comparable to the Neo Geo Arcade Stick Pro and in my opinion should only be compared to another device giving you a arcade experience not a home console experience.
You get arcade perfect emulation as if you were in the arcades form the 80’s and 90’s which includes any audio distortions or slowdown which might irk many people but for me its exactly how it was back in the day. The biggest selling point for me is the fact that what’s exclusive to this product is the fact that it does what no other retro machine does and that’s display at 1080P 60Hz at 60FPS, no other official Retro machine achieves this. Many of you may want to know what you can do as far as aspect ratios and filters are concerned and honestly you only can choose between “Original” (4:3), “Full” or “Wide”. You can also apply a variety of filters such as 'smooth' to these modes, You can also select languages and do button checks.
Next let’s tackle the build quality, feel, and aesthetics of the Capcom Home Arcade as it is honestly one of the best devices I have ever felt in my hand and has the perfect balance of weight to it. Now make no mistake about it, this thing is HUGE and if you are a tiny person then this may not feel ideal on you lap but if you have a table to set this on or a desk then you will be fine. The Capcom logo looks brilliant and is truly vibrant and the buttons fully blend in with the logo which for some could be a bit challenging to remember the button placements and layouts if you are new to using an arcade stick or didn’t play these games in the arcade but for me these feel absolutely perfect and at no point do I ever find myself trying to look down at my hand placement in order to know what I’m pressing but for me admittedly that’s muscle memory due to growing up in the arcade and regularly using fight sticks.
The top of the Capcom Home Arcade has a smooth plastic/ceramic like feel and finish to it that has a nice sheen gloss to it that like many fight sticks can be prone to micro scratches and smudges although you’d have to look hard to find scratches but finger print magnet this product be as with any fight stick. The sides of the Capcom Home Arcade are of a rubberized texture that is thick and durable enough to take a few dings and scuffs and feels smooth to the touch. On the bottom of the unit you have 4 rubber feet to make sure there is no slippage when placed on a desk or table although on your lap that may vary.
Out of the box you get both a 2.5m HDMI and Micro USB for video out and power of which you can easily use a battery back up to power this behemoth and there is also a USB EXT input of which I am not certain as to what it does as it could be for firmware updates or for connecting another capcom home arcade to it for 4-player action (or even USB pads to circumvent having to use the arcade sticks) or it may be used down the road by hackers who will inevitably hack this Linux based console; who knows? There is built in WiFi connectivity of which is easy to setup and once done you can connect to high score boards and check your firmware (mine’s shipped with Ver 1.3 with 1.4 soon to be released). Aside from your usual manuals and warranty information you also get a UK power adapter of which since I’m in Hawaii, there’s nothing I can do with said item. You also get some stickers for both sides of the unit for the “Coin” and “Start” buttons that hover above the 6 button Viewlix layout if you want to give a more authentic arcade feel to the unit.
The components used on this product for the stick and buttons on both Player One and Player Two’s side are both Sanwa which for the tech heads out there are effectively competition class Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT sticks with 8-way GT-Y directional gates and OBSF buttons for the best precision, response times and durability. These are high quality materials here and if you aren’t used to a Octagonal gate and have only used a Square gate restrictor then this may take a moment of adjusting especially if you’re going to play any of the 4 fighting games however I would argue that an Octagonal gate actually improves the experience.
So how easy is it to set up you may ask? Well it’s simple, plug it in, hit the power button, and play.
Now If you are playing this one player then you can rest this on your lap or on a desk or table for preferable comfort. Since I’m a big guy this sits comfortably on my lap in either the player one or player two position however given that this is for all intents and purposes a giant logo with arcade sticks built into it, it does leave some things to be desired such as a wrist rest which all arcade sticks or fight sticks traditionally have so if you happen to have fatigue set in just know to take a break here and there. As for playing competitively or cooperatively just know that it’s best to have this on a desk or table as unless you are dating/married to the other player are enjoy being uncomfortably close to another individual it will be hard to sit side by side and play this.
So what are the downsides of this device? Well aside from the fact that it’s not available in the US (my unit was provided by Koch Media) and the fact that for some people it may not have enough games with it’s 16 games and for many others the price could be off setting however in the defense of this product for its price you get 16 games with 2 never before released on a compilation and also if you were to compare this to something like Arcade 1UP then for the same ball park price you get 13 more games and it being able to connect to WiFi for firmware updates and potentially more games to be added as well as the portability of taking this to another room or venue. There is also worth mentioning the fact that when you exit a game there is a rebooting process that sends you through the start up screen showing Koch Media and Capcom’s logos which is a 5-10 sec start to finish endeavor but that’s not a biggie for me. Since none of those are in my book a downside this to me is a major win. Let’s be honest about this product for a minute, it’s not for everyone and it’s not trying to be. It’s a collectors and enthusiast item and something that can get the newer generation into games that may possibly be before their time in their perfect arcade forms. It’s ok for this to not be for you.
All in all, with a supremely well thought out and put together build, high end components, a strong lineup of games that pioneered generations, and online connectivity for future updates and support, I say the price is right for the Capcom Home Arcade and if you are a Capcom enthusiast like me or are someone who grew up in the golden age of arcades then YOU NEED THIS! Koch Media and Capcom knocked it out of the park with this one and I simply cannot put this device long enough as it keeps pulling me back in over and over and maybe that’s the nostalgia factor but whatever it may be its certainly working and gets the highest form of approval from me.