Everyone loves a good ol’ hit of nostalgia, but that doesn’t mean we should go out and buy replica arcade cabinets from the ‘90s. Thankfully, Arcade1Up has designed a much more modern and compact solution: the Pac-Man Couchcade.
The console tries to recreate that old-school arcade experience with its wireless joystick controller but lets us play from the comfort of the couch. The Couchcade isn’t the first time that Arcade1Up tried to make old-school arcade games more portable. The company’s lineup includes miniaturized versions of arcade game cabinets called Countercades that have an eight-inch LCD screen.
The company also makes 3:4 scale versions of classic arcade cabinets that are truer to the tall, bulky design from the ‘90s. Arcade1Up even announced four new arcade machines at CES 2022, including a Pro Series version that makes those old-school arcade games look better with a 19-inch LCD screen.
10-in-1 experience — But for those of us who aren’t die-hard fans with lots of space, the Pac-Man Couchcade is a much better alternative. The console will include 10 games, including the eponymous Pac-Man and Pac-Mania. And if you get tired of all the waka waka, you can switch to Dig Dug, Dig Dug II, Galaxian, Galaga, Galaga 88, Mappy, New Rally-X or Rolling Thunder.
The Pac-Man Couchcade is set up by connecting the console portion to your TV via HDMI, while the wireless arcade controller can be used up to 30 feet away. Arcade1Up designed the bottom of the controller with a bean bag cushion, making it way more comfortable to rest on your lap for those long gaming sessions.
That’s a lot of quarters — Arcade1Up just released the Pac-Man Couchcade, which is going for a hefty $180. You do get 10 classic games with it, but it still seems way too expensive for something that you’ll probably get bored of in a few weeks. If you factored in all those quarters you would’ve theoretically been feeding a real arcade machine, though, it does kind of balance out.
Of course, if you’re willing to go through less-than-official channels, there are plenty of ways to emulate old-school arcade games, too. That way, you won’t feel so bad when you see this end up in the clearance bin at Walmart.