basics of arcade game collecting

Level Up Your Arcade Game Collection: Essential Parts and Components

Collecting Aracde Game Basics

We’ve come a long way since the beginning of arcade games in the early 70’s. Graphics and controls have improved leaps and bounds with some so complex they rival gaming consoles. Would you believe that despite all of that progress, at their core they are still very similar to those pioneering games of the 70’s and 80’s?

If you're new to arcade game collecting or you want to open your own local arcade for business, here are some of the basic components of arcade cabinets:


1. Power Supply

It’s true that Arcade games consume a lot of power, which makes a properly working power supply just that much more important. The power supply of an arcade game (normally found on the bottom of the game cabinet) can handle a few different capacities. The power supply of a game cabinet has several circuit boards, transformers, and capacitors that help regulate and stabilize the power supply for the game including surge protection.


2. Control Panel

The control panel is the primary interface for player input. You might be more familiar with terms like a joystick, buttons, trackballs, spinner controls, steering wheels, or pedals. These are all examples of control panels. The control panel assembly is attached to the back of the cabinet and is hidden from the player.


3. Monitor

An arcade cabinet's monitor displays the graphics and the visual elements of the game. Many arcade games tend to be equipped with one monitor for the player to see the game's graphics. Rarely you will find models that either have integrated monitors and control panels or multiple monitors.


4. Monitor Shield

Monitor shields are used to protect the monitor glass from becoming damaged. You can imagine the number of stresses a game could encounter in an arcade. Top-loading cabinets usually have a monitor shield and a bottom lid, whereas the front-loading cabinets usually have a monitor shield and a top lid.


5. Marquee

The marquee of an arcade game is the main housing of the game. The marquee not only protects the game's monitor but also lives up to its name. This is where the game’s name and art are displayed to lure gamers (and their quarters) to the cabinet. Some marquees are made of transparent plastic, allowing the graphics displayed on the monitor to show through.


6. Cabinet and Side Panels

The cabinet and side panels are the overall housing of an arcade machine. The cabinet can vary greatly from one game to another. Some cabinets are made from wood, particle board, and some from plywood. The side panels are basically the parts of the cabinet that are visible to the player. Side panels can be made from wood, particle board, plywood, or plastic.


7. Coin Mechanism

An arcade machine usually requires players to insert a coin to play the game. The coin mechanism of an arcade game has a bill validator that can accept both bills and coins. The mechanism may also have a coin hopper where players can put their coins after inserting them into the machine. Coin mechanisms are situated in front of the cabinet near the bottom.


8. Speakers

What would the arcade experience be without all the bleeps and bloops that ring out when you’re collecting gold coins, fighting an alien invasion, or in whatever world the game has transported you to? The speakers are placed at the back of the cabinet near the power supply. Speakers can be full-range speakers or subwoofers.



These are the main components of an arcade cabinet. If you're planning on opening an arcade or start collecting them, it's important to understand these parts of a game before you decide to purchase one.

Game Exchange is a full-line distributor of new and used coin-operated games and equipment. Whether you're looking for redemption games, pinball machines, arcade games for business or personal use, or game kits, Game Exchange has it all! We do large shipping and oversized shipping, as well as shipping for small parts, medium parts, large parts, and jumbo parts.


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