Blast (From) the Past With the Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition

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If you’re of a certain age, a memorable chunk of your childhood was probably spent at the local arcade, feeding quarters into your favorite machines. For myself, games like Centipede, Asteroids and Missile Command sucked up a ton of my afterschool hours.

Home arcade game manufacturer Arcade1Up has been manufacturing retro arcade consoles since the company’s foundation in 2018. Their Atari Legacy Arcade Machine, which features 14 different games, was recently released in a new edition with a reproduction of the classic Centipede cabinet. Arcade1Up sent me the machine to put it through its paces.

The Centipede cabinet in its retail packaging, dogs for scale (and because they’re nosy). Image by Paul Benson.

Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition

If you’ve browsed around in your local Best Buy, you may have seen some of the Arcade1Up machines there. They come unassembled, and are approximately 3/4 the size of an original arcade cabinet. The machines include matching risers, which help raise the cabinet to a height that’s comfortable for teens and adults to play.

The Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition retails for $499.99 USD. It is available from Amazon and directly from the Arcade1Up website.

Assembling the Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition

The shipping weight of the machine is approximately 90lbs, so you’ll definitely need two people to move the box around. When you open the packaging, you’ll find some smaller boxes inside, as well as the sides and back of the cabinet.

Everything inside of the box. Image by Paul Benson.

There are a lot of screws, wooden dowels, and other hardware, but they’re all separated out into sealed, labeled bags. Thoughtfully, Arcade1Up also provides a few extras, just in case you manage to lose a screw or two. The one necessary item that Arcade1Up doesn’t include for assembly is a Phillips screwdriver, so be sure to have one on hand.

Assembling the cabinet is pretty straightforward, as holes are already pre-drilled into the wood. Do allow for at least an afternoon to put it all together though, as you will want to take your time and make sure you’re doing it right.

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I found that all the pieces fit together really well, which was a relief. The only minor issue that I encountered was when I was attaching the marquee lights and sound assembly to the side of the cabinet. The wooden peg holes on the marquee pieces are rather loose, and the pegs would not stay in when fitting them onto the cabinet. However, this was easily solved by squirting a little Elmer’s glue into the holes on the marquee piece and setting the pegs. After allowing about 10 minutes for the glue to dry, it was now a simple task to fit the marquee assembly into the cabinet.

The control deck. Image by Paul Benson.

The control deck, along with its clear acrylic protective overlay, rests on some supports that are attached to the inside of the cabinet. You then secure the deck onto the cabinet with 4 screws.

The last piece that you will assemble is the matching riser. This is also easy to assemble; you’ll just want to take the time to ensure you’re placing the wooden panels in their correct orientation.

The matching riser. Image by Paul Benson.

Finally, you’ll put the cabinet up on the riser, plug the machine in, and turn it on. Once you get past the Arcade1Up screen, you’ll be facing a prompt to connect to your local wireless network, so that you can automatically upload your high scores. While this isn’t mandatory, it’s definitely recommended…especially so you can skip that screen when you power on your machine. You can also bring up the wireless menu by hitting the “Live” button in the upper right corner of the control deck.

The finished cabinet, with the screen on the wireless setup. Image by Paul Benson.

Playing the Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition

As I mentioned previously, the Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition comes with 14 games. They are:

  • Centipede®
  • Millipede ®
  • Asteroids ®
  • Asteroids Deluxe
  • Major Havoc ®
  • Missile Command ®
  • Akka Arrh,
  • Crystal Castles ®
  • Tempest ®
  • Gravitar ®
  • Liberator
  • Space Duel (1 Player)
  • Super Breakout ®
  • Lunar Lander ®
The first page of the menu screen. Image by Paul Benson.

To select a game, you’ll scroll the pointer over the game you’re interested in playing, and then hit any button. To launch the game, you’ll press either the single-player or two-player buttons, and away you go.

Appropriately, playing some Centipede on the Centipede cabinet. Image by Paul Benson.

When you want to switch games, you hold down the single-player button for 5 seconds, and it will bring you back to the game select menu.

If you’re anything like me, you probably looked at that list and thought, “ooh, there’s a bunch of great games here!” You’ve got both Centipede and its sequel Millipede, Tempest, Missile Command, Asteroids (and Asteroids Deluxe), Super Breakout, and the ever-challenging Lunar Lander.

Spinning that knob to take out enemies in Tempest. Image by Paul Benson.

And then you looked again, and struggled to remember some of the other titles. I personally got Gravitar, an old vector graphics game, confused with the similarly-named Sinistar.

One of the titles, Akka Arrh, I didn’t recognize by title or gameplay. That’s because it turns out it’s from an unreleased 1982 prototype arcade game. I would argue that there’s a good reason it was unreleased, but it’s an interesting novelty to round out the selection of Atari games.

Here are some quick clips of gameplay from some of the games, so that you can get an idea of how the games sound and look:

 

Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition – Final Thoughts

My friend Ray, who’s the same age as me, was dying to try out the Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition. We had a great evening of loading up the different games and taking them each for a spin.

Despite the inclusion of a couple of more obscure titles in there, there’s a great selection of Atari games to play. Arcade1Up probably could have included just Centipede, Asteroids, Tempest and Missile Command, and it would have felt like a satisfying collection. And some of the more obscure games, like Major Havoc, actually ended up being surprise gems. Akka Arrh may grow on me, but I’m not holding my breath for that one. Still, including an unreleased prototype was a great idea for a Legacy machine.

The games all control well. Both the trackball and spinner are smooth, and it’s helpful that there are buttons on both sides of the deck. Not only will you need extra buttons for some of the games like Asteroids, but for other games, it allows you the choice of operating the trackball or spinner with either hand.

As there are multiple games included on the machine, the buttons aren’t labeled. Each game does show the control configuration, but you’ll have to remember it while you play.

It admittedly would be nice to have a slightly larger screen. At 17″, it can be a little difficult to see some of the finer detail on the vector graphics games, such as the enemy fire on Space Duel. But, a larger screen would lead to a full-sized arcade cabinet, and increased costs. Not to mention, it’s much easier to find room in your home for an arcade console the size of the Atari Legacy machine.

A smudge on the screen of my machine (yellow arrow drawn by me). Image by Paul Benson.

Speaking of screens, mine came with a small defect. It’s not a stuck pixel, but seems like there might be a bit of dirt or dust caught between the screen and its protective layer. I contacted Arcade1Up to see what the process would be with customer service in a case like this, and was assured that if one received a defective screen like I did, they would receive a replacement. A search in the r/Arcade1Up Reddit community revealed that in the rare case that this has happened with someone, the customer did indeed receive a replacement screen. So while it’s unlikely you will have this issue, it’s good to know that you’ll be taken care of if it does occur.

If you’re at all nostalgic for 80’s arcade games, the Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition will fill you with delight. I’ve been really enjoying my time playing all the different games, as so do my friends and family who have come over to check out the machine. There’s something very satisfying about playing arcade games on an arcade cabinet with arcade controls, rather than on an Xbox or Playstation with a game controller. Not to mention that it’s really cool having a playable reproduction of an arcade cabinet in your home.

Yes, you can even reserve games with your quarters, though you can’t put them in the coin slot. Image by Paul Benson.

As some of you know, I have reviewed a few of the reproduction arcade cabinets from New Wave Toys, which I also love. But while those are technically playable, they’re more intended as collectibles to display on your shelf due to their sixth-scale size. Even though the size of the cabinet and monitor on the Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition  aren’t the same as the original Centipede machine, you’re still playing with full-sized controls, standing at an arcade cabinet just like you did during all of those joyful afternoons in the arcades of our youths.

If you’re interested in the Atari Legacy Arcade Machine Centipede® Edition or any of their other arcade machines, head to the Arcade1Up website for more information.

Arcade1Up sent me a unit for evaluation but had no input into the review. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small commission on qualified purchases.

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