If you’re a fan of classic arcade games, then the name Nolan Bushnell will likely be familiar. He founded a little company you may have heard of called Atari, Inc. back in 1972, as well as the Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre chain in 1977.
You may not be quite as familiar with another of Nolan’s endeavors: Sente Technologies, founded in 1983. He created the Sente Arcade Computer system, an arcade machine that not only had interchangeable cartridges, but quick-swap control panels so that you could convert the machine from one game to another quickly using the same cabinet. It was essentially the first modular arcade machine.
Fast forward to today: Tyler Bushnell, Nolan’s son, has brought the concept of the Sente Arcade Computer system into the 21st Century with the Polycade Sente.
What Is the Polycade Sente?
The Polycade Sente is a modular home arcade machine that allows you to download and install games from multiple sources. You can choose from a pre-configured Mini PC, a Sente without a PC so you can install your own, or you can even install a gaming console inside the Sente. Pledges start at $1,475 for a Sente without a PC, or $1,675 for a Sente with a Windows 11 Mini PC included. The campaign is currently live on Kickstarter, and as of this writing has funded over $1.275 million. The Kickstarter runs from now until Wednesday, December 6th.
Whether you get a Sente with a Mini PC or without, it includes the following features:
– Choose White or Black: Powder coated steel cabinet
– Modular, swappable button panel
– Compatible with all Polycade Sente add-ons
– 100W sound system
– 1080p, 60mhz, 2ms response time monitor
– Mounting bracket included
– Polycade Arcade Gaming Software (AGS) pre-installed
– 15+ retro & modern games preloaded!
– Keyboard drawer
With the Sente, you will be able to download and play games from multiple sources. There is the Polycade Game Store, which can be accessed directly from the Sente. Polycade also supports games from Steam, GOG, Itch.io, as well as ROM files. A list of games can be found here.
There will be multiple ways to customize your Polycade Sente. In addition to choosing between a white or a black cabinet, you will be able to add decal wraps, a marquee, and multiple different easily-swappable controls to customize the machine for your style and your play. If you don’t want to mount the Sente on your wall, you can add a floor stand.
Why You Should Back the Polycade Sente
With the Polycade Sente, you’re getting an attractive, well-built arcade machine. The cabinet is constructed from steel, and the controls and buttons are from Sanwa. You’re also getting an extremely versatile machine, with its modular control scheme and multiple ways to download and play games. You’ll be able to play most anything from classic arcade games, up through the most current games that you’ll find on Steam and consoles.
You’re also getting an arcade machine with a pedigree. Not only does the Polycade Sente take its inspiration from founder Tyler Bushnell’s father Nolan, but this isn’t the first arcade machine Polycade has produced, either. Starting in 2015, Polycade produced the much more expensive, yet still popular, Polycade Lux machine, which the Sente replaces. With the benefit of their experience with the Lux, Polycade has not only significantly reduced the price for the Sente, but also added in the modular controls.
Speaking of price, Polycade has said that the Sente won’t be available again for as low of a price as they are featuring during the Kickstarter campaign. And if you’ve ever looked at pricing for other quality “all-in-one” home arcade machines, you’ll see that the Polycade Sente is priced very well for the market.
I’ll be reviewing the Polycade Sente once the Kickstarter campaign delivers in March of next year. But if you want to take advantage of Kickstarter pricing, I’m confident you’ll get a stylish, quality arcade machine that you’ll be happy to display and play on any wall of your home.
For more information or to make a pledge, head over to the Polycade Sente Kickstarter campaign page.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.