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Arcade1Up Star Wars Arcade Cabinet Review & Rating

The Arcade1Up Star Wars Arcade Cabinet lets you have three classic Star Wars games in your home in one standalone arcade cabinet. It’s a $499.99 kit that includes all three games, with the same kind of flight yoke the original cabinets used and a riser to lift the cabinet to a comfortable height for standing while playing. It’s more expensive than most of Arcade1Up’s other cabinets, like the Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter models, but improvements like a lighted marquee and better speakers, along with the pure nostalgic appeal of the games themselves, make it a must-have for any fans of the force with room in their home. That’s enough to earn our Editors’ Choice.

Building the Cabinet

Putting an Arcade1Up cabinet together is a lot like putting together a piece of Ikea furniture, down to the text-free instructions and the use of wooden dowels to stabilize panels. Building the Star Wars cabinet and riser is a similar process to building the Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II cabinets, with two small extra steps. The new cabinet features a lighted marquee and speakers mounted on the top panel instead of built into the controls, so two additional wires need to be plugged into the box behind the screen. That’s the only difference, and it doesn’t add any time to the process. The whole process took me less than two hours.

Arcade1Up Star Wars Arcade Cabinet-9

Arcade1Up really outdid itself with the Star Wars cabinet. The marquee above the screen now lights up, with a full-color logo for the game. The speakers have been moved to the top panel, which produces much better sound that can get quite loud. And the chunky flight yoke of the original Star Wars arcade game has been reproduced fairly faithfully, albeit slightly smaller and almost fully plastic.

A riser is included with the cabinet as well, fixing our complaints about the the company’s other cabinets being too short to play comfortably while standing. You can use just the 47-inch-tall cabinet with a stool, or bring it up to 60 inches with the riser. The riser is covered in Star Wars arcade art that matches the cabinet.

The flight yoke is the real centerpiece here. It’s a large plastic box with a metal pipe extending from the left and right. That pipe holds two hand grips, each with a trigger and a thumb button. You can twist the entire yoke clockwise or counterclockwise for horizontal movement of the onscreen cursor, or pull the grips up and down for vertical movement of the cursor. It feels more like a tilting steering wheel than a joystick, but it reproduces the movement of the original arcade controls. Because the horizontal and vertical controls are on completely separate pivots, be prepared for some inconsistency in control tension; in our cabinet the up-down tilt of the grips felt notably tighter than the left-right rotation of the yoke. It wasn’t too tight to play, but it took some adjusting to.

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Because there is only one flight yoke, and the three games included are single-player-only, only one person can play on the cabinet at a time, unlike most of Arcade1Up’s other cabinets.

The Screen

The cabinet houses a 17-inch LCD. LCDs are crisp, colorful, and consume much less power than the tube screens used in older arcade games, which is why virtually every display device you can buy today is some form of flat panel, and the cathode ray tube is an antique.

Unfortunately, for games with vector graphics (lines drawing a picture against a completely dark background), LCDs show their weakness against classic tube screens. The lines in Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back can only get so bright on an LCD, and the backgrounds can’t stay perfectly black. This means the overall contrast of the games is much lower than you get on the original cabinets. The bright green lines of TIE Fighters and the flashing whites and reds of fireballs don’t pop out as much as they do on tube screens.

To help offset the weakness of LCDs with these types of games, the cabinet features some optional settings for graphics. A Vector Glow option enables different types of glow around each line, of varying brightness and intensity. It makes the game a bit less sharp, but really helps the graphics pop out and make up for the lower contrast. It isn’t a perfect fix, but it’s a welcome one.

Arcade1Up Star Wars Arcade Cabinet-4

The Games

The cabinet comes with three Atari games: Star Wars (the 1983 arcade game), Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (the 1985 arcade game), and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (the 1984 arcade game). Those aren’t typos; the Jedi arcade game came out a year before Empire, and the reason Atari went back to Empire will become clear as soon as you play Jedi.

Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back are both vector graphics games that put you in the first-person cockpit of an X-Wing, a snowspeeder, and the Millennium Falcon. You aim an on-screen cursor at enemy vehicles, shooting them down or (in the case of AT-AT walkers) launching tow cables to trip them up. They’re simple and repetitive, but exciting to play, with a small variety of scenarios and steadily escalating difficulty.

Arcade1Up Star Wars Arcade Cabinet

Return of the Jedi, meanwhile, is an isometric third-person game with sprite-based graphics. Using the same flight yoke controller, you have to pilot your speeder bike left and right (diagonally upper left and lower right on the screen) while avoiding scout troopers on their own bikes. It’s more awkward to control, more difficult, and much less fun. It’s easy to see why Atari returned to a more original Star Wars arcade experience with Empire after Jedi. Ironically, while it’s the worst-playing of the three games, Jedi’s sprite-based graphics mean it’s the best-looking of the three games on the LCD, since LCDs handle full-color screens full of pixels much better than they handle vector graphics.

Star Wars and Empire are still a blast to play, though. They’re simple, repetitive, Atari arcade fun filled with Star Wars vehicles and voice clips. Flying down the Death Star trench and taking down AT-ATs remains challenging, and the ability to start off at much harder waves for huge bonus points keeps the gameplay engaging without forcing you to play through the easy, low-pressure versions of the different waves first.

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Double-Barrelled Nostalgia

The Arcade1Up Star Wars cabinet shows how the company is moving forward with improvements and variety in design, and earns our Editors’ Choice. The flight yoke is an excellent nod to the original Star Wars arcade games, and the lighted marquee and upward-facing speakers give the cabinet a much more premium look and sound. These points, along with the included riser, help justify the cabinet’s heftier price over the other versions we’ve reviewed. More importantly, they’re faithful recreations of two excellent Star Wars arcade games (and one middling novelty), and if you ever grew up wishing you could have one of those games in your home, this is a much more economical and readily available way to do it than finding the original and having it shipped via freight to your house.

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How to Get Started Playing Games With Apple Arcade

Gaming on the App Store is often disappointing. While there are some hidden gems, they’re hard to find among the overgrowth of games that are free to download but full of in-app purchases, banner ads, harsh wait times, and other nonsense.

If you’ve played any of those, you know that the large majority have lost something every game should be—fun.

But Apple Arcade wants to change that. The gaming subscription service allows you to access a growing roster games on your iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac for one monthly charge.

Let’s take a closer look at Apple Arcade and everything you need to get started.

Subscribing to Apple Arcade

The most important step before you install Apple Arcade is making sure you have the latest software installed on all your devices. That means at least iOS 13 for iPhone, iPadOS 13 for iPad, tvOS 13 on Apple TV, and macOS Catalina on a Mac.

On any of those four devices, head to the App Store app and select the Arcade tab.

Apple Arcade Subscribe

You’ll then see a free 30-day trial offer. Sign in with your Apple ID and password to accept. After the trial period, the arcade subscription will automatically renew for $4.99 per month.

If you’re using the Family Sharing option, up to six family members can also access Apple Arcade without needing to purchase their own subscription.

To cancel the Apple Arcade subscription at any time, go to Settings > [Your Name] > Subscriptions on your iPhone or iPad. Select Apple Arcade, then scroll down to the bottom and choose Cancel Subscription.

Downloading Games on Apple Arcade

Once you’re ready to start playing, just head back to the Arcade tab on the App Store.

The design should look familiar to anyone who has browsed the App Store before. Apple features many games in different categories—like Action, Adventure, and Family—to make it easier to find something you’ll want to play.

To see everything that’s available on Apple Arcade, scroll down to the bottom of the section and select See All Games.

On each individual game page, you can read more about the title, see a promo video, check the age rating, and confirm whether you can use a controller. To download a game, select Get.

The game will appear on your device just like any other app and is ready to play. Apple includes all updates to the games as long as you have a subscription. Plus, all Apple Arcade games have no in-app purchases or ads.

Start Apple Arcade With These Three Games

When diving into Apple Arcade, you’ll probably ask the same question as with any new subscription service: “where do I start?”

Here are three high-quality titles, available on each device, that show showcase some of the best that Apple Arcade offers.

1. Oceanhorn 2: Knight of the Lost Realm

You can’t go wrong starting Apple Arcade with Oceanhorn 2: Knight of the Lost Realm. The original RPG, which arrived in 2013, was an instant classic thanks to beautiful graphics, an enchanting soundtrack, and its Legend of Zelda-like gameplay. And the long-awaited sequel delivers all that and more.

Set 1,000 years before the original, the game focuses on a young knight who must help save the world of Gaia. The family-friendly game looks beautiful on any Apple device, and is best played with a controller. It’s truly a high-quality title you’d expect to find on a gaming console.

Download: Oceanhorn 2: Knights of the Lost Realm on Apple Arcade

2. Assemble With Care

Even the most casual gamer knows of the Monument Valley series. And the developer of those two great games, ustwo, is also behind Apple Arcade’s Assemble With Care.

Think of the game as a puzzler with a big focus on a narrative story. You play as Maria, an antique restorer who arrives in the unique town of Bellariva. While helping to put together prized possessions, you’ll also need to help restore relationships that are broken. Even though the game is short, it will stick with you long after fixing the 12 different objects.

Download: Assemble With Care on Apple Arcade

3. Speed Demons

There’s no need to worry; fans of fast-paced gaming action will definitely be at home on Apple Arcade. Speed Demons in more than just your usual trip down the highway. The top-down racing game features more than 25 different cars to drive and eight distinct game modes.

You accelerate automatically, so it’s your job is to avoid all the traffic, which can be up to 100 vehicles on screen at a time. The controller-compatible game will always keep you on your toes as the highways in 19 different environments automatically generate to provide a different experience each time.

Download: Speed Demons on Apple Arcade

Playing Apple Arcade With a Controller

With the wide variety of different games available to play on Apple Arcade, devoted games should definitely consider purchasing a physical controller.

The big advantage is that your controller will work across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Mac, allowing for a more unified gaming experience no matter where you’re playing. In many instances, using a controller gives you better split-second control for fast-paced titles.

A majority of Apple Arcade games support a controller. To confirm this, just look for the Controller Supported tag on the game’s page before downloading.

Starting all OS versions mentioned above, Apple has added support for two popular Bluetooth game controllers:

Xbox One Wireless Controller

The Xbox One Wireless Controller offers a textured grip that makes it easy to hold while gaming. You can also use a compatible headset with the 3.5mm stereo jack.

You’ll need to provide a set of AA batteries to use in the controller. For colors, Microsoft offers everything from the usual black to more unique colors and configurations that celebrate Fortnite, Gears of War 5, and more.

DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4

Compared to the Xbox controller, the biggest plus of the DualShock 4 wireless controller is the built-in battery that you can recharge with a micro-USB cable. That will definitely save you some money on batteries in the long run.

The controller also features a built-in speaker and a stereo headset jack. Just like the Xbox controller, there are a number of different colors and designs to select from.

Apple Arcade titles also support any MFi controller. To find out more, take to a look at how to connect a game controller to your iPad or iPhone

How to Connect a Game Controller to Your iPad or iPhone

How to Connect a Game Controller to Your iPad or iPhone

Here’s how to connect a PS4 or Xbox One controller to iPhone, plus the best alternative game controllers for iOS.
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Game on With Apple Arcade

Whether you’re a pro or new to gaming on an Apple device, Apple Arcade features something for everyone. And no matter what game you choose to play, you’ll have definitely have fun.

If you’re looking for even more gaming action, make sure to take a look at some of the other great games on Apple Arcade

The 5 Best Games to Play on Apple Arcade

The 5 Best Games to Play on Apple Arcade

Here are the best games on Apple Arcade that make the gaming subscription service worth its price tag.
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Giphy Arcade Lets You Create and Play Mini Games

Giphy has launched Giphy Arcade, which lets you create, play, and share your own mini-games. Giphy is best known as a search engine for GIFs, and Giphy Arcade is an attempt to bring the thinking behind GIFs to gaming. And it kinda works.

How to Create and Play Giphy Arcade Games

Giphy Arcade is essentially a database of mini-games you can play online. There are a limited number of styles of game available, but beyond that every element is customizable. So while the gameplay will feel familiar, the art style and music may not.

Giphy Arcade has three different components. At its core, it lets you play mini-games quickly and easily on the web regardless of the device you’re using. However, you can also remix the games to your own liking, and share them online with a single link.

To create a game from scratch you first choose a game template. Game styles include Floppy Bard, Runner, Blast ‘Em Up, and Brick Buster. Then, you choose your hero and other graphical components, plus your soundtrack. Finally, give it a title, and it’s ready.

You can also remix any game you play on Giphy Arcade, customizing it with your own characters and components. Either way, your game will be given a simple URL which you can share with family, friends, and/or everyone online as easily as you would share a GIF.

Giphy Arcade Could Turn Everyone Into Gamers

The games on Giphy Arcade aren’t going to win any awards. They’re simple twists on old-skool genres we’ve all seen before. However, they’re fun to play, and the ability to create your own web-based mini-game is rather compelling. See my effort, Chuck Norris Rulez.

Giphy Arcade could help turn more people into gamers too. Because even your gran could get the hang of these simple efforts. And once your gran has become a gamer, she should check out our list of addictive mobile games you can play for five minutes at a time

10 Addictive Mobile Games You Can Play, 5 Minutes at a Time

10 Addictive Mobile Games You Can Play, 5 Minutes at a Time

Here are our recommendations for the most addictive mobile games to play when you have five minutes to spare.
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The 5 Best Games to Play on Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade is a new video subscription service from Apple that costs a modest $4.99/mo (with a 1-month free trial) that grants full access to a library of 100+ games on iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple TV devices.

Games on Apple Arcade are ad-free, have no in-app purchases (zero microtransactions), and have no always-on DRM. Subscribers can download the games to play, share access with up to six family members, and continue gameplay progress across all of the supported operating systems.

But is it worth it? Here are the best games on Apple Arcade that make the subscription worth its price tag.

1. Shinsekai Into the Depths

What happens when Metroid meets Subnautica?

In this vibrant underwater world, players discover a zombie-free twist on postapocalyptic living. During your quest, the player battles sea monsters, pilots submarines, and explores the depths while seeking an ancient civilization.

If you’re looking for a console competitor-tier title, Shinsekai possesses the pedigree to stand on its own as a 2D platformer. The game possesses simple controls, but it makes mastery all the more awarding and important.

Beyond the gameplay, Capcom did an extravagant job to make a player-immersive world. All of the music and sound effects were recorded underwater for added authenticity. The world teems with aquatic life and colors. Even the base graphical design of the HUD pushes away from the typical clean, minimalistic design that’s popular amongst the mobile genre for some wavier, rustic machine text.

If you’re looking for a game to get lost in, Shinsekai’s world and gameplay will give you plenty of reason to be an early adopter with this AAA-grade launch title.

Download: Shinsekai Into the Depths on Apple Arcade

2. Hot Lava

First-person parkour meets childhood game meets cartoon cel-shaded graphical style.

At first, fond memories of the Mirror’s Edge franchise surfaces. Skirting from platform to platform in speedy acrobatic succession comes seamlessly as players hop from spot-to-spot to avoid threatening lava.

Rather than limit its existence to a nostalgia trip, the game provides all the speed-run essentials. Online multiplayer and leaderboards allow both the intrepid soloist and group player to compete for the best time score with equal fervor.

The fast-paced thrill of going for a better time and smashing a record serves as the core of the game. Players can run, bounce, swing, and climb against the best. Checkpoints are plentiful and help to encourage the player to experience the full gauntlet of challenges.

For those that grew up on death run maps on Team Fortress 2 and CS:GO, Hot Lava provides a new addition to a forgotten game mode. As a launch title, the community aspect makes it a very promising mainstay for your device.

Whether looking for nostalgia or competition, Hot Lava offers a welcome distraction.

Download: Hot Lava on Apple Arcade

3. Sayonara Wild Hearts

A self-titled pop-culture video game comes next in our list.

Beautiful, eclectic, and neon. This game manages to draw all these together and provide so much more.

Despite the sheer visual splendor that needs to be experienced, Sayonara Wild Hearts can also be a very polarizing game. As beautiful as the game’s visuals are, it still faces judgment as more of a short, interactive music video than a game.

Despite this, I needed to include this title because it perfectly encompasses the purpose of the Apple Arcade subscription. Gamers don’t have to tightly clutch their piggy banks since it’s not about maximizing one game’s true potential (albeit possible) but more about experiencing and enjoying a continuous stream of titles.

Sayonara Wild Hearts creates a captivating short yet must-play entry experience through the seamlessness of gameplay, art, and music that might otherwise be overlooked due to price tag.

Download: Sayonara Wild Hearts on Apple Arcade

4. Where Cards Fall

In a breaking change of pace from the above-posted title, Where Cards Fall tells a captivating coming-of-age story with a much more relaxing stride. The simplistic puzzle game follows the traditional trend of getting the player from one part of the stage to the other.

As one might expect from the title, the twist to the classic formula comes with the cards. The player utilizes cards to circumvent obstacles. At set moments, these cards will stack up and transform into houses to help advance the journey along.

Upon completion of the stage, the player experiences a flashback sequence showing a bit of the youth’s life albeit without any clear language. It leaves the experience more peaceful and interpretive to the viewer’s eyes.

As an Apple Arcade exclusive, Where Cards Fall stands strongly as another thought-provoking piece in their catalog.

Download: Where Cards Fall on Apple Arcade

5. Bleak Sword

As the onslaught of retro-style difficulty and Souls series lookalikes continue, the mobile sphere had laid mostly empty until now. After the much-accoladed release of Blasphemous, an 8-bit challenger arises with a similar skill set of parry, attack, counter, and roll (dodge).

Despite the comparisons to other popular franchises, Bleak Sword can very much stand on its own. The generated arenas only hold so many enemies, and the stages don’t last more than a minute or less. Rather than a full Metroidvania to contend with, the player gets to focus on the satisfying combat elements while facing diverse sets of monsters.

The combat exchange all has a real sense of weight to it which complements the mobile control scheme. To further keep the player focused, the art design utilizes a minimalistic basic black, white, and red to make only the really important details stand out in combat.

For anyone seeking an episodic challenge between busy moments of life, Bleak Sword can offer a welcome respite.

Download: Bleak Sword on Apple Arcade

Apple’s Worthy Subscription

Unlike many subscriptions at launch, Apple Arcade came out the gate with a very strong catalog of titles. For those hesitant to take the free trial, I would encourage you to test these five titles and experience a taste of this worthy boon to gamers.

For those without iOS devices, the wait for Apple Arcade to hit additional Apple devices doesn’t have to be excruciating. In the meantime, check out the best Mac games to play

The 11 Best Mac Games to Play in 2019

The 11 Best Mac Games to Play in 2019

Most games aren’t ported to Mac, but if you’re a Mac gamer, these are the best Mac games to play in 2019.
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Why enterprise IT should take a look at Apple Arcade

Apple will introduce support for Mac Catalyst, tools that make it easier to port existing iPad apps to Macs when it ships macOS Catalina this month.

Mac Catalyst in Apple’s Catalina

With that in mind, enterprise developers may want to take a look at Apple Arcade, because it’s a great place to explore apps that run on both iOS devices and Macs.

Games are among the most demanding applications you can run on any platform, which is what makes them a good way to stress test what platforms can do.

At the heart of the development of Arcade titles likely sits Apple’s philosophy for the future coexistence of all its platforms.

Introduced at WWDC 2018 and talked up a little more at Apple’s developer conference in 2019, Catalyst makes it easier for developers to export iPad apps to Macs.

Arcade games may not be built using the new APIs Apple has built to support Catalyst, but they do run on all Apple’s platforms. And it is also true that software developers will be able to more easily create Mac versions of their iPad apps thanks to Catalyst.

iPad and the iOS enterprise

It is fair to note that thousands of enterprises now use iPads – Apple’s netbook -destroying tablet defined its industry and caused business users to first begin exploring iOS.

This resulted in a move to support BYOD, which has led to a proliferation of iPhones and Macs among business users. Enterprises that focus their business around support for Apple’s systems currently face the expense of building an app for iPads, iPhones and Macs.

Catalyst should make this easier (and cheaper). Enterprise development teams can now build apps first for iPads which can then be repurposed for iPhones and for Macs. (Though as part of this Apple will probably need to create a Catalyst for iPhone to make that part of the process even easier).

What’s attractive about Catalyst for Mac is that the app experience remains consistent, which means workforces should find using the software on an iPad just as intuitive as using it on a Mac, and vice versa.

Another advantage should be that when it comes to updating essential enterprise apps developers can build once to update both versions. Put it all together and enterprises should be able to build software for their internal teams and external customers at lower cost, and future app maintenance and updates should also be less demanding in time/cost.

Using Apple Arcade apps on your iPad and Mac will provide a useful illustration of the capabilities and differences between the platforms, when apps are identical.

What apps will support Catalyst?

Apple revealed Twitter as one of the big firms building apps in this way, but there are other professional productivity apps that are being ported, such as:

I’m sure we’ll see many more solutions appear once macOS Catalina ships – but the primary interest for most enterprise shops is more likely driven by the opportunity to develop software to boost internal productivity, and to offer existing iPad apps to Mac using customers.

As you might expect, things aren’t yet perfect.

There are reports that some developers see Catalyst as a work in progress, in need of improvement and refinement. They complain at missing functions, while Apple encourages them to make ported apps more Mac-like, and there’s some need for interface development tools, among other complaints.

In effect, some of the missing elements resonate as being quite similar to the early days of Swift, when the importance of Objective-C began to deprecate; despite which it is evidently true that Apple places great store in Catalyst, as it does in Swift.

This is another reason enterprise developmers should spend time exploring Catalyst, as doing so will equip them with the skills and familiarity with tools Apple is building to support the future of app development on its platforms.

Mac developers using Catalina in beta can already explore these new tools in order to port their existing iPad OS apps to Macs running the beta.

Build once, run anywhere

Apple’s vision to make it possible to build one app to run across multiple platforms (iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac) isn’t exclusive – some still essential apps won’t be appropriate for some of these devices – but is reassuring in the sense that computing is becoming far more ubiquitous. So, if you walk in on your CEO playing Oceanhorn 2 on their iPad over the next week, don’t be annoyed.

They’ll probably tell you it’s research…

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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