Whenever I’m bored or waiting in a queue or something, one of the daydream places that I often go to is to design my blue sky gaming room. The sort of gaming room I would have if I won the lottery and could get whatever games and accessories that I wanted. Anything goes and space isn’t a factor, so I’m not restrained my the usual parameters that normal life brings, namely space and money.

For me the main things I would base the room around would be arcade machines. There’s just something about seeing and hearing arcade machines that still excites me, and to have an arcade machine collection of my own would be something else. I am very pleased to have built my own MAME arcade cabinet, but I made that one mainly because I couldn’t afford proper machines and didn’t have space for multiple machines.


The first arcade machine I always have on lists like this is Galaga. One of the main reasons is because WarGames is my all time favourite movie and there’s a famous scene in that movie (two in fact) where we see David Lightman, played by Matthew Broderick, having a game of Galaga in the 20 Grand Palace arcade. I can just imagine myself playing my own Galaga machine, imaging what it would be like to go home and hack into NORAD via a talking computer.

Track & Field
The game that really has become my go to arcade game is Track & Field. I love the graphics, with the its chunky sprites, and also the almost inaudible speech effects. But also it is one competitive game. It’s certainly not easy, as I often struggle to qualify in the hurdles event. But there’s nothing quite like having a two player game of Track & Field. I love Hyper Sports just as much. So I would either get both machines, I might get a switcher board to put inside the Track & Field cab, so that I can switch between the two games. But the Hyper Sports cabinet is pretty cool.

Out Run sit down
Out Run was THE cool game of the late 80s. It was the daddy. It was The A-Team. The Hulk Hogan. The no.1. Heck, I need to have it in my gaming room just for the music alone. What an incredible selection of music it had. I never had one particular favourite track. I fell in love with the mix that came on a cassette on the cover of C+VG, which combined all three tracks. Fantastic. But in the game I did normally go for Magical Sound Shower. I want to learn how to play the steel drums just so that I can play Magic Sound Shower. I was never even that great at the arcade game. But I could spend hours just sitting in that sit down cab and listening to the music.

Star Wars sit down
Talking of sit down cabs, the Star Wars cockpit cabinet is the other iconic machine of the 80s. The game itself is a pretty good arcade game, although perhaps slightly repetitive as it loops so easily. But the whole ambiance and presentation is just so good. It looks awesome. You feel like you’re sitting in a TIE fighter (even though in the game you’re actually flying an X-Wing, but that’s fine, I’d rather think I’m in a TIE fighter). And there was ground-breaking in game speech that really made you feel like you were in the movie. I would make space for this massive machine in my dream gaming room.

Street Fighter 2
Another absolute classic. It’s a the classic player on player fighter, and it not only has fantastic graphics (I absolutely love the animations of Ken and Ryu just bouncing up and down as they stand in their ready position, so cool), but it also has iconic sound effects and music. The phrase ‘Hadouken’ has made it into popular parlance even for those who don’t really know the game that well.

Donkey Kong
I find this game soooo hard, so I partly want it in my room just so that I can practice it and try to get better. But it is a bit of a classic cabinet design and the game became even more iconic after the great documentary (or almost mockumentary) King of Kong.

Operation Wolf
It’s good to get machines that can’t easily be emulated. Operation Wolf is a perfect example. There are so many mechanics and heavy machinery involved in this machine that it’s hard to replicate without the real deal. I would watch that opening (Commando-esque) opening scene over and over again.

Juno First
I feel like I should have a lesser known machine in here too. One that I didn’t know about prior to my visit to Arcade Club was Juno First. But I really liked it. Very cool game and very cool cabinet.

Candy Cab – Super Bishi Bashi Champ
Another machine that I only discovered on my first visit to Arcade Club was Bishi Bashi. And I absolutely fell in love with it. I found I had a bit of a knack for it, and that always endears a game to me! But I would love to have a candy cab in my gaming room so this is the first game I would pick for that.

Pinballs are something that I have grown much more interested in them over the years. I never really used to like them, or rather I used to be drawn more to the shiny graphics of video games. But now I have a respect for the mechanical nature of pinballs and have become more educated about the nuances of the games. I recently wrote about the 5 pinball machines I would love to own and so I will stick with that list…

  • Lord of the Rings
  • Indiana Jones
  • The Twilight Zone
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation 
  • Guns n’ Roses

But I actually heard yesterday that they have released a new Guns n Roses machine, named after their current tour ’Not in this Lifetime’. So I’d have to add that one too methinks.

Following on from the mechanical nature of the pinballs, I’d like to have some other mechanical clunks and clicks going on in my gaming room.

Quick and Crash
When I first saw this Namco machine in the flesh I absolutely loved it. It looks like magic. You shoot at a mug with a light gun and the mug explodes. But it’s just a mechanical trick. Smoke and mirrors. But it’s very well done. Would be nice to have this one next to Operation Wolf.

Ice Cold Beer
Here’s another awesome mechanical machine. You have to use the left and right levers to raise the bar bit by bit so that the ball gets higher on the playfield without dropping down one of the holes. Infuriating, but great fun and it’s always a crowd pleaser whenever I’ve had the pleasure of seeing it.

Slot machines have been around for forever and I’ve always thought they were pretty cool. Nowadays you can play a lot of retro slot machines online, but I would probably add a mechanical slot machine to my gaming room. Either a UK fruit machine with all the cool flashing lights, or a retro style one armed bandit. Not sure.  

No gaming room is complete without a table football game. I don’t think anyone ever called it Fusball in the UK until Friends. I won’t include an air hockey game though. I saw someone get smashed in the nose by a flying puck once and I’ve hated those games ever since. But table football is pretty safe so it can stay.

And a jukebox isn’t a game but what gaming room would be complete without a jukebox. I used to always want an old style Wurlitzer. And I probably still do. But I would also settle for a slightly cheaper, but character-filled kind of jukebox we used to get in the UK in the 90s. Maybe a wall hanging one that plays CDs and you can flick through all the CD inlays.