Arcade Gaming Hobby: What Is, Tips, Ultimate Beginner Guide

arcade gaming beginner guide

Arcade games offer a mix of fun and challenge. From racing games to fighting games, there’s something for everyone. You can test your skills, improve your reflexes, and even make new friends.

This hobby can also bring a sense of nostalgia. Many people remember spending hours in arcades, trying to master their favorite games. The flashing lights, sounds of game machines, and the thrill of competition all contribute to creating a unique and enjoyable experience. 

As a hobby, it can take different approaches, from gaming, collecting, to restoring. Let’s see how arcade gaming can be a great way to unwind and escape from the stresses of everyday life.

What is arcade gaming, and how can it be a hobby?

arcade gaming nostalgia trip

Arcade gaming usually refers to playing video games on machines typically found in public places like arcades, restaurants, and entertainment centers. These machines are typically coin-operated and feature a variety of games that are easy to learn but challenging to master.

In a broader sense, arcade gaming is a multifaceted hobby that encompasses playing games, collecting, restoration, and customization of classic arcade cabinets. Enthusiasts can engage in playing these games and take part in preserving and celebrating a significant part of video game history and culture. This hobby allows individuals to connect with a like-minded community, sharing a passion for the nostalgia and artistry of retro gaming.

  • Origins: Arcade gaming boomed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, becoming a cornerstone of pop culture with iconic games like Pac-Man and Space Invaders. It introduced many to video gaming, setting the foundation for the industry’s future.
  • Popularity: Despite the rise of home gaming consoles and mobile gaming, arcade gaming remains popular among enthusiasts who enjoy the social aspect of playing games in public settings. While the number of arcades has decreased over the years, many retro arcades and modern arcade bars continue to attract players.
  • Who is it for: Arcade gaming is for anyone attracted to vintage gaming, craftsmanship, and community. It appeals to those who appreciate the tactile feel of original arcade controls, the art and history of the games, and the social aspect of sharing these experiences with others.

Are you interested in more game-oriented hobbies? Read more on the top hobbies that include all types of games.

What are the different types of arcade gaming

types of arcade games

Arcade gaming has long been a beloved pastime for many enthusiasts around the world. Retro arcade games offer a diverse range of pursuits suited to different tastes. Whether you’re competing for high scores, collecting rare cabinets, or customizing machines to reflect your personal style, there’s something for everyone in the world of arcade gaming.

You can enjoy arcade gaming as a hobby by:

  • Playing arcade games solo for fun.
  • Engaging in competitive arcade gaming.
  • Collecting rare and classic arcade machines.
  • Restoring old cabinets to their original splendor.
  • Customizing machines to reflect personal style.
Classic arcade gamingThis category focuses on playing games on original arcade cabinets from the golden age of arcade gaming. It involves experiencing the nostalgia of classic titles like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong.Retro graphics, simple controls, classic titles like Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Donkey Kong.
Modern arcade gamingModern arcade gaming involves playing newer arcade machines that feature advanced graphics, gameplay, and technology. These machines often have a wide range of games, from racing simulators to interactive dance games.High-definition graphics, immersive gameplay, a variety of genres like racing, shooting, and rhythm games.
Collectible cabinetsCollecting arcade cabinets is a popular aspect of arcade gaming. Enthusiasts often seek out rare or limited-edition cabinets to add to their collection. These cabinets can vary in design, size, and features.Unique designs, historical value, sought after by collectors for their rarity and significance.
Restoration projectsSome arcade gaming enthusiasts enjoy restoring old and worn-out arcade cabinets to their former glory. This process involves repairing, repainting, and refurbishing cabinets to make them look and function like new.Requires technical skills, attention to detail, passion for preserving arcade gaming history.
Customized cabinetsCustomization allows individuals to personalize their arcade cabinets according to their preferences. This can involve adding custom artwork, lighting effects, control panels, or even modifying the internal components for a unique gaming experience.Reflects individual style, creativity, and preferences, offers a unique gaming experience.

Benefits of arcade gaming as a hobby

The diverse facets of arcade gaming, from playing classic titles to customizing machines, contribute to a holistic experience that brings joy and satisfaction to those who partake in this vibrant hobby.

  • Promotes social interaction and community engagement: You can meet fellow gamers and create new friendships.
  • Enhances hand-eye coordination and cognitive skills: Your reflexes and mental agility get a workout.
  • Fosters problem-solving abilities and boosts creativity: Tackle challenges and think outside the box.
  • Provides an enjoyable escape from real-life stressors: A way to de-stress.
  • Offers a sense of accomplishment and continuous learning: Every level up is a personal win.
  • Historical appreciation: Collecting arcade cabinets allows enthusiasts to preserve and appreciate the history of arcade gaming, forming a personal connection to the evolution of this beloved hobby.
  • Investment potential: Rare or limited-edition arcade cabinets can hold or increase in value over time, offering collectors a potential financial investment in addition to the joy of ownership.
  • Skill development: Restoring old arcade cabinets requires technical skills in areas such as electronics, woodworking, and painting, providing an opportunity for enthusiasts to enhance their skills and knowledge in various disciplines.

How to get started with arcade games step by step

To begin your journey into arcade gaming as a hobby, it’s essential to start with a clear understanding of your interests within the realm of arcade gaming. Whether you enjoy playing, collecting, restoring, building, or customizing arcade machines, it’s crucial to identify your focus area to guide your initial steps.

You can find valuable information on arcade gaming through online forums, gaming communities, social media groups, and dedicated websites that are targeted to arcade enthusiasts.

When taking your first steps, consider visiting local arcades, retro gaming stores, or arcade expos to immerse yourself in the culture and gain hands-on experience. Additionally, seeking support and guidance from experienced arcade gamers or joining online communities can provide valuable insights and assistance as you begin exploring arcade gaming as a hobby.

Simple step-by-step guide to starting arcade gaming as a hobby:

  1. Identify interests: Determine whether you are more inclined towards playing, collecting, restoring, building, or customizing arcade machines.
  2. Research and explore: Look for online resources, forums, social media groups, and websites related to arcade gaming to gather information and insights.
  3. Visit arcades: Spend time at local arcades or retro gaming stores to experience different types of arcade games and cabinets firsthand.
  4. Connect with the community: Join online communities or forums dedicated to arcade gaming to seek advice, share experiences, and connect with like-minded individuals.
  5. Attend arcade expos: Attend arcade expos or gaming conventions to discover a wide array of arcade machines and interact with fellow enthusiasts.
  6. Start small: Begin by playing classic arcade games at home through emulators or on modern consoles to familiarize yourself with different game genres.
  7. Explore collecting: If interested in collecting, start with affordable or common arcade memorabilia before delving into rare or valuable items.
  8. Practice restoration skills: Experiment with minor repairs or refurbishments on old arcade cabinets to develop your restoration skills gradually.
  9. DIY projects: Consider building a custom arcade cabinet or modifying an existing one.
  10. Enjoy the journey: Embrace the learning process, enjoy the challenges, and immerse yourself in the vibrant world of arcade gaming as you explore and advance in your hobby.

New to arcade gaming? Let our hobby and passion coach provide you with tailored beginner’s tips!

Tips and tricks for arcade gaming

If you are just starting with arcade gaming, there are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your experience.

  • Try out different types of arcade games to find your favorite genre.
  • Practice your favorite games regularly to improve both skills and performance.
  • Challenge yourself by setting achievable goals for each gaming session, whether it’s reaching a new high score or completing a difficult level.
  • Join gaming communities to learn and share tips and strategies with experienced players.
  • Participate in arcade tournaments to challenge yourself and further enhance your gaming abilities.
  • When restoring arcade machines, aim to preserve their original features and artwork for authenticity.
  • Before starting a DIY arcade cabinet build, create a detailed plan outlining the design, materials, and dimensions.

Common challenges and solutions

Now that you’ve got some tips for upping your arcade game, let’s tackle the common hurdles you might face and explore effective ways to leap over them.

Mastering difficult levelsPractice consistently, understand mechanics, read instructions, watch tutorials
High score pressureSet personal goals and celebrate small victories
Finding authentic manuals and guidesSearch online on eBay, auctions, the internet archive, and connect with other collectors
SecurityInvest in proper insurance and security systems for your collection

Did you know that?

fascinating facts to learn

Arcade gaming has a rich history filled with intriguing trivia and interesting facts. Here’s a peek into some intriguing facts that you mightn’t be aware of:

  • Did you know that “Pac-Man” is one of the most iconic and popular arcade games of all time? It was first released in 1980 and quickly became a cultural phenomenon.
  • The highest score ever achieved in “Donkey Kong” was set by Robbie Lakeman in 2021 with an impressive score of 1,272,800 points.
  • The technique of “button mashing” rapidly pressing buttons without a specific strategy, became widely used in arcade fighting games like “Street Fighter” and “Mortal Kombat”.
  • One of the earliest examples of a competitive gaming event took place in 1980 with the “Space Invaders Championship”, organized by Atari, which attracted over 10,000 participants.

Experience arcade gaming locally: Courses, events to learn, gift vouchers

While exploring the digital realms of gaming through emulators offers a window into the past, stepping into a local arcade can immerse you in the vibrant community and hands-on experience of arcade gaming. Here’s how you can dive deeper:

  • Join beginner courses at local venues to sharpen your skills.
  • Gift vouchers make perfect presents for gaming enthusiasts in your life.
  • Participate in events to feel the camaraderie among players.
  • Structured learning opportunities through courses can deepen your arcade gaming knowledge.
  • Introduce someone to arcade gaming with a unique gift voucher experience.

What do you need to buy to get started with arcade games

Before exploring into the vibrant world of arcade gaming, you’ll need to decide between purchasing an arcade machine or opting for an emulator to kick off your gaming adventures. Both choices have their merits, with machines offering a more authentic experience and emulators providing flexibility and a cost-effective alternative.

  • Arcade machine or emulator: Decide based on your budget, space, and love for nostalgia.
  • Game selection: Look for titles that excite you from reputable online sources, expo, or arcade games stores.
  • Arcade cabinet kit: If you’re feeling crafty, a DIY arcade cabinet kit can be a fun project to build your custom arcade machine.
  • Raspberry Pi: Consider using a Raspberry Pi for building your own arcade cabinet or running retro arcade games.

Be smart: Take arcade gaming to the next level

Maximize your arcade gaming passion by leveraging modern learning resources to enhance your skills and experience.

  • Consider exploring audiobooks from platforms like or and e-books that offer insights into game theory, strategy, and tips for arcade gaming.
  • Enroll in online courses focused on game design, programming, or the history of games to gain a more profound understanding of the gaming industry.
  • Utilize emulators to play classic arcade games on your computer or mobile device. Emulators can provide you with access to a wide range of games from different eras, allowing you to explore and learn from the rich history of arcade gaming.

Reinvent arcade gaming: unconventional, innovative and creative ways of enjoying arcade games

revolutionizing arcade gaming experience

Let’s explore creative concepts to transform your arcade gaming experience with a fresh perspective, fun and excitement.

  • Arcade game streaming channel: Start a channel dedicated to streaming arcade gameplay, its history, DIY projects, and engage with a community of like-minded individuals and sharing your passion for arcade gaming.
  • Arcade games tours: Gather friends or fellow enthusiasts to organize tours to visit retro arcades, gaming museums, or historic gaming locations. Discover the rich history of arcade gaming and gain a deeper appreciation for its evolution.
  • Raspberry Pi arcade cabinet: Create a mini arcade cabinet powered by Raspberry Pi, providing an interactive and hands-on project to reignite your passion for arcade gaming through showcasing creativity and technical skills.
  • Leaderboard league with rewards: Establish a leaderboard system where you and your friends can compete for top spots in various arcade games, offering funny rewards or incentives for achieving high scores and maintaining friendly competition.
  • Arcade game cosplay nights: Combine your love for arcade gaming with cosplay. Dress up as characters from your favorite arcade games and have themed gaming nights with friends.

Arcade gaming online communities, social media groups and top niche sites

You can find a vibrant community online, from dedicated forums to thriving social media groups for every arcade enthusiast. These platforms allow you to discover much more about your hobby, and offer fantastic opportunities to make new friends who share your passion.

  • Facebook & Reddit Groups: Participate in vibrant conversations and access a treasure trove of tips and tricks: r/Arcade1Up, r/arcade.
  • Explore resources and news tailored to arcade gaming hobbyists.

Hobbies you may also like

If the universe of arcade gaming has captured your imagination, consider also different hobbies:

  • Collectible card games: Collectible card games are fun because you can collect different cards and build your own deck. You can then play against friends, trying to outsmart them with your strategy and cards.
  • Playing board games: Playing board games lets you enjoy a good time with friends and family. Many board games require strategy, which makes them exciting and challenging. You get to think ahead and plan your moves.
  • Laser tag: Laser tag is an action-packed game where you get to run around and tag others with your laser gun. It’s like playing a real-life video game. You need to be fast and sneaky to win.
  • VR games: VR games make you feel like you’re inside the game. With special glasses, you can look around and interact with the virtual world. It’s a very immersive experience that can be both thrilling and entertaining.

Let your passions lead the way! Our comprehensive list of hobbies can help guide your exploration.

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Start your personalized hobby exploration today and uncover the activities that will ignite your passion.

Final thoughts

analyzing the human brain

Arcade gaming is a fantastic way to enjoy the nostalgia and artistry of old-school games. Getting started is easier than you might think. Begin by visiting local arcades to play different games and find your favorites.

Once you’re hooked, you might want to start collecting arcade games. You can search for classic machines online or at auctions. Customization adds another exciting element to this hobby.

Being part of the arcade gaming community is one of the best aspects. You’ll meet people who share your enthusiasm and can offer tips and advice. Whether you’re playing, collecting, restoring, or customizing, there’s always something new to explore in the world of arcade games.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is arcade gaming still a thing?

Yes, arcade gaming is still a thing, though it has evolved significantly over the years. While traditional arcades are less common, many modern entertainment centers, bars, and restaurants incorporate arcade games to attract customers. Additionally, retro arcades and barcades have gained popularity, offering a nostalgic experience with classic games.

When was the golden age of arcades?

The golden age of arcades is generally considered to be the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. This period saw the rise of iconic games like “Pac-Man”, “Space Invaders”, and “Donkey Kong” which became cultural phenomena. Arcades were a major social hub during this time, drawing large crowds eager to play the latest games.

Are arcades a good investment?

Whether arcades are a good investment depends on various factors, including location, target audience, and business model. Traditional arcades may struggle due to competition from home gaming consoles and online gaming. However, niche markets like retro arcades, barcades, and family entertainment centers can be profitable if they create a unique and engaging experience for customers. Also, buying and restoring classic arcade machines can be lucrative, as there is a growing market for vintage games among collectors and enthusiasts.

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