Review: ArcadeModUp’s Mod Kit Bundle

Recently, I purchased a Final Fight arcade machine from Walmart as they went on sale for $50. This was exciting for so many reasons, but mainly the price was finally right for me to purchase one. If you want to read my review on it, click here. If you just got one and need help assembling it, click here. But if you already have one and it’s assembled and you’ve played about all that you can of the games on it, you may be ready for more games. You’re probably ready to upgrade the hardware from the stock buttons to some new buttons and sticks that will hold up. Heck, you may even be crazing a dose of LED’s in your machine. Well, ArcadeModUp’s Mod Kit bundle has those things! What does it include, how simple is the installation, and is it just generally worth it? We’ll cover all of this and more right now!

 

Description:

‘Arcade1Up Mod Kit is complete with everything you need to upgrade your Arcade1Up machine in an easy drop-in kit… Supports 2 or 4 players on ALL Arcade 1 Up Cabinets.’

Features:

  • ‘Arcade control panel wired and ready to play
    • Standard arcade layout
    • Themed laminated artwork applied to panel
    • 2 Player
      • 2 joysticks and 16 buttons pre-wired
      • 2 usb encoders
    • 4 Player
      • 4 joysticks and 28 buttons
      • 4 usb encoders
    • Raspberry Pi 3b+ or latest supported on RetroPie
    • Ready to play microsd card
    • HDMI cable
  • HDMI Monitor Converter
    • Monitor converter board and cabling
  • Stereo J Panel Upgrade Package
    • New J panel (below control panel board)
    • 2 4″ speakers pre-installed
    • 180W amp with power supply
    • Speaker wire with connectors
  • Lighted Marquee
    • .5″ plexiglass replacement marquee with holders
    • Themed artwork
    • Replacement screws
    • Light Strip
    • Power splitter’

Unboxing Video:

Pros:

  • Installation. Let’s just get the ball rolling by talking about the simplicity of the installation. When it comes to installing the full kit, I had never done one before. After finally completing it, I would say that it’s essentially as easy as the original assembly. I put just as much time into putting the pieces in as I did assembling the machine. That may sound “bad” in some retrospect, but I actually mean the opposite. I mean that everything was preassembled and it was easy to understand the instructions, the same as with Arcade1Up.
    I’m also completely flabbergasted that they took the time to wire the control deck up and mount the Raspberry Pi. They’ve included a fully flashed 64GB microSD card from SanDisk. I mentioned that it comes with instructions. This is always a pro move from a company. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve complained of products I’ve reviewed not coming with instructions. They rely on you still having internet or a cell phone or computer to look up instructions. I’m thinking it’s easier to print a few pieces of paper and know that your buyer will be happy.
  • Cost. The most expensive bundle configuration that they have is $399.99. I do believe that most of you won’t be choosing all of the extra stuff. But for the base kit at (currently) $329, I honestly think that’s a fantastic price. Especially because ArcadeModUp takes the worry out of buying all of the parts and then trying to wire them up. I’m not saying I couldn’t do it, what I’m saying is that I’m glad that they include labor it in the cost. I also think the price is great considering the rest of the “pros” we’re about to talk about.
    I also bet that them doing all of the wiring and hookups is likely to increase their customer count. I’d surmise that a lack of knowledge keeps buyers away more than cost. They even have a money-back guarantee. If you ever need help with anything that they’ve done, just ask them before taking to Twitter. Their customer service after you make the purchase is, to me, part of what you’re paying for.
  • Plug and Play. This next point is still kind of an “installation” factor, but I believe that it deserves its own section. The point I’m driving at here is that the kit is can be installed in any version of an Arcade1Up. I don’t just mean any version of Arcade1Up recently, or any 1st generation cabinets, I mean all cabinets to date. It’s worth adding here that a couple of features that you can add to the control deck are not compatible with every machine. But everything in the base bundle is absolutely interchangeable. That means, for people like me with a Final Fight cabinet, I could have a Final Fight graphic with a Street Fighter button layout. However, what I ended up doing was going with a Street Fighter Graphic anyway. Now I can either continue to update it to look like a Street Fighter 2 cabinet or I can have a Capcom mashup cabinet. I love the options I’m given.
  • Style/Design. Speaking of looks, we’re now onto talking about how great they made the graphics. If you already have an Arcade1UP cabinet and you order a control deck from ArcadeModUp, you’ll see that they match the graphics perfectly. Even in the instance of making four-player control decks. They found a way to make the products look legitimate and original. This also extends to the custom plexiglass marquee. Sure it looks different from the backside of the original marquee. I’m talking about the graphic across the front, they managed to get the proper image and print it on a see-through material. So when it’s not illuminated it looks like a standard Arcade1Up marquee. And when it is illuminated, it looks like it should’ve been that way all along. It’s truly great and I’m wondering if they’ll be making full-fledged arcade wraps that let us transform our certain models into another model.
  • Build Quality. This is the part where ArcadeModUp truly shines. It’s a lot that I could swoon over and waste your time on. Instead I’m going to stick to specifics and keep it brief. First off, I want to mention that the buttons feel better than the originals. The exact same sentiment goes with the sticks and not only that but the sticks now they have bat tops. The bat tops I feel are more ergonomic, however, to each his own. You can still get ball top sticks from their site, but more on that later. I have one final thought on the matter of the buttons. They can take an absolute beating. I was fearful that if I was too rough, the buttons would press down into the control deck or fall in, something like that. Honestly, I stress tested the heck out of it and they’re as solid as a rock. Am I saying that they’re perfect for the rest of all time? No, absolutely not. I’m sure fluid is a destroyer of these parts. So have fun, but be cautious, and you should be just fine.
    Now, with regards to the layout of the control decks, I have more love for ArcadeModUp. They took into consideration adding the extra buttons necessary to make it compatible with Raspberry Pi. By that I mean you have credit buttons and player buttons that are needed. The previous configuration from Arcade1UP didn’t need a credit button as their ROMs were all set to Free Play. They also removed from the equation the power and volume buttons. You can adjust volume and turn off your Raspberry Pi from the Emulation Station menus. It’s safer than having a power switch anyhow, given how Emulation Station works.
    As far as the wiring, everything is stringed up beautifully. There was just the right length of cords and wiring under the control deck. This will prevent you from dealing with a tangled mess. The length of wiring for the speakers is a good length as well. It really depends on where you put the amp inside of your cabinet. But it should still reach. By the by, the speakers, speaker cords, and amp all make for a great sound (more on that later). Obviously we can’t give them all of the credit for the build quality when it comes to the items they include with the kit like the Raspberry Pi and the HDMI converter and amp. But I can give them credit to supplying us with the quality of items that they did. Products that really work and hold their own. They all come together to make a nice bit of kit!
  • Lighting. We’ve talked about it a few times now, but it deserves its own point. So let me quickly jaw about the LED lighting in the marquee and in the buttons. The marquee being illuminated is a must when looking for authenticity. You have that warm glow that (depending on the height of your machine) is familiar. It takes you back to the days of old where you’d be young and the illuminated marquee would catch your attention from far away. And as you played the game that caught your interest, the marquee would always be shining above you like a videogame halo.
    But now we’re in the future and the possibility for lit-up buttons is here and it’s just next level, hands down. You can turn off all of the lights and play this thing and it will light up half of the room. If you have a black light and have it going above you and then turn this machine on, you can give yourself that true arcade feel. The lighting on this kid could definitely be disabled if you’d prefer. Just remove the illuminated marquee option before you order the kit. And when the control deck arrives, unplug the small wire from each button that supplies the LED lighting. But, believe me, you don’t want to do that. It’s so next generation and too cool for school.
  • Free Delivery. This is something I wanted to bring to your attention. And while it’s not technically part of my product review, it may make you go “Oh really?!” and then you buy it. If you order some individual items, it may be that you’ll have to pay to ship. But anything over $49 gets you free shipping. So you may take that into consideration. The bottom line here is that if you’re interested in buying the largest bundle (from this review), you won’t be paying for shipping.
This is the exact kit I received.

Cons:

  • Speaker. I received the product and one of the speakers had come free and had been a bit smooshed. I tried to “unsmoosh” it and just use it anyway. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done. I will say that I truly doubt that it’s the fault of ArcadeModUp. I’m thinking it’s more because of how FedEx handled it. Nevertheless, I think if there was a way to keep the speaker from coming free in transit, it wouldn’t have a chance to get squished. I’m sure this is a one-off thing because when I looked up other reviews, nobody else complained of it. Maybe it’s nothing that even needs to be remedied by ArcadeModUp. If they put some cling wrap around it to keep it attached, I’m sure that would be good enough of a resolution. I just bought another speaker for on eBay and installed it and I was still a happy boy. I had even contemplated just continuing on with one speaker since that’s all the original Arcade1UP setup has. But trust me, it sounds so classy with 2.

Extras:

Just as an aside, I mentioned that there were more features for the control deck. I wanted to talk about those extra features that were not on my mod kit. I also wanted to quickly cover what else the site has. It’s worth noting that any of the parts mentioned in the mod kit are also purchasable individually. So if you already have your own Raspberry Pi setup and just want a light up marquee, you can get that through ArcadeModUp. I also want to cover the fact that you can remove some aspects of the mod kit if you don’t need them.

  • Add Ons. You can add up to four-player control decks to your order. To any given kit you can also add a 2.5″ trackball. It is not compatible with 4 player options, so choose wisely. You can throw on a Plex control panel cover, which is also not compatible with the trackball option. Or if you’d prefer, you can add a 2 port USB extender. Be warned, that option is not compatible with four-player setups. Lastly, if you have a TMNT or a Marvel Super Heroes cabinet, you should click the option in the audio section so they know what kind you have.
  • Removeables. If you maybe want to remove something, here are the options you have. In the audio section, you can remove the audio altogether. This is for those of you who have speakers, wires, and know-how already. You can remove the illuminated marquee from the equation if you’d like. Some of you might find it distracting when playing, so that makes sense. Last of all, you can remove the PCB board that converts the video from the screen to HDMI. Maybe you already have a method of doing so or intend to install a new screen altogether and don’t need it.
  • Others. When scrolling through the site, you’ll see individual items from the kit as well as items the kit doesn’t have. For those looking just for some individual items and not the full kit, here is what they offer.
    • Light Up Marquee Conversion Kit.
    • Control Deck.
    • Amplifier.
    • Speakers in a pair.
    • Panel with pair of speakers.
    • Panel with speakers, wiring, and amp.
    • Arcade Classic 4-Way/8-Way joystick (various colors).
    • Sanwa 4-Way/8-Way joystick (various colors).
    • Track Ball 2 inch for PC/MAC. Comes with USB and PS2 connectors.
    • Arcade joystick and button kit.
    • USB extender.
    • HDMI monitor conversion kit.
    • Custom ArcadeModUp skin wrap, Avengers themed.
An example of a 4-Player control deck, but SF2 themed.

Overall Thoughts/Purchase Links:

A lot of thought has gone into these, there’s no denying that. ArcadeModUp takes a lot of the guesswork out of the equation. When it comes to installation, your Arcade1Up will be modded and functional within an hour. Seriously, I recorded an hour of me installing it all, but I was messing around. When I edited the video down, I was only in the weeds for twenty minutes. That means you’ll probably be playing even sooner than an hour. This whole setup feels great, it looks great, and it has a feeling of longevity to it. The only downside I truly felt is that if a button broke (maybe from food/drink), they don’t have an option to buy individual buttons. The same goes for speakers, all of those only come in sets. It would be great to be able to buy a single speaker (in my case) or a single button. Other than that, I’m incredibly impressed with what ArcadeModUp brings to the table and I’m confident that you will be too!

Main Site Link

Link to Shop

If you already have one of these, or are just now ordering it, or have one en route; we have instructions for installation for you. Click here to check it out!

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