With the recent Black Friday sale (which actually lasts the rest of the year), I finally grabbed an iiRcade home arcade cabinet. As with any arcade cabinet intended for home use, some assembly is required. To provide an idea of what the assembly process and final product are like, we've got impressions and photos.
The iiRcade is a home arcade cabinet that can be used in either bartop or upright configurations. It comes with 11 pre-installed games, but the chief selling point is that iiRcade also allows users to buy and download individual licensed arcade and indie games. iiRcade offers several models with different skins and slightly varying features. As a lifelong Double Dragon fan, I chose the Double Dragon Bundle, which set me back $599 plus $49 shipping (there was no sales tax).
The product shipped via FedEx (boo!) and arrived exactly one week after ordering. It comes in two large boxes: one for the bartop unit itself and one for its stand. Together, the two items make a proper upright arcade cabinet. You can assemble the two halves in any order. I chose to put the stand together first so that I'd have a place to put the bartop after building it.
Assembling the two units is a fairly straightforward process that requires a Philips screwdriver. The iiRcade building process differs from that of Arcade1Up cabinets, which consist of a smaller number of larger pieces. I'd say the iiRcade is easier to actually assemble but more time-consuming because of all the steps. The stand takes 14 steps to build and the bartop requires 22 steps, which is a lot. Expect it to take 2-3 hours if building by yourself.
The real challenge comes from applying the artwork. Most iiRcade units, it seems, do not come with their artwork pre-applied. That's a vastly different approach from Arcade1Up's, in which the artwork is applied at the factory. It's easy to miss the "Customize with your own graphics or use the included skin" blurb when ordering from the iiRcade website. Still, iiRcade provides a helpful video to walk users through the vinyl application process. Following the video's instructions, I managed to get my artwork on about 95% accurately and with no air bubbles.
After fully assembling both halves of the product, you just sit the bartop on top of the stand and apply four hand-screws to hold everything together. Turn the machine on, connect to your local Wi-Fi network, and the unit will automatically download the latest firmware. It will also display a QR code for downloading the Android app from iiRcade's website. Log into your account on the unit (I recommend creating the account on the store first) and then you're ready to start playing and/or buying games.
You can find several cabinets in stock at iiRcade.com. Amazon sells the bartop and stand individually, though both products are sold out as of this writing.
Stay tuned for our full review of the iiRcade Black Edition home arcade cabinet!