Game Table Life Expectancy: How Long Pool Tables Last

Pool tables have long been a symbol of leisure and entertainment in Singapore, capturing the hearts of loved ones and players within homes and game spaces. However, as with any big purchases, the question arises: how long will my pool table be good for? In this article, we discuss how long pool tables last, the key considerations that influence the lifespan of pool tables, and the best pool table practices to extend their durability and functionality. So, let's get started, shall we? How Long Should Pool Tables Last? There is no definite answer to this question. While not all pool tables offer the same lifespan depending on several factors, a cheap, lightweight table may last just months while a good quality billiard table should last anywhere from 8 to 15 years or even more. The more expensive models in a game room, such as those crafted from hardwood, can even last up to 20 years or more with proper maintenance and care. However, it's important to note that these are just estimates, and the actual lifespan of a pool table depends on several factors. Read on to know what these are. Factors Affecting the Life Expectancy of Pool Tables As you may imagine, the factors that determine the lifespan of your pool table will include its choice of material in construction. This will undoubtedly mean that a higher quality table that tends to cost more will also tend to last longer. But what other factors are there? Hence, to help ensure your beloved pool table is around for years to come, here are a few factors that you should consider when determining its expected lifespan: Foundation and Material of the Pool Table When considering the lifespan of a pool table, the quality of its construction takes center stage. High-quality pool tables are typically crafted from premium materials, such as MDF pool material or solid hardwood, which not only enhances their aesthetic appeal but also contributes to their durability. The pool playing surface, often made of slate, plays a pivotal role. Slate is renowned for its consistent and smooth surface, crucial for accurate gameplay. Opting for a table with a thicker pool slate bed further contributes to its resilience against warping or damage. European vs China Pool Table Manufacturers When it comes to pool tables, European and Chinese manufacturers offer their own unique sets of benefits. Key Highlights European manufacturers have long been associated with a legacy of craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. European manufacturers tend to emphasise traditional woodworking techniques, using premium materials like solid hardwoods and genuine slate for pool playing surfaces. Generally, European-made billiards tables come at a heftier price than those of their Chinese counterparts because of the special attention to premium quality and customisation with pool table products. Chinese manufacturers, on the other hand, have gained prominence in the manufacturing landscape due to their efficiency, innovation, and cost-effectiveness. They often incorporate modern manufacturing methods and are adept at fulfilling higher demands within the market. They are the ideal pick for players looking for budget-friendly options, too. Our Choice: Slated Pool Tables Need recommendations for what pool tables to use? We've compiled some of our best and latest slated pool tables. Here they are: For Tournament-Ready Gameplay: Space Pro Competition Pool Table This Bilhares Carrinho 3-piece slate pool table is built for tournaments, professional play, and the like. If you need a bit more challenge to your gameplay., this is the one for you. For Outdoor Gameplay: Fusion Outdoor Dining Pool Table This dual-function pool table comes with a durable pool slate playing surface that withstands the outdoors and elements. For Luxury Gameplay: Zeta Pool Table This 3-piece slate pool table comes with hidden drop pockets and is compatible with a dining pool tabletop, so players can expect a fun gaming and dining experience in one. Usage Frequency and Intensity The frequency and intensity of usage can also have an impact on the lifespan of a billiards table. If a table is used often for play by multiple players, it’s likely to experience more wear and tear than one that’s used less frequently. Similarly, if the pool game is played intensely with hard-hitting cues or aggressive shots, then this can cause premature damage to the table. Type of Pool of Played The type of pool that is played on the pool table can either increase or lessen the estimated lifespan of a pool table. Different styles of play require different levels of skill and may cause more inevitable damage on the table over time. 8-Ball vs 9-Ball Two of the most popular pool game variations, 8-ball and 9-ball pool game, have distinct characteristics that can affect how long your pool table lasts. Due to its strategic nature, the 8-ball pool play generally involves more controlled shots and less forceful impacts. This style of play is gentler on the pool table's components, causing less wear and tear on the cushions, felt, and pockets. As a result, an 8-ball pool is generally considered less taxing on the table and can contribute to a longer overall lifespan. Meanwhile, the faster and more aggressive nature of the 9-ball pool play can potentially have a greater impact on the pool table's components. Forceful pool shots and intense games can lead to increased wear on the felt, cushions, and pockets. The higher frequency of ball collisions and the necessity of power shots may contribute to a slightly shorter overall lifespan of the table compared to an 8-ball pool. Environmental Factors The environment in which a pool table is located can also have an impact on its life expectancy. If the table is placed in a humid, stuffy area, it may not last as long due to the warping or swelling of wood components and the felt material. It’s important to ensure that the table is kept in a temperature-controlled environment with adequate ventilation and airflow. Proper Handling and Latest Maintenance Regular care and maintenance are another factor to look into if you're looking to maximise the lifespan of your pool table. Playing on a neglected billiards table can cause damage, diminishing the longevity of its construction. So, keeping your pool table clean and free of dust or dirt should be a priority. Regular Cleaning To help ensure that your table lasts for as long as possible, it’s important to make sure that you clean the surface regularly, regardless of the frequency of the play. Start by using a soft cloth to wipe down the table and remove any dirt or dust. You can also use a soft-toothed brush suitable for pool to get into the corners and crevices where dust and dirt tend to accumulate. Changing your pool table felt must be done every two to five years, too. Pay attention to your pool table cushion and railings as well. The cushion and frames are prone to dust buildup. Levelling and Adjustments A pool table that is not level can cause balls to roll erratically, leading to uneven wear on the felt and cushions, and thus, affecting its lifespan in the long run. It can also lead to more frequent ball miscues or inaccurate shots within several games that miss the pocket entirely. To ensure that your billiards table is properly levelled, you should use a level to check the pool surface every few months and adjust as necessary. Proper Storage When talking about pool table life expectancy, it’s important to make sure that the table is kept in a dry, temperature-controlled environment where it won’t be exposed to excessive moisture or humidity. Maximising the Lifespan of Your Pool Table: The Best Tips Determined to maximise the lifespan of your pool table? We've got good news for you! Here are some basic tips you can follow: 1. Encourage Safe Gameplay Aside from proper pool table etiquette, safe playing of pool and billiards dictates the lifespan of your pool table after frequent use. Teach players to use cues responsibly, avoiding excessive force that can damage the felt or cushions. Next, discourage players from leaning on the table, as it can strain the frame and affect its stability. Finally, keep food and drinks away from the gaming tables to prevent spills and stains, regardless of how easy or hard they are to clean. 2. Assess the Location and Temperature Select a suitable location for your billiards table that minimises exposure to direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and high humidity. These environmental factors can lead to warping, cracking, and deterioration of the table's materials. Moreover, maintain a consistent environment for your pool table by avoiding sudden temperature changes and extremes. Use dehumidifiers if necessary to regulate humidity levels and prevent wood and slate from warping or cracking. 3. Invest in Protective Accessories for Your Pool Table Protective accessories can help to keep your billiards table in good condition for longer. Here are some of the common protective pool table equipment you can invest in: Pool Table Cover A pool table cover is one of the most essential protective accessories. It acts as a shield against dust, debris, and potential spills, which can accumulate on the playing cloth and surface and affect pool gameplay. Cue Racks Cue racks provide a designated place to store your cues when not in use. This helps prevent accidental damage to your pool cue and also keeps them from leaning against the table, which can cause scratches and dings. Your pool cues also get to stay in one place for easy access during the next time you play a round of pool with a cue rack. Having separate ball racks for your cue balls are also recommended to keep your gaming area as organized as it can be. Chalk Holders Chalk holders provide a designated space to store pool chalk, preventing pool chalk dust from accumulating on the table's felt. Remember, chalk dust can affect pool ball movement and gameplay accuracy and lead to staining and discoloration of the felt. Summing Up How long your pool tables last can vary greatly depending on several factors. These include the type of pool being played, environmental factors, proper maintenance, and diligent inspections and adjustments. By taking the time to properly care for your pool table, you can maximise the lifespan of your tables and ensure many years of enjoyment. Are you ready to add or complete a pool table collection to your home? Be sure to check out the pool table sizes and models you wish to own, including your budget and other preferences. Happy pool table hunting!

How Singaporeans Can Revive Their Vinyl/CD Collection

We remember the process of choosing which albums we wanted at the music store, bring our purchases back home before carefully opening up the packages and running our fingers over the edges before placing the disc into a player and just anticipating its magical sound. If you’re familiar with this feeling, I would assume that you have a vinyl or CD collection that has been gathering dust. Perhaps you’ve been pondering for some time on how to give it the appreciation it needs. Having a designated player could be the solution to your problems, but there aren’t a lot of options when it comes to how you’ll keep, track, and sort your collection in a way that makes listening easy.  Or at least, that’s what you might think. The solution to that? A modern jukebox! [caption id="attachment_10673" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] Rock-Ola’s CD Bubbler Jukebox in Crystal Edition pays tribute to the classic Bubbler form made famous during its heydays and is a treat for both the eyes and the ears.[/caption] Exactly why is this the case, you might ask? Through modern-day jukeboxes, we can now go back to a time when music was both a tactile and sensory experience, rather than just a digital one. In an age where we can now do almost anything on our smartphones, jukeboxes make listening to music a shared experience, whether you're at home, in a nightclub, at a bar, in an office, or at a cafe. Also, you can just see from the picture how they’re a piece of art! Jukeboxes are bold statement pieces that can be a great conversation starter while also contributing to keeping a wonderful piece of music history alive. They bring your social media-driven lives back down to earth, giving you something that neither Spotify nor Apple Music can provide. For us especially, what makes listening to CD or vinyl so special is that it forces us to slow down and appreciate music differently; you can't just simply skip through tracks or make playlists at random on your phone. (There’s also a certain sense of satisfaction in being able to have enough space to see our vinyl and CD collections grow over time. Take that, space!) [caption id="attachment_10677" align="aligncenter" width="1080"] Nostalgic for the click and spin of a vinyl-playing jukebox? Sound Leisure’s Vinyl Rocket Jukebox will remind you of the good old days as you jive to your favourite albums with just the press of a button.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10676" align="aligncenter" width="2560"] A glimpse within: Vinyl jukebox players make it so much easier to organise your vinyl collection systematically.[/caption] This is why investing in a jukebox makes both collecting and listening all the easier. It's so easy to curate the albums you want to listen to while storing them in a systematic manner, especially in apartments where you can also hoard so much - there’s a reason why everyone has tried to Marie Kondo their living space at some point in their lives. Plus, the modern-day jukebox can house both CDs and vinyl depending on your preference or collection! With more old-school record stores popping up in local scenes, the Singaporean interest in vinyl and CDs has never looked stronger. Now that vinyl and CDs are no longer a niche interest for collectors, we feel that it is high time the vinyl and CD community gives a shot to the tried-and-tested jukebox that is perfect for collectors and avid music listeners alike. If you’re looking for your very first jukebox, our recommendations are Rock-Ola’s Bubbler CD Jukebox, Sound Leisure’s Vinyl Rocket Jukebox, and if you’re looking for something that encompasses the best of both worlds, we’ve had great experiences with Rock-Ola’s Authentic Bubbler Vinyl 45 that is both vinyl and Bluetooth compatible! Test out some jukeboxes here today! Interested in reading more articles like this or finding out what we have in store for you? You can check out our blog or subscribe to our newsletters for all the latest updates on man cave inspiration, new product releases, and even exclusive launch events! 

Owning A Piece Of History: Why Are Jukeboxes So Hot In The Collector Market?

Transport yourself back into the 80s, a fistful of dimes in your pocket as you walk up to your local diner’s jukebox and search for that perfect song to get your groove on. While jukeboxes have been around for decades with some as old as our grandparents, there still remains an appeal for both classic and postmodern jukeboxes even up to this day. Beyond being able to provide audiophiles with a more immersive music listening experience, there are plenty of other reasons why jukeboxes still hold an appeal and appreciating value for all kinds of collectors. In fact, I would argue that the resale price for most jukeboxes can range up to two to three times its original market price depending on its condition, the era it was made in, and many other factors like design, playing mechanisms, and more.  With this, the TMC editorial team has decided to get down to business and work out what is it that still makes jukeboxes so appealing even in the modern age of technology.    Historical Significance Going back to the dawn and rise of jazz that eventually gave birth to the rock n’ roll that we know and love, it would be hard for many of us to disassociate this monumental movement in music from these notorious sound machines.  Starting out in juke joints before finding their place in every diner and bar they could find, jukebox music influenced a generation’s worth of music tastes by deviating away from standard radio tracks. With the ability for customers to choose what they wanted to listen to and bar/diner owners catering towards this demand, sales in record industries eventually began to overperform all other competitors. Jukeboxes were thriving, and this demand also gave way to bigger, better, and flashier models as times progressed.  [caption id="attachment_10538" align="aligncenter" width="612"] A representation of the American Dream during the rise of industrialisation.[/caption] Jukeboxes were also a physical representation of their time. With their bright, flashy colours, and chrome-coloured linings that mimicked automobiles, they practically transport you back to a time in history many of us have only been able to read about in textbooks. Designs did become more streamlined as we neared the early 90s, but jukeboxes had already become a distinct feature of the era, giving birth to the current design model of most postmodern jukeboxes that are now available. Online searches and pixelated images themselves do no justice towards the splendour of a jukebox in real life, and I would argue that despite the years of modernisation and rapid advancements in technology, jukeboxes still manage to create wonderful moments with music that are unreplicable by any other modern music machine.     Brand Representation Nowadays, many avid collectors will usually gravitate towards what are considered the ‘Golden’ brands: Wurlitzer, Rock-Ola, Seeburg, and AMi. Whether it’s due to their historical significance or their unique designs that remain unreplicated in our current era, it’s certainly hard to deny the significance these brands brought to jukebox history. Especially for collectors, out-of-production brands—Wurlitzer, Seeburg, and AMi—have an increased value on the market due to their scarcity and the difficulties you’d face to find either parts or someone with the expertise to make it work the same as the day it was produced. However, even the ‘newer’ Sound Leisure—which still has its own history as the first and only British jukebox crafters—has been steadily seeing a rise of demand and love from casual customers and collectors alike due to their controlled quality of keeping everything handcrafted amongst their small team and factory based in Reeds, England.  Even if you might dispute that brand loyalty or competition is hardly a thing in an industry where there are only two major jukebox manufacturers left, collectors like Ed Liss give us a glimpse into the impact that these brands had during both their heydays and even now. An item’s value is what the collector purchasing it deems it to be, rather than a market listing, so such personal items like jukeboxes are usually big-ticket items for most collectors and enthusiasts.  Close To The Heart: Ed Liss shares the effort and value behind restoring his purchase of the 1647 Wurlitzer 1015.   Recent Popularity Of Analogue In The Modern World In a world of modernisation and accessibility, people are now craving the nostalgic. Whether it’s analogue equipment, TV shows set in the 80s or 90s,  fountain pens over digital notes, and even vinyl records instead of MP3 files, there has been a rising interest in all things vintage or analogue over the last decade amongst both young and old.  But what does this mean, exactly? The rise in technology has certainly made things convenient, but increasing digitalisation has made us as human beings crave the tactile experience of analogue, a unique experience to each individual. Especially with a younger generation that has grown up surrounded by instant but monotonous accessibility of the internet, digitalisation cannot truly mimic the ways in which we experience analogue technology. It’s like an individualised experience that’s catered just for you, bespoke even if you might be in the same room listening to it with someone else.  While it can be argued that this nostalgia phenomenon is definitely not considered something new, it has still given people a newfound appreciation of jukeboxes and all things vinyl. This is especially true for vinyl and jukeboxes in general as they combine what is considered the best of both worlds to create what I label a ‘tactile music experience’—the best description I can give to the rich sound and personality that jukeboxes breathe into the music it plays to give it its own sort of life.  As such, many youngsters all around the world are now investing in jukeboxes for personal listening, even willing to go the extra mile to get them restored to bring us back to that era of nostalgia and simpler times. To me, this is the best indicator of why the price range for collectors in the jukebox market still remains as strong as ever. Demand VS Supply I would call this the most straightforward point of all in why jukeboxes are so favoured amongst collectors. Marketing and Economics 101 would tell you that when the demand for something is greater than its supply, prices will increase to reflect that. This is also true for retro jukeboxes, where production lines have been stopped for decades. If a collector is also looking for jukeboxes within a specific era, model, or design, this can make the demand even higher.  Furthermore, newer jukeboxes are usually made to order or only produced a limited number of models to ensure each jukebox retains its value. This is another reason why collectors will prize retro jukeboxes that have been maintained and are in working, playable condition, easily fetching a price that is worth a few ten thousand dollars! All in all, this is the tip of the iceberg of why jukeboxes still remain so highly sought after by collectors even now and there are plenty other reasons why jukeboxes are and will most probably remain valuable collector items in the future. While its price may be subjective to each individual, the significance and tenacity that jukeboxes have held throughout these decades will only make their value grow more in the years to come.   At The Men’s Cave, we review, curate, and strive to provide quality content and inspiration on the coolest games from all around the world. If you enjoyed this article, why not show your support by signing up for our newsletters (at the bottom of the article) and we will keep you updated on the latest insider articles from all around the world!

How Are Jukeboxes Made & Why Are They Still So Popular?

Music snob or not, let’s face it: there’s something about jukeboxes that inherently make music sound so much better, even with better and better advancements in sound technology over the decades.  So why is it so?  Throughout its heydays till now, jukeboxes have managed to keep their retro features both inside and out, with advancements in sound technology only making them sound better over time. According to Sound Leisure founder, Alan Black, there’s a reason why jukeboxes still retain that signature ‘bass and boom’ that is unable to be replicated by most conventional speakers. One of Black’s answers during an interview with CNN sheds some light on this question: "Often teenagers are taken by the sound of a jukebox when they hear it. It's a distinctive sound, unlike the very crisp one of modern hi-fi equipment. It's more bass-y (...) We could make a jukebox that sounds crisp, but that would be out of character. We put a lot of effort into keeping that bass and boom."—Alan Black, founder of Sound Leisure However, it’s definitely something that’s easier said and done. Which begs the question: how exactly does one incorporate new technology while retaining what was considered a feature ‘flaw’ of jukeboxes that eventually became its most well-loved attribute?   To start, we need to look at the inside and see how they’re made. Since we aren’t the jukebox crafters ourselves, our first step towards getting down to the answer is by looking toward the guidance of experts themselves. For this, we take a look at Sound Leisure’s own jukebox crafting process in their factory in Leeds. Besides the care and attention to detail that is given to each individual jukebox, the jukebox’s iconic design that most of us are familiar with also plays an integral role in providing you with that immersive, signature audiophile experience.  In this short video by the Science Channel, they take a look at the modern jukebox’s inner workings and how iconic brands like Sound Leisure and even Rock-Ola use classic methods and designs to retain and even enhance the jukebox’s signature traits when combined with modern technology to create today’s postmodern jukebox. However, research has shown that it isn’t always about retaining what’s old and beloved. Technology has also allowed jukebox crafters to further refine jukeboxes for the modern-day consumer. Besides retaining its basic form to keep its trademark acoustics, there are also many other components in the modern jukebox that have been polished to create a more encapsulating experience for modern listeners. A great example of this can be seen with the recent patent approval of Black’s LP changer mechanism, featured and introduced in the Long Player Vinyl Jukebox: You can spot the LP changer mechanism as the claw-like arms that ‘grab’ onto the edges of the vinyl record to place it onto the record player. This straightforward and simple design helps you pick out the vinyl record of your choosing and place it on the spin table to be played and enjoyed. However, it is also considered an important design feature for the classic jukebox because many jukeboxes back then were required to store at least 50 records at one time. This wide selection range was a popular feature compared to normal vinyl record players as the musical variety gave diners and juke joints customers plenty of different options to choose from while simultaneously promoting up and coming artists during the era. Instead of having to listen to whatever was playing on the radio, people were now being given the power to choose what they wanted to hear. This was essentially the era of jukebox music!  As many vinyl records back in the 80s and 90s only contained very few tracks, most changer mechanisms were streamlined. However, as vinyl records began undergoing their own changes to create better vinyl records from more inexpensive material, this also changed the capacity and size of vinyl records themselves. To date, there are at least eight major types of vinyl records, each with its own size and specifications that make standardising both personal and jukebox vinyl players difficult.   But before I digress... All these details only touch the surface of what makes a jukebox so unique compared to any regular music player., In fact, jukeboxes are intricate machines that require skills and expertise to make. Did you know that both classic and postmodern jukeboxes are made up of at least 700 to 800 individual components, sometimes even more? Its complexity is why most jukebox crafters prefer to streamline the process in-house and do it by hand. All this, coupled with rigid quality inspections and vigorous testing prior to shipment, is why today’s jukeboxes can be considered a work of art right beside their classic counterpart.    At The Men’s Cave, we review, curate, and strive to provide quality content and inspiration on the coolest games from all around the world. If you enjoyed this article, why not show your support by signing up for our newsletters (at the bottom of the article) and we will keep you updated on the latest insider articles from all around the world!

Greatest Arcade Games For The 80s Babies

Any arcade enthusiast born in the 80s would tell you that it was a strange time to be born in. It was when the golden age of arcades started slipping into the sunset, where consoles first began the gaming revolution which would dominate the gaming landscape for the following decade or so. Having said that, any 80s baby would have had a childhood with arcade tokens in hand, exploring through the plethora of arcade cabinets filled with a great sense of dilemma as to which cabinet deserved slotting our precious and limited possessions into. This gave me a great sense of nostalgia, which is why we decided to go back in time and write our pick of the 10 Greatest Games for the 80s babies (late 80s - 90s).   10. NBA Jam Date Released: 1993 Genre: Sports Quite possibly the greatest sports arcade game ever, NBA Jam is sn iconic as it is crazily unrealistic—but hey, where's the fun if you're not having Scottie Pippen pot a 3-pointer from the other end of the court, right? Not forgetting the overly excited commentary, flashing scores digits and 20-foot jumps and dunks.   9. Michael Jackson Moonwalker Date Released: 1990 Genre: Beat 'em Up Not easily found in local arcades but it makes it into our list for the wonderful depiction of pop culture back then. Play as an impeccably-dressed Michael Jackson, beat up bad guys by moonwalking, and save kidnapped children all while bobbing your head to the tunes of 'Smooth Criminal', 'Thriller', and 'Beat it'. 8. X-Men vs Street Fighters Date Released: 1997 Genre: Fighting Newer than the rest on the list, X-Men vs Street Fighters can be best remembered as being one of the greatest fighting crossovers of all time. It wasn't just playing as Ryu or Wolverine, but you could actually play both characters from two universes in the same team, all while performing elaborate combos on your hapless opponents. Avengers, who?   7. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Date Released: 1989 Genre: Beat 'em Up Based on every guy's favourite childhood cartoon, TMNT allows you to choose from 4 playable turtles to go on a crusade and save kidnapped April O'Neil from the evil Shredder. Of course, you're saving the world while eating pizzas and bashing up homogeneous footman with cones, fire hydrants, and oil drums.   6. WWF Wrestlefest Date Released: 1991 Genre: Fighting Now, take a look at the screenshot and tell me you don't remember mashing your buttons crazily to get out of the 3, 2, 1 pins! This game was simply huge with a massive roster of incredibly iconic characters—Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Mr Perfect, Big Boss Man. As a WWF watching 7-year old, this was the simplest form of a dream come true. It truly is the greatest WWF game of all time. 4. KOF 98 Date Released: 1998 Genre: Fighting Another latecomer of the era. KOF (King of Fighter) 98 is easily the best and most iconic version of the KOF series. It was never a surprise to see multiple KOF machines lining up in the arcades, all fully occupied with players exhibiting their combos. Even now, KOF 98 represents the benchmark of what a fighting game should be like.   3. Golden Axe Date Released: 1989 Genre: Beat 'em Up Easily the most asked-for game by our patrons, Golden Axe is the pioneer of the fantasy genre that would go on to inspire some of the greatest titles in history. As a Beat 'em Up, Golden Axe features unique characteristics like spells, making it vastly different from the regular hack-and-slash that you'd encounter aplenty during that gaming period.   2. Metal Slug Date Released: 1996 Genre: Beat 'em Up You know, I love Contra. In fact, I grew up playing Contra. But Metal Slug just blows it out of the water, simple as that. From the very first instalment, the attention to details of this epic war Beat em Up was just incredible. You have tonnes of different weapons to choose from, grenades to throw, POWs to save and tanks to ride in. What more can we say? And now to the Number 1...   1. Street Fighter II: The World Warrior Date Released: 1991 Genre: Fighting One of the greatest—if not the greatest—of all time. How many times during your childhood have you tried performing Ryu's Hurricane Kick/ Shoryuken on your hapless siblings? I rest my case. Despite having simpler gameplay as compared to later titles, SFII still remained timeless when the editors replayed it on one of our own cabinets. The fighting dynamics are so perfectly designed to combine both skill and strategic timing, while every character remains uniquely balanced and playable. But it's not just the fighting that makes SFII the best. It is how the sound of the plane zooming across the map from the moment you've inserted your coin, to having Ryu's iconic theme song blast through the cabinet. The goosebumps rise on your skin, adrenaline and blood pumping through as you actually believe for a moment that you're indeed on a quest to becoming the World Warrior. Simply put, there's no greater arcade game for this generation than Street Fighter II. That rounds up our list of the 10 Greatest Arcade Games for the 80s babies, and if like us, you're itching to play some of these games all over again, check out our range of Retrocade Series in person, and have a go at these games again on a full-sized cabinet with authentic arcade controls! You can also take a look at our updated favourites here as well.

Top 10 Arcade Games That Will Bring You Back To The ’80s

Before today's digital role-playing games that endorse graphic violence, we enjoyed amusement arcade games, a notable success in the 1970s and 1980s popular culture. These games are the pioneers in the gaming industry we now know today. We appreciated their simplicity in the midst of a hustling global economy. Yet, the novelty of arcade games began to wear off in the late 1980s, as a result of technological advancement that shifted production and consumer demand to video game consoles. Nonetheless, the nostalgia attached to these arcade games is hard to erase -- especially if they were the peak of your childhood. Thankfully, these arcade games are still very much alive today, particularly in our showroom! So, be it purchasing an arcade machine for yourself, renting one for an event, or simply just dropping by our showroom to have a go at it, do visit our site for more information. Here are our personal favourites, and let us know if you agree!   10. Gauntlet Released in 1985 by Atari, designed by Ed Logg [embed][/embed] A fantasy-themed hack and slash arcade game, it brought the dungeon-crawling action of pen and paper role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons to the arcade environment. A party of 1 to 4 players fight their way through endless dungeons, both cooperating to kill enemies and competing to collect gold and upgrades. You can choose among 4 characters (Thor the Warrior, Thyra the Valkyrie, Merlin the Wizard or Questor the Elf) with varying powers. Interestingly, the game employed the voice of an unseen narrator who alternately helps the players by giving tips or mocks them when they destroy food, are nearing death, or begin a difficult level. Cabinets sold: 7,848   9. Galaga Released in 1981 by Namco [embed][/embed] You were a warrior and now you're in control of a spaceship. This game requires you to destroy insect-like enemy aliens while avoiding them and their bullets or you'll lose a life. Reach a score of 20,000 and then 70,000 and you'll be awarded an extra life respectively. But beware! A "Boss Galaga" will attempt to capture your ship using a tractor beam (as shown in 2:30 of the video). If captured, the ship joins the alien and you must free it. You have a few pathways now: 1. If you're successful, you are able to control two ships simultaneously. 2. If you shoot the ship instead, it is destroyed and does not return. The game ends when your last ship is destroyed or captured.   8. Pole Position Released in 1982 by Namco/Atari, designed by Toru Iwatani [embed][/embed] A straightforward racing game, Pole Position will test your skills in avoiding enemy cars and road signs. You can control the speed of your car with the gas pedal and brake. The race is completed when your car drives under a large Pole Position sign to the finish line. Cabinets sold: 24,550 Revenue by 1988: $60.9m   7. Pac-Man Released in 1980 by Namco, designed by Toru Iwatani and programmed by Shigeo Funaki Now, this is a game that people of all generations should know. What many might not know though, is that each ghost (enemy) is designed with its own distinct personality in the original game. The red guy, Blinky, is known as the chaser. The pink guy whose name you might not have guessed, Pinky, is the ambusher where they will aim for a position in front of Pac-Man's mouth. On the other hand, the blue guy, Inky, is programmed to be fickle-minded and they head towards Pac-Man on some occasions and on others, away. Finally, the orange guy, Clyde, feigns ignorance and behaves randomly. Though Pac-Man was designed to have no ending, as always, all good things must come to an end -- a bug corrupts the entire right half of the maze at level 256. This makes it the de facto ultimate level, or "the split-screen". Nonetheless, you can achieve a perfect score of 3,333,360 by eating every edible item and ghost on the first 255 levels and using all extra lives to score as many points as possible on level 256. Cabinets sold: 400,000 Revenue by 1985: $3.5bn   6. Asteroids Released in 1979 by Atari, designed by Lyle Rains, Ed Logg and Dominic Walsh [embed][/embed] In this space-themed game, your objective is to destroy asteroids and saucers using a triangular ship. Though the rules are simple, the difficulty lies in the lack of break time. Real-world physics were introduced in video games for the first time in history as Logg programmed this vector game and made it such that the graphics are composed of lines drawn on a vector (XY) monitor. Cabinets sold: 100,000 Revenue by 1991: $800m   5. Defender Released in 1981 by Williams Electronics, developed by Eugene Jarvis, Larry DeMar, Sam Dicker and Paul Dussault This game is one of the enduring icons of the Golden Age of Arcades in the 1980s and features an intimidating number of buttons. The joystick controls the ship's elevation while the five buttons control its horizontal direction and weapons. Defender's groundbreaking design paved the way for a whole era of horizontal shooting games and made a significant contribution to the video game industry. As Jarvis' first video game project, it drew inspiration from our other top-listers, Space Invaders and Asteroids. Cabinets sold: 60,000 Revenue by 1993: $1bn   4. Tetris Released in 1984, designed and programmed by Alexey Pajitnov The first version of Tetris run on an emulator of the Electronika 60 A game featuring tetrominoes popularised not by arcades or home computer platforms but by the Game Boy, Tetris was established as the Greatest Game of All Time in Electronic Gaming Monthly's 100th issue. Historically, various companies fought for rights to this game such as Atari and Nintendo and eventually, The Tetris Company was founded in 1996 in the US. We have good news for those who still play this game -- psychologically, results from social experiments suggest that playing Tetris enhances cognitive abilities, reduces the effects of trauma, kicks addiction and treats amblyopia. A phenomenon familiar with gamers where they devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images and dreams is also named after this very game, the Tetris effect.   3. Space Invaders Released in 1978 by Taito, designed by Tomohiro Nishikado [embed][/embed] The oldest game on our list, Space Invaders is widely considered to be the game that revolutionalised the video game industry. Its success led to the expansion of the industry from a novelty into a global industry. The video is self-explanatory -- you control a laser cannon by moving it horizontally and firing at descending aliens. Defeat all aliens and you will move on to the next level. Let the aliens reach the bottom or have your cannons destroyed and you lose. Cabinets sold: 360,000 Revenue by 1982: $2.7bn   2. Donkey Kong Released in 1981 by Nintendo, created by Shigeru Miyamoto This game primarily features the widely popular character all should know, Mario who was once known as Jumpman (Mario still jumps though), a damsel-in-distress Lady/Pauline, and the gigantic pet gorilla Donkey Kong. Donkey Kong will surely test your virtual agility and in actuality, your dexterity, as you navigate your character past barrels. Cabinets sold: 132,000 Revenue by 1982: $280m   1. Street Fighter II Released in 1991 by Capcom [embed][/embed] And now we have come to the number 1 in our list, Street Fighter II. Despite the decline in the late 1980s, arcades experienced a major resurgence thanks to the release of this fighting game in 1991. Street Fighter II took the original elements a quantum leap forward and set a benchmark for the fighting genre. The gameplay features an 8-directional joystick and 6 attack buttons which allow you to perform special moves by inputting a combination of directional and button-based commands. By 1994, Street Fighter II had already been played by over 25 million people in America and all versions are estimated to have exceeded $10bn in gross revenue, making it one of the highest-grossing video games and biggest successes of arcade games of all time. Cabinets sold: 200,000 Revenue by 1995: $2.31bn   Miss playing these games? You can get a multi-game retro arcade machine for your office or your house! This space guide will also give you the area needed for your very own arcade machine.

How To Build A Man Cave in 2019: 6 Essentials

How perfect would it be if we had a quiet retreat where we can plunk down on the sofa, chill out with a drink and unwind? After a long day at work, a man cave is all we need. Be it taking a break from household and work duties or having a friends' night, a man cave is the perfect getaway for us, men and women alike. "While people see homes as a shelter, we see man caves. We envision homes to be a place where great fun, experience and camaraderie are forged. It’s why we do what we do. Every day.” ⁣⁣—Gabriel O, founder of The Men's Cave Unlike traditional norms where man caves were made just for men, we hope today's man caves (despite its name) can be a family space where people of all ages can just have fun. From your toddlers to students, from adults to grandparents -- a house need not be a dreary place for us all. First question: But my house is too small to build a man cave, what should I do? If you don't have a spare room, here's the next best option -- have your living room filled with fun. The big question: So how do I build a man cave? It honestly depends on your passions. You may be a HUGE Liverpool fan -- sure, display your merchandise in your man cave! Or you may be a fine arts enthusiast -- go ahead and hang your favourite artworks on the wall. Or check out this page for some quirky ideas for your man cave. Regardless of what it is, your man cave is uniquely yours (or your family's). However, there are definitely some essentials that your man cave should not miss out on:   1. Big Sofa Simple but essential -- a spacious and comfortable sofa. The foremost of any man cave, this will make you feel right at home. There are so many purposes for a large sofa as well, for instance: watching a movie, chilling out with friends, or maybe sleeping alone after arguing with your spouse. No matter what it is, whether your house or man cave needs a sofa shouldn't even be a question -- it just does.   2. Drinks Bar Drinks bar in The Men's Cave's showroom Everyone needs a bit of alcohol, and there's no better way to have guests over at your house than a good drink. All you need are a fridge, neon man cave bar signs and Jack Daniels stools and table. For a more comprehensive list of items you should include in your bar, check out this list.   3. Games Of course, what is a man cave without games? For all gamers out there, nothing is quite equivalent to the joy of gaming and destressing. And the best part? You can game in the comfort of your own home, without needing to travel to a game room, paying hourly fees and being bothered by the crowd. For recommendations, check out our Top 5 Must-Haves For Your Man Cave article. A new 2018 release, Atari Pong Coffee Table, and our Retrocade Verso Coffee Table are great picks for a multipurpose space-saving arcade machine. Of course, don't forget the quintessential poker table. Here's an article on how you can build your game room.   4. Jukebox/Vinyl Player Games, check. Drinks, check. Now what you need is just some music. Travel back to the 1950s with Sound Leisure's jukeboxes handcrafted in England. These jukeboxes boast hundreds of songs with 21st century sound. Some of these even allow Bluetooth streaming, so you can show off your massive new speaker to your guests!   Another retro music player would be the classic record/vinyl player. There is nothing quite like the emotional connection attached to the vinyl ritual -- pulling the record out of its sleeve and setting it on the player. However though, if you prefer making your own music, read below!   5. Music Instruments Badam tsk...! For fellow musicians like myself, almost nothing's better than having your own music space where you could jam your favourite tunes with your fellow band members. (Except for, of course, performing itself) If your house is large enough, you could even have your own audience. With live music and a drinks bar, your secret room in your house can easily become a speakeasy.   6. Large Screen TV Last but not least: we could never forget a large screen HD TV! A lovely giant screen is the reason why people go to the cinema. Thanks to modern technology though, you can bring this very screen home, where you can chill out to your hearts' content. Be it streaming your favourite Netflix shows or watching the newest blockbusters, it'll be a perfect movie night for you and your friends/family.   At last, that concludes our article on what you should include in your man cave! From a sofa, drinks bar, games, vinyl, to a large screen TV, what is your top essential? If you have any other ideas, do drop a comment below or share our post!

Space-Saving in BTOs: Transform Furniture Into Entertainment Within Seconds!

Thinking of spicing up your home with some games but not sure how to? Whether you're a newlywed or the youngest in your family, you may be thinking of buying a pool table, foosball table, dartboard or an arcade machine, yet they don't seem to be able to fit into your tiny house in Singapore. If so, you've stumbled onto the right article, because this list will provide you with the best space-saving machines for your inner gamer soul.   1. Montfort Capelan Pool Dining Table Montfort Capelan Pool Dining Table in our showroom Want to play a round of pool but prefer the comfort of your own home? The Montfort Capelan Pool Dining Table, like its name suggests, is a convertible dining and pool table. This French pool table is a refined table that will fit in any gaming space. More importantly, it comes with a 2 piece dining top that can function not only as a dining top, but even as a study desk. For advanced players, this table is definitely for you -- made of solid wood (beech or massive oak), its slate bed guarantees a high-quality playing surface. If you're just a beginner though, this video should come in handy. With your own personal pool table that's not space constraining at all, you never have to worry again about wasting money and time travelling to a snooker hall. Nor do you need to be mindful of your alcohol intake. After all, the best place to play pool will be right under your nose (literally).   2. VDarts Mini Plus VDarts Mini Plus A wall-mounted commercial-grade dartboard, this VDarts Mini Plus will be a great and convenient addition to your house. Its laser line technology eliminates the need for a dart mat. All you need to do is mount this on a wall along any corridor (in your HDB of course) or in the living room, and you're ready to go! This dartboard is also equipped with a sound-absorbing cushion. What this means is you won't need to fret about disturbing your neighbours with your dart throws.   3. Retrocade Super Mini [caption id="attachment_7881" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Retrocade Super Mini in our showroom[/caption] Are you a great fan of arcade games? If so, nothing's better than turning your home into an arcade. Retrocade Super Mini is the ultimate compact arcade machine that can easily fit on your desk or bar table. Don't be fooled by its size—despite being a quarter the size of a conventional arcade machine, you can enjoy over 600 classic games in HD, including these top 10 arcade games that will be sure to bring you back to the '80s. With a machine like this, your house or your room can be your very own arcade.   4. Pacman Beer Pong Table   If you love PacMan and alcohol, you're in luck, because this table is perfect for you. This PacMan Beer Pong Table is beerproof, and its foldability definitely makes playing beer pong much more convenient -- you'll be able to play anytime and anywhere. Things mightttt get a little messy though, so be ready for some cleaning up afterwards!   5. Atari Pong Coffee Table Atari Pong Coffee Table in a home The "best new electronic table game to hit the market since Air Hockey", Atari Pong Coffee Table is a great addition to your home. The official release was just in 2018, so you can expect modern high-tech engineering. Predominantly, you'll be able to play the classic Pong game using custom mechanical components. Want to take a break after your game? No problem, just close the side covers and you can enjoy some beer or coffee on this neat retro table. This table is also spill-proof and sealed, so you don't need to get too mad at your guests! There are so many great features to this table that makes it much more than just an arcade table or coffee table:1. You can liven up your game by playing your favourite soundtrack with the built-in Bluetooth speaker.2. You'll never lose track of time with its LED clock display.3. Ever faced the problem where your power socket is too far from your table? Rest assured as this table comes with 6 USB ports for you and your friends.   6. Retrocade Verso Coffee Table [caption id="attachment_7888" align="aligncenter" width="593"] Retrocade Verso Coffee Table ver. I in our showroom[/caption] Want something unique for your HDB? Look no further, as we've come to the last item on our list -- Retrocade Verso Coffee Table. Exclusive to The Men's Cave, this one-of-a-kind table functions as both an arcade machine and a coffee table. It doesn't lack the traditional characteristics of the 19'' industrial monitor nor the configuration buttons. Further yet, you can chill on your couch while playing the 600 classic games available instead of standing. Its homely design allows you to easily place it between your couch and TV -- you may even squeeze in a few games during commercial breaks! Gaming with your spouse has never been more romantic, or nostalgic.   See anything you like? Check out our website for more details or contact us for a quotation! Or if you're interested in reading more of our reviews, you can check out our blog here!

Jukebox History: A Walk Through Time

Did you know that the jukeboxes can be traced back to Thomas Edison, the inventor of cameras and light bulbs? How about the fact that people had to listen to jukebox music using one of the four sharing tubes? These are just some interesting facts about the history of jukeboxes. If you're keen to find out more about the jukebox history, do scroll down for an adventure through time, space and music! [caption id="attachment_8150" align="aligncenter" width="813"] Thomas Edison's Invention of the Phonograph[/caption] Edison's Phonograph 1877 - Firstly, let's talk about the phonograph. Thomas Edison's early phonograph recorded onto a thin sheet of cylindrical metal. While the cylinder was rotated and slowly progressed along its axis, the airborne sound vibrated a diaphragm connected to a stylus that indented the foil into the cylinder's groove. It thus records the vibrations as "hill-and-dale" variations of the depth of the indentation. [caption id="attachment_8157" align="aligncenter" width="906"] An Edison Standard Cylinder Phonograph[/caption] You might be thinking: cylinder? But what about CD or vinyl? Of course, it would be much more convenient to use a flat recording surface instead of a cylindrical one. Charles Cros proposed that in 1877 but never implemented it.   Vinyl Phonograph (Gramophone) [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Vinyl Phonograph (Gramophone)[/caption] 1887 - Emile Berliner patented a variant of the phonograph, named the gramophone. Having an approach similar to Cros', the diaphragm linked to the recording stylus vibrates side to side. It traces a spiral onto a zinc disc very thinly coated with beeswax. But how do you make sure that the indentions stay? Well, the zinc disc was then immersed in a bath of chromic acid, which etched a groove into the disc where the stylus had removed the coating. After which, the recording could be played. The vinyl (or phonograph record) co-existed with the phonograph cylinder from the late 1880s.   Coin Operated Phonograph (Nickel-In-The-Slot Phonograph) [caption id="attachment_8158" align="aligncenter" width="995"] Drawing of the Coin-Op Edison Phonograph[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8159" align="aligncenter" width="995"] 'Regina Hexaphone' Coin-Op Phonograph[/caption] 1889 - Louis Glass and William Arnold invented a nickel-in-the-slot (coin-operated) phonograph with four ‘listening’ tubes. How exactly does it work? Well, slot the nickel into the machine. The phonograph then allowed the listener to turn a crank that simultaneously wound the spring motor and placed the reproducer's stylus in the starting groove. However, at that time, a machine only played one song, and you would need to listen to the recording through tubes. Talk about hygiene.   Phonograph Parlors [caption id="attachment_8151" align="aligncenter" width="995"] A Phonograph Parlor[/caption] 1889 - In May 1889, the first 'phonograph parlor' opened. It featured a row of coin-operated machines, each supplied with a different wax cylinder record. You should be wondering by now: Did musicians have to self-record every single cylinder? Yes, you're right -- each record had to be custom-made. 1890 - By 1890, thankfully, record manufacturers had begun using a rudimentary duplication process to mass-produce their product. An advanced pantograph-based process made it possible to simultaneously produce 90-150 copies of each record. Yet, popular artists still needed to re-record their songs as demand for certain records grew. For instance, George Washington Johnson had to perform his 'The Laughing Song' thousands of times in a studio during his recording career. Mid-1890s - By then, most American cities had at least one phonograph parlor. The phenomenon of phonograph parlors peaked in Paris around 1900: in Pathé's luxurious salon, patrons sat in plush upholstered chairs and chose from among many hundreds of available cylinders by using speaking tubes to communicate with attendants on the floor below. Sounds like a legitimate parlor, doesn't it? 1912 - The phonograph disc record had effectively superseded the phonograph cylinder.   Multi-Select Phonograph & Amplified Phonograph 1927 - Without amplification, it was impossible for a large group of listeners to enjoy the music. Automated Musical Instrument Company (AMI) developed an amplifier, surging the popularity of jukeboxes. It reduced the need to listen through tubes, the main form of listening to music in jukebox history. It was especially popular in the illegal speakeasies of the Prohibition Era because it provided a cheap form of entertainment. AMI sold 50,000 of its amplified machines in one year, bringing to life the age of the jukebox.   Multi-select Jukebox (Audiophone) [caption id="attachment_8165" align="aligncenter" width="995"] Seeburg Audiophone[/caption] 1928 - Justus P. Seeburg, who was manufacturing player pianos, was one of the first manufacturers of a multi-select jukebox. Termed audiophone, this machine was bulky as it had 8 separate turntables mounted on a rotating Ferris-like device. It allowed patrons to select from eight different records.   The Depression 1930s - Record sales plummeted from $75 million in 1929 to $5 million in 1933 as people lost the ability to spend on entertainment. 1938 - The growing popularity of the jukebox and the purchases by store owners that went along with it resurrected the waning music business. That year, the industry had resurfaced at $25 million in sales.   The First 'Jukebox' in History Though we're talking about the history of jukebox here, the word 'jukebox' only came into use in the US beginning in 1940. Jukeboxes were most popular from the 1940s through the mid-1960s, particularly during the 1950s. By the middle of the 1940s, three-quarters of the records produced in America went into jukeboxes. 1940 - That year, there were already 400,000 jukeboxes in use in the US. These jukeboxes primarily played jazz swing (from the 1930s) and early rock and roll music (from the mid-1940s) but also offered classical music and opera choices. WW2 - The production of jukeboxes was halted in the USA in order to pour resources and labour into the war effort. Afterwards, the jukebox industry came back in full swing.   Classic Jukebox (Wurlitzer 1015) [caption id="attachment_8164" align="aligncenter" width="683"] Wurlitzer 1015 Jukebox[/caption] 1940s - Three names remain synonymous with the jukebox history and industry: Seeburg, Rock-Ola and Wurlitzer. Though each company began creating jukeboxes, jukebox design came into its own with the help of a few great designers employed by the companies. 1946 - Wurlitzer 1015 was introduced and became the biggest selling jukebox in history. Along with other spectacular models, it was designed by Paul Fuller and it pushed Wurlitzer to the top of the industry. Wurlitzer models were works of art, featuring rotating lights and art deco styled cabinets. Considered an iconic style, it had tubes of flowing bubbles that moved along the machine's arched top. In Wurlitzer 1015's original run, it sold a total of 56, 246 boxes.   Multi-select Jukebox (Select-O-Matic 100) [caption id="attachment_8162" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Seeburg Select-O-Matic Jukebox, which handles up to 50 records[/caption] In the early days of the jukebox, the 78rpm record was standard and until 1949, only 10 to 24 selections could be played on one machine. 1949 - Seeburg changed the face of jukebox history when it engineered a mechanism that could play both sides of 50 records, a true 100-select jukebox. This mechanism was so reliable that it nearly put all other manufacturers out of business. 1950s - In 1950, Seeburg introduced the first commercial jukebox designed to play the then-new 45 rpm records. They increased the number of records from 50 to 100, eventually settling on 50 or 80 per machine. [caption id="attachment_8166" align="aligncenter" width="995"] Vintage 78rpm Records[/caption] What are 78rpm and 45rpm records though? RPM refers to revolutions per minute. Thus, the speed of 78rpm records was much faster than that of 45rpm. The major advantage that 45rpm records brought to the table was certainly one of size. They were physically smaller than 78s, which meant that the records themselves could be produced less expensively. In terms of audio quality, the two were about the same, so that size quickly became a large part of the reason why 45s quickly surpassed 78s in terms of mass audience appeal.   The Decline of the Jukebox in History Traditional jukeboxes once were an important source of income for record publishers. Jukeboxes were always the first to receive the newest recordings. With advances in technology though, the portable radio (1950s) and the portable cassette tape deck (1960s) were key factors in the decline of the jukebox. 1970s - Jukeboxes became a dying industry, as people sought more convenient alternatives to listen to music. Many companies exited the market at that time, even the ones that contributed greatly to the jukebox history. 1980s - The jukebox industry was revived somewhat by compact disc jukeboxes and digital jukeboxes using the MP3 format. While jukeboxes maintain popularity in bars, they have fallen out of favour with what were once their more lucrative locations -- restaurants, diners, military barracks, video arcades, and laundromats. A growing antique market promoted refurbished classic models. However, these collectibles that were once sold for $750 are now approximately $12,000.   Present Day Jukeboxes [caption id="attachment_8155" align="aligncenter" width="995"] Sound Leisure Vinyl SL45 Jukebox that pays homage to the traditional Wurlitzer 1015 Jukebox. Each jukebox is specially handcrafted for the buyers.[/caption] Now - Only two companies manufacture classically styled retro jukeboxes:Rock-Ola: based in CaliforniaSound Leisure: based in Leeds in the UK [caption id="attachment_8153" align="aligncenter" width="995"] Sound Leisure Vinyl Rocket Jukebox introduced in 2016[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8170" align="aligncenter" width="995"] Mechanics of the Vinyl Rocket Jukebox[/caption] Both companies manufacture jukeboxes based on a CD playing mechanism, but Sound Leisure recently introduced the traditional vinyl jukebox back into the market. It truly pays a tribute to the rich jukebox history.   Interested in owning a jukebox machine in your house? Do check out our range of jukebox machines and our blog for more articles!

Are Arcade Machines Still Popular in 2023?

The Arcade Era, is the Magic Really Over? You pass the doorway and it’s like you’ve stepped into a different world from the one you’re used to, people hunched over mechanical machines in dimly-lit corners as they insert tokens into its slot to be greeted by 2-bit animated sprites and retro soundtracks that remind you of a simpler time.  For many of us of this generation, arcades are a limbo of both old and new, a combination of analogue love and technology that has given birth to such a classic and iconic gaming medium. It is a concept so deeply enmeshed into pop culture that even if we aren’t familiar with it in real life, we still find it so recognisable through the media’s romanticisation of nostalgia. However, in essence, what are they really? Are arcades merely a confined space in which we play classic titles in ‘dimly-lit corners’, or are they representational of gaming as a whole? Can we truly say that analogue games like pinball and the original Street Fighter are rapidly becoming obsolete when they are so many remakes of these games in different mediums? What does the future have in store for this beloved childhood space?  I’m here to dig deep down into finding out the answers to some of these questions.    Cultivating Childhood Love While it’s been argued countless times that video games’ popularity is what triggered arcades sharp decline in the 90s, it is video games that have enabled arcade games to reach the broader masses. For example, classic games like Donkey Kong and Atari’s Pong are those that are still considered family favourites and labelled as endlessly replayable. It’s no wonder that reboots and remakes are now an ongoing trend with pop culture: if it’s not broken then don’t fix it, right?   It cannot be argued that even back in its heydays, reinterpretation amongst games has always been a norm, paying homage to our childhood memories and creating something new that can be enjoyed by future generations to come. Therefore, video games have actually helped sustain this culture of nostalgia that shines a new light back on arcade games and their timelessness.   Technology & Video Games: The Arcade’s Make Or Break? Modernisation is a tricky thing to talk about regarding this topic. This is because it’s a double-edged sword for both arcades and the gaming industry, allowing us to create better machines and consoles by the year while simultaneously challenging the creative minds behind some of our favourite titles to keep coming up with more original stories with each iteration. There’s constant pressure behind the success of each title game and its predecessors, which means that so many ongoing series face the dilemma of falling flat on gamers’ expectations in aspects of story-telling rather than gameplay. While remakes and reboots are certainly popular, they only do so much to bring old players back into replaying what is already familiar and dear to them.  However, this doesn’t mean that technology has only been responsible for ushering in the death of arcades and analogue games. In fact, the rise of VR has provided new opportunities, incorporating a mechanical feel with VR immersion to create a whole new experience for old and new players alike. Rolling out this technology on a large scale is still unrealistic currently due to its high costs but with future developments down the line, there is certainly plenty of potential to bring back interests or even allow players to be able to experience the arcade scene in the comforts of their own home.    Social Opportunities: Breaking Stereotypes Arcades also provide a great form of socialising with family and friends, especially for those who cannot invest in their own consoles and PCs. Furthermore, arcade machines are bulky and generally a hefty investment, which just makes it easier to visit an arcade to try out arcade-exclusive titles and experience the game as it was originally intended to be played.  In fact, arcade joints are being seen as more than gaming hubs now; they’re about socialising and building a community. For example, many shop owners have embraced the ‘barcade’ concept to cater towards a continuously ageing crowd—merging food and boozy beverages to accompany your arcade gaming experience. This semi-casual environment has actually been a great way for allowing professional and casual players (kids and adults alike) to intermingle.  Barcades have also given leeway to arcade owners to venture into their own creative endeavours to entice customers, which includes the novelty idea of craft beer and game pairings—bars will provide you with a specific craft beer that is catered to the taste of your favourite arcade game to enhance the experience. It’s certainly a great way to encourage customers to try new things while keeping the experience fresh whether you’re there for the drinks, the games, or both.  Of course, there will always be events hosted for the more competitive crowd as people will always want to become better at the game without a doubt. However, arcades have also become a place for family fun and just a good place to hang out for most crowds on a Friday or weekend night.    One Man’s Trash, Another Man’s Treasure: Asian Popularity [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="4778"] While Japan has been responsible for the popularity of console gaming over the years, it is undeniable that the arcade scene still plays a big part within their culture.[/caption] Although arcades and arcade games were made popular in America, this medium actually continues to thrive in the Asian market despite the decline of its Western counterpart. Birthing a long-standing line of fighting genre titles like Tekken, Street Fighters, King of Fighters, Guilty Gear, and more, the arcade scene in Japan has never been healthier. In fact, one might even be able to catch a glimpse of some household classics and best-selling arcade games of all time hit the stands. I would even go to say that Maimai, the popular Japanese rhythm arcade game that released in 2012, has garnered a surprising amount of interest amongst Asian teens and young adults even to this day. Just shy of the beginning of 2020 when the COVID situation was still riffed with speculation, the lines queuing up for your own turn to play on the Maimai machines was nothing short of ridiculous. Growing Affluence Meets An Increased Appreciation for Lifestyle. Arcade machines are making a surprising comeback as individuals seek to furnish their homes with nostalgic gaming experiences. This resurgence can be attributed to a combination of growing affluence and a deep appreciation for a fulfilling lifestyle. Bringing arcade machines into homes goes beyond mere decoration; it is a deliberate choice to curate a space that reflects personality and embraces the joy of play. These captivating machines not only transport us back to a time of bustling arcades but also serve as statement pieces that enhance the overall ambiance. In a world dominated by screens, arcade machines offer a tactile and interactive source of entertainment, fostering connection and shared memories. The rising popularity of arcade machines in homes signifies a longing for genuine connection, shared experiences, and the pursuit of joy. By investing in these captivating machines, individuals are transforming their living spaces into havens of entertainment, personal expression, and nostalgia. Arcade machines are more than just nostalgic relics; they have found their place as timeless icons of play, reminding us to cherish the thrill of shared experiences and the joy of face-to-face interaction. Conclusion It is not difficult to see why Arcade Machines are winning the popularity contest —the revival of vinyl, the growing eSports scene, Asia’s expanding arcade market—I believe the most important thing about arcade games (or just games in general) is that it has enabled us to break social boundaries despite its limitation and should not be overlooked even with its stereotypes. As long as the gaming industry as a whole continues to thrive, I am certain that arcade games will still be around the corner for decades to come.  Inspired? Check out our range of Arcade Machines that promises to revive your excitement for nostalgia.

Our Brands: Representing Life Through Quality

Pioneers of lifestyle products within Singapore, we test and source our products worldwide to provide you with the best there is to offer. This means making sure that all product quality is upheld before being passed to consumers and that the things we bring in are truly what we believe will help bring your lifestyle to the next level. Therefore, we have decided that it is important for us to shed some light to both present and future customers on some of the brands we represent and advocate for within The Men’s Cave   RS Barcelona A brand that truly encapsulates what it means to live in the moment. We believe that Spanish-brand RS Barcelona has never stopped short of producing products that are fun and practical regardless of your environment. In fact, founder Rafael Rodriguez Castillo encourages customers to think outside the box, providing a range of fully customisable options and sourcing locally-made materials of the highest quality to guarantee customer satisfaction every single time.  With a motto like ‘intense living’, RS Barcelona certainly hits the nail on the head when it comes to those who want both design and practicality, whether it’s at home or in the office. When each of their game tables comes with a multifunctional purpose that allows you to turn a conference table into a makeshift ping pong game, it’s hard to say no to living in the moment.  [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="750"] The You & Me Ping Pong Table is the perfect example of working hard and playing even harder. Simple and elegant in design, it becomes a practical conference or dining table within any living space in the blink of an eye.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_5868" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Who says that you have to put away your games at the dining table? Meet the RS#2 Dining Football Table, breaking boundaries and social etiquette to bring your next dinner party to the next level. With this, you won't ever have to worry about entertaining guests.[/caption] Stern Pinball  Are you a kid of the 80s? Did you ever hang out in strip mall arcades during the weekends with your friends while saving all the spare change from the pocket money your parents used to give you every week? If you are then the Stern household name is probably familiar to you.  A love of pinball passed down from father to son, Stern Pinball is one of the largest pinball manufacturers in America that have done well to keep mechanical pinball machines alive and still sought-after. Whether you’re looking for a home statement piece or are just a collector, Stern provides all of that and more.  [caption id="attachment_7350" align="aligncenter" width="2048"] Our team's personal favourite—the Iron Maiden. Reminiscent of their hit tour: Legacy Of The Beast, top pinball designer Keith Elwin makes a mark within the pinhead community with this particular pinball machine and with good reason. With deep-set rules and gameplay that's coupled with an addictive album track, it is truly an immersive experience.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7362" align="aligncenter" width="1875"] Love him or hate him, Deadpool is everyone's favourite, fourth-wall-breaking, pottymouth antihero that Stern has translated so lovingly into their pinball machine. With custom voice lines by Nolan North and an original soundtrack made specifically for this game, you won't realise how much time you've sunk into this game once you start playing.[/caption]   Sound Leisure There’s something personal in owning and listening to vinyl, which is why we believe the way you experience them should matter as well. Considered one of the last two vinyl jukebox makers in the world (the British counterpart to the iconic Rock-Ola), Sound Leisure remain a prominent figure in the creation of original mechanical jukeboxes by combining their expertise in jukebox making with the latest sound technology to create an unforgettable audiophile experience. Whether you’re looking for a more classic look with bubblers or a hybrid player that will allow both vinyl and Bluetooth tracks, Sound Leisure has got your back. In fact, most of their products are made to order and handmade from start to finish, so you can accommodate the jukebox to your tastes rather than the other way around.  [caption id="attachment_8155" align="aligncenter" width="600"] If it's not broken, don't fix it: Sound Leisure's CD series takes inspiration from classic jukeboxes to give you that retro feel with the latest sound technology for the best music-listening experience.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7626" align="aligncenter" width="1365"] Who says a jukebox is a waste of space? With Sound Leisure, as long as you can think of it, the customisation choices are endless![/caption]   Retrocade What is better than having your own arcade game in your home? Being able to personalise it into a bespoke experience to make it a one-of-a-kind item you will cherish for the years to come. The Retrocade series is considered our own in-house brand, a collaboration between the designers and creative minds of The Men’s Cave to create the retro arcade game of your dreams. Our R&D team constantly sources out premium and authentic arcade parts in their constant efforts to improve and build better arcade machines by the day.   In fact, we’re always available if you want to pop us a message to discuss your own dream build or any other ideas you might have.

The Revival of Vinyl Culture: The Perfect Combination of Nostalgia and Technology

When you were younger, were you ever fascinated by vinyl or just 80s and 90s pop culture? Did you ever watch your grandparents put down their favourite record on their trusty old turntable so that they could tell you stories about the prime days of their youth? I’m sure that all of us have had—or still have—an interest in 20th-century pop culture. The economy still had its ups and downs, much like today, but the culture and arts scene was booming with opportunities everywhere. Today, everybody is obsessed with throwbacks to that iconic culture—polaroid cameras, music culture, fashion, and even a blast to the past with both classic TV show remakes and new ones set in the 80s and 90s. The signs are endless, even amongst Gen Z and Millennials, that newer isn’t necessarily better. In fact, even ‘outdated’ music media like vinyl have started to come back over the past few years, worming into the lives of our younger generations with surprising tenacity and hold.   So, what's vinyl? Vinyl records, which were more accurately known as gramophone records in the past, were created in 1867 by Emile Berliner from Edouard-Leon Scott’s invention of the Phonautograph—a vibrating pen that would represent sound waves through a graph onto small paper discs. Despite that, vinyl records were not actually “heard” by people until 1878 when Thomas Edison created what was considered the first version of the vinyl record player, which was the phonograph—the first version and inspiration for all the turntables and jukeboxes that exist today.    OK, but what's so cool about it? Recently, there has been a growing interest towards vinyl records in Europe and Asia, signalling the revival of vinyl culture across the globe. What’s fascinating to see is that even our local Asian artists have also managed to reap the benefits of this phenomenon, receiving sudden recognition within the vinyl music scene. For example, Indonesian artist Fariz FM—short for Fariz Rustam Munaf—has been basking in newfound fame from contemporary remixes of his songs in clubbing scenes all around the world through recent vinyl reissues (think of it as a vinyl version for repackaged albums) of his iconic songs.  Reissues have also breathed new life into the vinyl scene, giving both collectors and listeners a wider range of genre options to choose from that span from the classic Beatles to pop artists like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.  As such, it’s not far-fetched to say that vinyl’s growing popularity has been important in giving back fame to classic local icons and forgotten artists considered niche during their heydays that goes beyond encouraging plenty of more international and popular contemporary artists to release LP (long playing) vinyl records of their newest albums. Perhaps this is a sign that there might even come a time when local Southeast Asian artists become big on the international market? It’s something that one can hope for.  Still… You might be wondering whether all this is true and I don’t blame you. The question is warranted. CDs and digital albums still hold the largest number in music sales per year and are far more accessible than vinyl that has been around for more than a century. However, the stats don’t lie. Vinyl sales have had a sharp increase over recent years, with almost a 50% increase in sales year-on-year since everybody went into lockdown during last year's pandemic. Seriously, the vinyl revival has already actually outlasted the boom and bust of the Apple iPod in the early 2000s! But why the sudden interest? Everyone has their own reasons for going back to vinyl. Most believe that it is because vinyl records hold intangible significance beyond being a ‘collector’s item’. Avid music listeners are interested in vinyl due to its nostalgic factor and the tactile experience you can obtain from listening to vinyl records on either a jukebox or gramophone. A lot of us are also not fully satisfied with digitalised music despite the instant accessibility of online music streaming apps like Spotify and YouTube Music. We’re all victims to the desire of physical comforts that engage with our five senses, especially in a time where many of us are stuck in self-isolation and unable to visit our friends and family. There is also the current obsession amongst the millennial generation when it comes to nostalgia. With many TV series and movies like WandaVision, Stranger Things, and Wonder Woman 1984 that highlight and reference popular culture in the mid to late 90s, the effects of nostalgia have been studied and said to provide people with the concept of making them feel more human, and I can’t help but agree. It is these nostalgic reminders that allow one to decompress and just find a moment for themselves away from the digitalised world, removing us from the distraction of electronic gadgets and social media that is both a blessing and a curse in our current society.  [caption id="attachment_9574" align="aligncenter" width="2000"] Listening bars are every audiophile's dream.[/caption] The novelty of vinyl in modern society comes from its ability to provide you with a tactile experience compared to listening to a song on your phone or blasting it through your Bluetooth speakers. According to Dominik Bartmanski, a sociologist at the Technical University of Berlin and the author of Vinyl: The Analogue Record in the Digital Age, vinyl records are considered a “better ‘ritualistic’ medium” because “certain experiences are neither downloadable nor possible to save on a hard drive."  It's true that the act of listening and playing vinyl records is an experience that requires you to engage in the act itself: touching the records and placing them on the turntable before putting down the tonearm to play the music, fiddling with the different RPMs that follow the record’s size. It makes the moment something personal for the individual and even amongst those who might be listening as a group. This is why many young adults still choose to invest the extra bucks into vinyl for albums that are considered personal favourites, providing an added warmth to the sensory medium.  Vinyl records are popular because they have a function beyond being just like any other music format. They’re a medium that’s designed to encapsulate the experience of actually engaging with the music you’re listening to. That's important because music is a form of art, an accessible commodity that has inadvertently become an intangible part of people’s life by further enriching our quality of life. The very act of listening to vinyl is a physical experience that allows you to understand the artist, giving you a deeper appreciation of their music. I’m pretty sure that many of us can’t imagine living in a universe where music and its many forms—digital and those in nature—don't exist. It’s these combinations of factors that make vinyl’s revival more than just some random fluke or a passing phase. This classic and iconic item of pop culture has finally risen from the dead and is back to stay. 

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