In pop culture the concept of the man cave is a staple part of any house that a man will ever inhabit and for good reason.
Many men often have the desire to sit in a place of their own with a whole host of machines and accessories that will leave them filled with nostalgia, and ultimately make them feel like a kid again.
Whilst man caves come in many different forms the ultimate goal is a place of fun for you and your friends to enjoy, so naturally a room modelled after the arcades of yesteryear is a popular choice.
Obviously, arcade machines with games such as Mortal Kombat, Pac Man, Street Fighter or any other host of classic games from the golden age are a shoe in along with classic arcade game tables such as a pinball machine.
However, I believe that any modern games system is a welcome addition in a home arcade and with the right set up this style of man cave can very easily double up as a home theater.
Now you probably know what types of things you want in your game room but the specifics is where it gets somewhat tricky and there are some things that you need to consider.
Are your eyes bigger than your room?
This might seem obvious to some people but knowing how much space you have in your potential man cave is of vital importance before buying anything.
It’s no good rushing out and buying a bunch of classic arcade machines if they won’t fit in the room!
However on the other end of the spectrum, even if you have quite a large space it’s still important to try to get as much out of it as possible.
One way of doing this for arcade machines for example is to to look for modern machines which feature a multitude of games to play on them.
Add Some Nostalgia to Your Home Arcade
Despite the fall in prominence of the traditional arcade the arcade machine market is still a strong albeit niche one with various companies out there who will sell you cabinets in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Classic Single Cabinet
One option is to buy a classic machine from the arcades that has been restored or refurbished.
These have a certain cool factor to them as they are a piece of gaming history and will definitely be a head turner for those with a passion for the classics.
However there are a few notable downsides to these machines.
For a start they typically can only play a single game which in the case of gems such as Space Invaders or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles might not be something that particularly bothers you.
If that doesn’t put you off though these machines can have other issues such as having images burned onto the screen from overuse or faulty controls.
Additionally if it’s a machine that takes quarters it might not accept modern money.
Another issue relating to these machines is their weight and size since they weren’t designed to be easily moved and weren’t intended for home use.
The biggest issue for a lot of gamers though will be the price.
You’ll likely have to spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars for an authentic and good condition machine of this type; which to play one game like the emulatable and frequently ported Donkey Kong is likely too steep a price for most.
Mini Arcade Machines
Mini arcade machines are a good alternative to a free standing machine for those who are conscious of the amount of space available in their man cave as by not being full cabinets they take up significantly less room.
Additionally the cheapest of these machines can be picked up for quite low prices with some going for less than a hundred dollars and can often play classics like Pac Man or Street Fighter.
However due to their small size they inevitably come with smaller screens and if you want them to play multiple games they start getting more expensive.
Modern or Home Arcade Machines
The modern arcade machine is as a result of the niche nature is more often designed for the home and is more compact whilst still being a free standing arcade machine.
Despite still requiring you to spend a few hundred dollars, these machines represent a happy middle ground between buying a classic cabinet and a mini arcade machine.
One advantage these modern machines have though is that one system will typically be capable of playing a wide variety of games, this means that potentially your man cave would only require the one machine.
Whilst some do take up less space and weigh less than a classic full sized machine they do still take up quite a bit of space, so having an idea of the standard arcade cabinet dimensions before committing is probably wise.
Additionally other free standing machine options which are more modern will also be more akin to a full sized classic machine in terms of size
However the advantage of the newer ones is that they are often more feature rich and offer near complete collections of classic arcade games whilst sporting cool designs in the style of classic cabinets.
Tables They aren’t just for eating y’know
Aside from arcade cabinets there are a multitude of arcade games that you can include in your man cave.
These typically come in the form of table sports of various kinds such as ping pong, air hockey or pool with some of these classic games having transcended the arcade entirely.
Whilst these tables do take up quite a lot of real estate they can be some of the most fun experiences to play amongst friends.
Additionally many companies that sell these kinds of game tables have designed them to be able to be used for multiple different games such as a combined pool/air hockey table for instance.
Perhaps the most popular of these kinds of table games is pool with many bars having at least one table for patrons to use.
Despite this however they can make an excellent addition to any man cave since pool is a near universally loved game that most people know how to play, and even if they don’t it’s very simple to learn.
One of the only pitfalls however is that whilst a lot of game tables are quite space intensive since pool table dimensions are quite sizable and considerable room is needed around the table in order to use it properly.
However if this isn’t an issue then you can’t really go wrong.
Ping Pong/Table Tennis
Ping pong is a fast paced and incredibly active game which has a similar ubiquitous nature to pool, albeit with a slightly higher requirement of skill and coordination.
This is a game ideal for those looking for a more fast paced experience than say something like pool which is by its very nature is slower and more methodical.
Like pool though the downside here is the requirement of a large amount of room which is required due to both the ping pong table’s size itself and the amount of movement required by the players
Additionally due to the nature of the game, breakables should be kept as far away from the table as possible due to players having to move around quickly and whacking ping pong balls around.
This staple of the classic arcade is a frantic and energetic game which is much as much fun to watch as it is to play.
As such it’s a perfect fit for any man cave arcade. Especially so if you can get your hands on a vintage pinball machine.
The fact that many of these tables track your high score also makes it excellent competition despite the fact that many tables only allow people to use it one at a time.
However if you’re looking for something that offers more direct competition between players you may find one of the other tables more to your liking.
Like with the other tables mentioned, knowing the pinball machine dimensions is important before buying.
Of course there are a myriad of other kinds of table based arcade games that would complement your home arcades brilliantly such as air hockey and foosball.
Tables like can provide hours of entertainment and of course if you’re into gambling, drinking games or wargaming then your choices of man cave gaming tables expands even further.
Old Meets New
Whilst video games on consoles and PC don’t necessarily scratch the same itch as an arcade game I believe these machines are an ideal fit into any man cave belonging to an arcade lover.
This is because to how many vintage games such as Pac Man or Mortal Kombat which despite initially being available exclusively on an arcade machine have subsequently received a console port.
Additionally, a fun idea for if you want to marry the concepts of an arcade machine and a console is to buy or commission a cabinet that has been built to use consoles to run it’s games.
For more fun ideas on making your man cave the ultimate game room click here.
Current Generation Games
Due to the fact the current generation of consoles is in its infancy there are very few games on either the Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X for players to get their hands on.
In addition, there is currently a shortage of supply for both consoles making them hard to get hold of.
However this is not a situation that will last forever and these impressive machines will eventually be more readily available for purchase and have larger libraries.
Virtual reality is perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of gaming today.
However in a strange way it is somewhat reminiscent of the old days when very rudimentary VR devices were sold for consoles and arcades.
Back in those days they didn’t really work all that well, however a couple of decades down the line and the niche VR games market is slowly but surely growing.
Whilst there is only really the occasional great video game for VR at the moment, fun party games come out for these systems quite frequently.
As such, this makes a VR headset ideal for a gamer centric man cave or home arcade.
Older video game consoles are a great choice for the man cave since they can play most games an arcade machine would but at a fraction of the price.
Additionally modernisations and sequels of older arcade titles such as Mortal Kombat are available for them making them ideal for the man cave.
In terms of size they are also rather compact by comparison to arcade cabinets and will be able to play more than just a single game.
The only issue however is that some older video games have become collectors items in their own right meaning that they can sometimes be hard to come by and quite expensive.
Extras for the Arcade Man Cave
We’ve discussed ideas for how to turn your man cave into your perfect game room and home arcade but have you still got some space you can fill?
Then how about taking a look at some of these other suggestions in order to make a true sanctuary out of your man cave.
If you’ve got your consoles set up in your home arcade then you’re likely most of the way there in regards to getting a home theater up and running.
This is especially true if you’ve got a newer Playstation or XBox since they can function as excellent multimedia devices.
Naturally for your consoles you may initially want a HD television.
Alternative if you’ve got the room is high quality projector as they can provide you with a much larger screen size whilst giving a more authentic home theater feeling to the whole affair.
An additional idea could be a surround sound system which would significantly enhance the whole experience and also be great for playing music through.
Realistically the man cave exists for you and your friends to relax in and have a good time so it makes perfect sense that you would occasionally fancy a drink or snack.
Instead of having to go and grab something from the kitchen why not just have your supplies with you in the man cave?
One idea of how to do this is to have a mini bar from which you can keep on hand a steady supply of food and drink.
Naturally there are some things you’ll want to keep cool which would be where a mini fridge would come in.
High quality furniture is always a good idea to have if you want a slightly more luxurious man cave.
Honestly, you don’t want to have to stand all day in the place you come to unwind, especially if you’re playing console games or using a home cinema.
Granted you don’t want too much furniture as it can potentially turn your man cave into a living room if overdone but a small couch or a couple of comfy chairs shouldn’t impact things too severely.
Additionally if you went for the idea of a mini bar, a few barstools might be a great way to really sell the barcade aesthetic.
Marvel At The Possibilities, Then Seize Them!
Ultimately the goal of the man cave is to create your own little slice of paradise but what that means is unique to everyone.
Here I’ve provided a few options to fulfil the desires of an arcade enthusiast whether they be into their retro cabinets, tabletop games or gaming in general with a bit of luxury thrown in.
By no means however does that mean you have to follow every step here to the letter. VR for example may not be of any interest to you or maybe your idea of the perfect arcade style man cave is a room filled with a myriad of game tables.
Whatever your preferences are and even if you only plan to build up to your dream man cave in tiny increments eventually it’ll all be worth it and you’ll be the envy of everyone you deem worthy of setting foot in your sanctum.
One last piece of advice though, if you end up having to assemble anything in your man cave, make sure you read the instructions.