With the rise of miniaturised retro consoles, there’s still a special corner of gaming’s past that’s gone sorely overlooked. It’s a corner that could once be found in a mid-90s London Trocadero – a space, among many spaces, that Capcom called home with its sublime arcade produce, built on the CPS1 and CPS2 boards. Between the co-op thrills of Progear and Aliens vs Predator, some of the best 2D sprite-based titles of the era sparked from this hardware, and often, their technical quality didn’t translate exactly to PlayStation or Saturn, if ports were produced at all.
All of which makes Capcom’s catalogue a fascinating trove of hidden gems – and the focus for the upcoming Capcom Home Arcade – a full arcade controller that aims to put this slice of gaming history in the living room. The idea is simple enough: hot off the heels of its work on the Commodore 64 mini, Koch Media has put together a Capcom-licensed plug-and-play arcade unit that comes with 16 pre-installed titles. From the iconic brawling of Final Fight, to lesser-known highlights like Capcom Sports Club, the aim is to recreate the full CPS1 and 2 arcade experience at home. With a price tag of £199 (or around $260) though, there is the expectation of a premium product. From what I’ve seen in an early hands-on, there’s a lot going right at a design level – at the very least, focusing on the hardware.
Out of the box you get a hefty arcade unit that supports two players on one slab, and a micro USB power cable to juice it. Once the power button’s pressed, video is pushed out at 1920×1080 via an HDMI port at the rear. On the whole, it’s a ruggedly built bit of hardware. The fact that it sports two octagonal gate joysticks, and six quality Sanwa buttons per side also goes a long way in explaining its price tag. Impossible to ignore is that bold CAPCOM logo screaming across its top, too, a yellow and blue toned title with detailing extending to its sides in a grey, 3D mould etching. For my tastes, it’s a likeable enough design – though given it’s the only style on offer at launch, anyone less keen may be out of luck.