An Insider's View
Shortly after this article was first published, we got some great photographs of the inside of the Midway cab from a reader known only as "Lane." He took some very revealing shots, and here they are with his descriptions and thoughts about the unit:
Here is the link for the TV, it is a TCL 14001. From there you can click on the 14001 model and see some specs.
I did play the unit in the store...I wasn't crazy about the thing, but didn't think as poorly of it as you did.
Here is what I liked:
When you consider all this is included I found it a pretty good buy for the money. I got it for $397.00 plus 40 dollars off for using/getting a new Target Card. That makes it $350 for a working arcade... a pretty good price point.
I might mention that Defender, Defender II (or Stargate) and Robotron are my all-time favorite arcade games. If it included Tempest it would be my perfect game set.
I also would point out that it ran Robotron as it should with 2 joysticks. And the game play seemed accurate and the sounds - Although it could be better produced - seemed accurate as well.
My thinking was that this might get me going and let me see how I liked it and maybe upgrade/mod it as time went on.
I am an electronics buff and have wood working tools... But even given that, I would have to invest about 3 times this amount of money and many many hours to get a better machine.
I wish someone made a decent stand up arcade for under (or even at) 1 grand, I would buy it.
— Lane, RetroBlast Reader
A Secret Revealed
One of the more fascinating discoveries while reviewing this unit was the discovery that the internal hardware was programmed by Clay Cowgill (creator of many multigame kits for arcade games.) Here are his own thoughts about the project.
If Anyone is Listening
Just one more word to the folks at Midway, Target, Big Electronic Games and Natural Science Industries (The trademark applicant for “BigGames”), the games represented in this device are arguably generational, national, and even global treasures. Those of us that grew up playing these games see the same enjoyment in our children as they experience titles such as Robotron and Stargate for the first time and understand that these were never a passing fad, but works of living interactive art with a life-span far beyond our own.
This reviewer hopes that the experiences detailed in this review are read by many and serves to deter holiday shoppers from wasting their hard-earned money on a very poor re-creation of the arcade experience. Placing these wonderful titles in a cabinet so poorly thought out is akin to pasting a Ferrari logo onto a Chevette and calling it a classic sports car. Shame especially on Midway, they should know better.