Review by Kevin Steele
Ah, the arcade cabinet...has there ever been a more perfect gaming device? I'm pretty sure you can guess my thoughts on this, and perhaps it's just the nostalgia welling up in me, but I can't think of any other way I'd want to game.
That's why I was so excited to discover the Quasicade series of cabinets from Quasimoto Interactive. Optimized for use with today's gaming consoles, the Quasicade cabinets take a modern gaming experience and merge it with a classic gaming format (i.e., the arcade cabinet), creating something quite unique in the process.
Taking a game system designed for televisions and living rooms and putting into a different gaming 'ecosystem' sounds like a bold move. In addition, the Quasicade is also designed to support PC gaming, including MAME. That's a lot to squeeze into one cabinet. So, how well does Quasimoto Interactive pull it off?
Putting It Together
A gaming system like the Quasicade takes a lot of parts. A lot of big parts. I wish I had a photograph of the delivery truck: all of the boxes were shrink wrapped together on one big forklift palette. It was an impressive and imposing sight.
The Quasicade is shipped in six boxes, each impressively packed with foam spacers and protective sheeting over everything. Expect to take a good 45 min. just unboxing everything.
Once you've gotten everything unboxed, you can finally start the assembly process. The Quasicade 2 assembles much like every other flat-pack cabinet I've reviewed, using a post-and-cam system to hold the panels together.
Assembly was fairly easy: the manual is very well designed, with plenty of clear illustrations and a good step-by-step procedure for building the cabinet from the ground up.
Even the labels are helpful: each part is marked with an identification letter. These letters also include arrows showing you the correct orientation of the part (for example, the part below shows which end should point forward, and which end should point to the left.
The cabinet design is exceptional, and produces an extremely sturdy final cabinet. The quality of the parts is equally exceptional: the panel sections are made of very heavy particle board covered with a very nice textured laminate, and all of the sides of the panels are covered with a very nice textured laminate (which also hides fingerprints well, always a nice thing with small kids!). T-molding is also used for that "arcade authentic" look.
In addition, many of the panels come partially pre-assembled, with spacers, supports, and even the keyboard slides already mounted. In addition, many parts have "alignment pegs" pre-inserted into the edges, allowing quick and easy attachment to its neighboring panel. Even the marquee and speakers have been combined into a "light box," making even this step of the cab assembly a cinch.
The only areas I had difficulty with the cabinet assembly were the mounting of the control panel and the light box, and both of these hangups were due to the need to hold rubber spacers in place while you guided a mounting bolt into place. In the case of the light box, this also involved holding the light box up in place while you also juggled the spacer and the bolt.
In other words, I'd highly recommend a second set of hands for these steps of the assembly, but they can be done on your own if you're persistent (and don't mind using your forehead to hold things in place!)
Cab Design Touches
The Quasicade 2 cab is very well thought-out for its intended use. While you won't find a coin door, you will find a keyboard tray and locking front doors, as well as adjustable shelves.
Once cool trick I've never seen before is the "flip-top" marquee: the entire marquee light box flips up and over, revealing a "shelf" area that can be used for storage. While I don't actually plan on using the area, it's a neat trick and something completely unique.
Stylistically, there are few design nits I'd have to pick. For one, the keyboard tray isn't "hidden," but rather quite obvious. This isn't a big problem, but it would be nice to have a front lip to conceal it when not in use. The Quasicade Pro does have a hidden keyboard tray, but the Quasicade 2 and Jr. do not.
Another nit is the front doors: I love the hinges used and the locking mechanism, but the design also forces you to open both doors to get inside, which can be annoying when you need to move two bar stools out of the way just to change games.
One final nit is the quality of the marquee: while the side art is exceptionally well done, the marquee's printing was a bit dotty and "splotchy," definitely not up to the quality I've seen on other cabinet marquees. It's good, but not as good as the side panel art.
Obviously, if that's the worst I can think of to complain about, the designers at Quasimoto must have done their homework. Overall I have to commend them for their excellent design skills, creating a unique and original cabinet which has clearly been designed specifically for the needs of the home gaming enthusiast.