What is the exA-Arcadia?
Back in 1990, SNK released a platform that became a staple of many arcades around the world, and a symbol of arcade gaming throughout the decade. Called the Neo Geo MVS, this platform allowed arcades to get their hands on more games at a lower cost than normal, increasing their variety. These cabinets also often allowed 2, 4 or 6 games to be installed in a single cabinet.
Fast forward to 2021 and the exA-Arcadia is bringing the Neo Geo MVS idea back to arcades with their powerful and versatile platform. It uses a customized Intel & nVidia PC that is on par with modern consoles in terms of power, delivering 4K gaming at 60 frames per second. It also has been designed to have the lowest input lag in the industry (this means that the reaction times in-game are as close to playing on an old school CRT as possible).
Each exA system allows up to four game cartridges to be installed at one time; As of May 2021, they have a total of 16 games available for the platform, with many more on their way in the coming years. This is also resurrecting a number of genres that have long been dead or mostly ignored by major manufacturers in recent decades, such as 1v1 fighting games, scrolling shooters (i.e. shmups), platformers, run ‘n gunners, beat ’em ups and more. This is allowing arcades like ours to expand their offerings, picking up various brand new games when otherwise the costs would be too large to warrant getting more than one or two a year. Here are what the cartridges look like:
We received our first exA system in January 2020, right before the pandemic pummeled the world. We purchased it with Aka & Blue Type-R (a shmup) and The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ (a fighter). We had a custom cabinet made for it, which included a 65″ 4K gaming TV, and since then have added various games to it. As of May 2021, we own six exA titles, although we can only have four installed at once; Scroll down further for more details on the currently installed games.
The cabinet is currently installed at our Ogden location (May 2021).
One important aspect to note about exA titles is that while many are ported from existing PC, console or mobile games, all titles come with exclusive additions. This can include game modes, game balancing, characters, stages, music and more. Thus if you own one of these games on a home gaming device, it will play differently in the arcade edition.
Available In Our exA-Arcadia System Now
The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ
Play as legends from Kung Fu movies, including Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, Jean-Claude Van Damme and many more (31 fighters total). Easy to learn move-sets from the four button setup and realistic fighting put this one in a category that both casual and hardcore players can both enjoy. This edition comes with specialized arcade balancing and adds the Daniel-san persona from the Karate Kid movies.
Available for 1-2 players; 2 tokens per player
Released at the very end of the NES’ lifespan, Sunsoft’s cute and unique platformer Gimmick is somewhat obscure, but worth of attention. This release marks an outstanding HD remake that is only found on the exA. Play with NES graphics & music if you want, or enjoy the colorful HD remaster with a remixed soundtrack. The meticulous design was tested to ensure that this feels exactly like the NES original. It also features a new Time Attack mode, which has been very popular with Japanese players.
Available for 1 player; 1 token to play.
Note that there are no plans for this game remake to be ported to consoles like the Nintendo Switch, making this a true treat for arcade players. You won’t find this game anywhere else in Utah (or most of the USA, at the moment!).
Blazing Chrome AC
Fans of titles like SUPER CONTRA and METAL SLUG can rejoice, as this brings run ‘n gun excitement back to arcades! Run and blast hordes of robotic bad guys and experience explosive boss battles. This version has added a new character, Zaku, a new soundtrack arrangement (the original is still available) and new gameplay balancing that is better suited towards arcade play.
Available for 1-2 players; 2 tokens per person to play
Fans of scrolling shoot ’em ups (i.e. shmups) will love this game, where you control a dragon that flies through the ages, battling evil monsters. The game plays much like Dariusburst, with a helping of Dragon Spirit.
Originally released on PC & Mobile platforms, the Hexa version is the definitive release of the game, featuring adaptive difficulty, 4K graphics, a selectable arranged soundtrack, new power-ups, co-op play, new levels & bosses, QR Code score tracking/sharing, and a Caravan Mode for seasoned players.
Available for 1-2 players; 2 tokens per player.
Also available (but not currently installed)
Aka & Blue Type-R
Bullet hell shooters are back with this intense gaming experience from Tanoshimasu. Pick one of two fighters with different abilities, then take on the hordes of bad guys in the skies. Collect stars to fill your bomb gauge and take care to dodge enemy fire. Think of it like Raiden on steroids.
Known as Iron Crypticle on consoles, the arcade version is significantly different, bringing a Smash TV-style dungeon crawler to the arcade.
Navigate randomized dungeons that are full of enemies, enhancing your character, collecting food and fighting bosses.
This game supports up to 4 players, but since we only have a 2 player cabinet, we’ve decided to put the game aside for now, but would love to bring it back when we have a 4-player cabinet to put it in!
The Future of exA-Arcadia?
There is much more in store for the system in the coming months and years, which will see many old game genres and recognizable franchises make their way back to the arcades where they belong. We will keep a steady eye on the developments for this system, but would also like to hear what YOU want to play on it.
We would really like to get a second exA cabinet so that both locations can have one, but that all depends on interest. Let us know what you think!