In their nascent heyday of the 1970s, video game arcades were some of the busiest (and noisiest) places at the shopping mall; full of kids and teenagers who were eager to drop fistfuls of quarters into the latest machines. Classics like Missile Command, Battlezone, Zaxxon, Centipede, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and many others all debuted during this period, garnering millions of devoted fans worldwide.
Subsequent generations, raised on smaller home video gaming systems and most recently, tiny hand-held devices, will never know the fun of standing close to a full-size video game cabinet, precariously balancing a cup of soda and line of quarters, all while being bombarded by the machine’s thunderous music and sound effects. Ah… what memories!
If you’re a nostalgic video “gamer” or collector of 1:6 scale action figures, you have reason to be excited about this story. We recently tracked down two “Masters of Miniaturization” who are currently recreating these games—in 1:6 scale!
Here’s what Victor Coleiro of Australia had to say about himself and his mini-arcade masterpieces…
“I’m a 43-year-old ‘mad retro gaming fan’ from Melbourne Australia. I first started playing video games when Space Invaders came out way back in the day. When I was 14, I bought a Colecovision and played it constantly. The same year I managed to win the Australian Colecovision championship after winning the local and state championships. Now I’m a computer programmer and IT manager.
As a bit of nostalgia, I thought it would be fun to try and recreate the arcade machines I played as a kid. The challenge was to make a machine that took up very little space as my wife was already complaining about the space my other retro goodies where taking.
So I decided to make a ‘micro-sized machine.’
To create the machines, I use a soldering iron, fine-tooth saw , hot-glue gun, sandpaper, screwdrivers and a cordless drill. The materials used include: 6mm mdf, hot glue, super glue, putty, solder, wiring, switches, buttons, joystick, printable sticker paper (I print the artwork using my inkjet printer), 1mm thick plastic sheeting, 3mm thick perspex, magnets, paint and either a modded GBA SP for some of the machines or a modded wiimote for the others.
I built my first micro arcade machine in June 2011. I can make the machines on request via my email at: firstname.lastname@example.org , however, these days I only do that if I have the time. They take 4-5 days each to build by hand and I was charging about $250 for them. You can make them yourself with parts sourced from ebay etc for about $150 in parts.
I make 2 type of micro-sized arcade machines. The first type such as seen in the Mortal Kombat, Space Invaders and Desktop arcade videos where all created by me by modifying a Nintendo GBA SP (AGS-101) Backlit model.
The other type of micro arcade machine such as the RetroCade and the micro cocktail table all use a modified wiimote that connects to an ipod touch or iphone running imame4all using Bluetooth.
Also, If anyone is interested in building their own machine, whether it be full-sized or micro-sized, there are a number of great and helpful communities full of people willing to assist. The best 2 are: Build your own arcade controls forum and also Aussie Arcade.”
To 1:6-scalers, the height of Victor’s stand-up machines is the only noticeable problem. For a 12″ GIjOE, they would be too short. Of course, that problem is easily rectified by lengthening the height of the cabinet a few inches. No biggie.
Another “Master of Miniaturization,” has already done just that. Known most famously by the online name “Vonjett,” he has created a reproduction of the classic Star Wars game in exact 1:6 scale. Its taller cabinet height makes it slightly more awkward for 1:1 scale humans to play, but it would look ideal next to 12″ GIjOEs or other 1:6 scale figures.
We tried repeatedly to contact Vonjett for this article, but had no success. Fortunately, there is a wealth of material on the internet about these two men, and both have posted videos on YouTube.
For more information on Victor Coleiro’s work, we suggest you go to his YouTube channel found HERE. And Vonjett’s superb video demonstrating his amazing Star Wars game is “required viewing” for all fans of classic arcade games and collectors of miniature 1:6 scale (see at bottom of this article ).
We’ll leave you with a few more photos showing Vonjett’s Star Wars game during its construction. Absolutely amazing work!