Arcade1Up has made a lot of strides in the home arcade industry in just a few years. They’ve brought back a ton of classics in cabinet form: far from the reaches of the inaccessible, eBay board-hunting niche it was in the past.
Now they’re trying something a bit different with the Infinity Game Table. Not only are they attempting to round up a ton of different games into one project: they’re also creating their own platform. While the jury is out on the latter, the table itself has a lot of promise based on my time with it.
- 22″W x 32″L x 19.5″H table
- A 23.8″ [tested] or 32″ screen (that’s impact and water-resistant, which was tested when my cats constantly jumped on it) with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 16/9 aspect ratio, 60Hz refresh rate, and G+G capacitive touch-10
- Android 9 OS
- 16GB onboard memory with an expansion slot (TF)
- 2GB of RAM
- 2.4G Wi-Fi
- Haptic feedback that highlight things like subtle dice rolls or failed game mechanics with a big rumble
The table comes with four legs and the actual tabletop, which is a lot like a television. You basically just “snap” the legs in and they click into place, then flip the table upright. It sounds hyperbolic, but it was incredibly easy. From there, you connect the AC adapter and plug the table in, and that’s it. While there is a larger model available (and a rechargeable battery that doesn’t require an adapter), for the purposes of this review, we tested out a 23.8″ screen with no battery.
Once it turns on, you’ll connect to Wi-Fi, then register an account with the Arcade1UP ecosystem. Out of the box, it took me around five minutes to be fully set up and downloading games.
It’s also built to be disassembled. The unit comes with a sturdy plastic box that you can put the table and legs back into, then take to someone’s house. Clever!
Right now the store has “a little more than 35 games” coming at launch (headlined by Hasbro), which, for the most part, you get for free by buying into the table. After that, the store will shift to a premium model, with Asmodee titles (like Pandemic and Ticket to Ride) coming later. You download them one at a time, which is a bit of a pain as there’s no download queue: but they only take around 30 seconds each, and the onboard memory can hold every game so far. For reference, 12 games (about a third of what’s offered now) takes up 17% of the onboard storage. I wish it had an exact number, but for now, it’s a long-term issue rather than something to worry about out of the box.
Arcade1Up also informed Destructoid that there is an expansion slot that the team can enable in the future for more storage. It’s a very smart move because generally the prospect of buying into a completely new ecosystem is risky, and the amount of family-oriented titles on offer initially should be enticing for families who have kids.
Here’s a quick checklist of some of the more pertinent titles at launch:
- Trivial Pursuit
- Chutes and Ladders
- Candy Land
- Connect 4
- Coloring books
Monopoly, Sorry, and Battleship are obvious big names, but there’s a bunch of other oddball choices strewn about there as well.
Whack-a-mole is one of the few minigames, and Operation plays out as an entirely different game on the Infinity Game Table: more like an app where players have to drag an object out of a maze. Two of the most notable “nontraditional” gaming experiences include the expansive coloring book and puzzle apps. My daughter loved playing these two constantly and hasn’t gotten bored yet in the two weeks I’ve had the table. It’s also a nice way for everyone to huddle around and color as a group, or pick up pieces in an effort to build a puzzle together. It sounds extremely cheesy, but the table is working as intended.
Truth be told, classic card/tabletop games and Hasbro titles are the main event early on. I really hope to see more traditional “video games” hit the store eventually (more on that in a moment).
The Infinity Game Table is essentially a giant tablet, and it plays out just like you’d expect a high-quality device with legs to operate. Touch points are sound, as is the rumble feature (which can go crazy at times, in a good way). What’s neat is the ability for the screen to shift for players, and swap orientation depending on who’s turn it is. The table itself can comfortably seat four people around it, and you can also just take the legs off and place it on a kitchen table or any surface (kids playing with it on the ground seems like something that’ll be ideal for some families).
You can engage with these games all as a group in-person, but online multiplayer is a bit interesting, in that the table can connect you with up to five other people within the Arcade1Up ecosystem. You basically just send a friend request and then pick a meeting time, and create a lobby. If someone disconnects from a session, it’ll preserve it. Arcade1Up notes that it’ll store your last 10 games automatically.
It’s a good thing, too! Because in my test session with Monopoly with members of the press, one of us disconnected. We were able to have the impacted party leave, then join back up a minute later. Since the game state is always saved, we didn’t miss out. Hopefully that sort of thing is a sparing occurrence, but ideally, I’d recommend the table to folks who have people over in-person. The angle of playing together at one table is much more exciting, and naturally, reliable.
Speaking of multiplayer, the table comes with little physical dividers to hide tiles for games like Scrabble. It’s a cute lo-fi solution that brings an analog component to this mostly digital product. In all, I didn’t have any major issues using the table. It’s fun to sit down solo especially and toil away while listening to calming music. And even the base model is big enough where a group can gather around and not miss any critical information.
Pandemic and Ticket To Ride are wildly popular games and are slated for release later this year. While it would have been great to get them out at launch, Arcade1UP tells us that it has expansive plans for the future, including the ability for indie developers to craft their own games on the platform. Other licensed games like Hungry Hippos are slated for 2021.
Now, that’s mainly a promise at this stage, as Arcade1UP couldn’t show us those projects this early on. And if you may recall, multiple manufactures tried to corner this market nearly a decade ago, and widely failed. But that was with tech that was far more expensive than this, and with market forces that did not favor tabletop nearly as heavily as they do now. Pandemic and Ticket to Ride have the potential to sell this table on their own, and Monopoly, against all odds, is still a best-seller in many regions. They came out of the gate with two great partnerships: the onus is now on them to deliver. Arcade1UP stresses that there are no plans for a monthly subscription system.
As for whether or not the table and its initial free app package are worth it now? I’d say if you have a family who likes to gather around for game nights, yes. It’s become a spectacle in my house, especially when it comes to family time with a younger kid who can kill an infinite amount of time with puzzles and coloring books. It’s not something you might play every day, but if you have the space — we kind of don’t, haha, but we manage — it’s there, with some timeless options to boot up. For everyone else, a wait-and-see approach is probably best. With more “killer apps” this could be a very cool thing to invite people over to play with as a game night host.
While the Kickstarter for the Infinity Game Table is over, it’ll be available for pre-order at Best Buy in the US starting on July 17. For reference, Kickstarter pricing started at $499 for the 24-inch table.
[This review is based on a retail version of the Infinity Game Table provided by the publisher.]