There are rules about how you can modernise a candy cab.
Emulators aren’t cool. They’re functional, but nerds want to play the metal. Multigame cabs are fine if they’re NEO GEO fourways. Clever little arcades will use multigame emulators but keep it to four titles – make it look like there are four actual cartridges plugged into a board.
Newer online distribution services – or games loaded by configuration from an arcade-internal server – are cool because they’re running on a specific, branded chipset with contacts made to be bitten by the JAMMA jaws inside a real 90s cab.
Away from the games, different 90s cabs carry different weight. Home arcaders crave these Egret IIs because the display can be rotated to tate (vertical) without heaving the six-ton CRT from the chassis. If you’ve only got one cab and you want to switch games, a one-person tate switch is a killer feature.
Taito Hey is absolutely loaded with Egrets – and they’re all modded. Every cab is Fitted with a headphone amp and an e-money terminal. These are cool because if Hey does it then it’s authentic by definition.
And like everything at Hey, the way those enhancing mods are added is decidedly hobbyist, amateur – not for lesser quality but for greater love and attention.
Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people