Polycade

The Polycade uses emulator software to conjure up “Pac-Man,” “Street Fighter II,” and other classic titles.

When Tyler Bushnell was a kid, he remembers biking 6 miles on the weekends to blow all his money on that hot release, “Street Fighter II.”

Years later those “Hadoukens!” must still echo in his head, because Bushnell—who just so happens to be the son of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell—is building a wall-mounted console that plays potentially thousands of classic video games. The Polycade cabinet features a 28-inch screen and joysticks for two players to face off, something Bushnell feels is missing from the contemporary gaming experience. He writes on his Kickstarter campaign, which beat its $20,000 goal in two days:

Modern video game interfaces primarily favor solitary gaming, and many suggest long periods of playtime. We have largely lost the real-life, social, low commitment experience provided by the interface that founded video gaming: The Arcade.

The Polycade seeks to evolve the traditional arcade. The old machines are giant, heavy, difficult to fix, and only play a single game. Slim, light, easy to fix, and capable of housing thousands of games, this modern and affordable arcade cabinet brings back this well loved and long missed gaming format!

The machine ships with 90 retro titles like “Pac-Man,” “Galaga,” and “Bionic Commando,” but its open-source emulator technology allows it to handle tons more from potentially every system in history. (He’s personally tested it on 11 systems including Nintendo, Atari, Sega Genesis, and Playstation 1.) Here’s a small sample of the games it can recreate:

(“Vulgus”? Why yes, “Vulgus.”)

Bushnell is in the production stage and hopes to ship the first cabinets by March 2016. Toss in a $50 pledge and you’ll receive an Atari cartridge signed by Bushnell’s dad. Plus, in the son’s words, you’ll help prevent these games from being “swallowed by the sands of time.”

Polycade, $1,950 retail (cheaper pre-order options available on Kickstarter)

H/t DesignTAXI

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  2. Equity

    The Problem With Research on Racial Bias and Police Shootings

    Despite new research on police brutality, we still have no idea whether violence toward African Americans is fueled by racial prejudice. That has consequences.

  3. A map of Minneapolis from the late 19th century.
    Maps

    When Minneapolis Segregated

    In the early 1900s, racial housing covenants in the Minnesota city blocked home sales to minorities, establishing patterns of inequality that persist today.

  4. photo: A protester stands on a damaged bus stop near the Third Police Precinct on May 28 in Minneapolis during a protest over the death of George Floyd.
    Transportation

    In Minneapolis Protests, Bus Drivers Take a Side

    The city’s transit union issued a statement of support for members who balked at assisting police during demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd.

  5. A map of population density in Tokyo, circa 1926.
    Maps

    How to Detect the Distortions of Maps

    All maps have biases. A new online exhibit explores the history of map distortions, from intentional propaganda to basic data literacy.

×