The Games of Arcade Paradise

Last year there was a game that came out that I really wanted to review called Arcade Paradise.  I requested a review code three different times and was denied each time!  I really wanted to review it, too, because it’s a time management sim where you must run a laundromat business, but you are secretly running an arcade in the back with dozens of fictional arcade games you can actually play!  I actually had an idea for a business that was half laundromat, half arcade, and I was going to called it Quarters: Good Clean Fun.  So this game really resonated with me.  If I had gotten a chance to review it last year, it definitely would’ve showed up on my Game of the Year list somewhere.  But this year I used some Christmas present PlayStation Store points to buy it, and sure it was only 20 bucks so I was kind of cheap, but this stuff adds up if you’re not careful.  Anyway, so now that I’ve played the game, I thought I’d write a blog about the arcade cabinets you can play on it.  Oh yeah, and slight spoiler alerts here and there, but I don’t think it matters much.

Arcade Paradise does have a story.  You are Ashley, an older teen college dropout in the 90s.  Your dad is a successful businessman, and gives you one last chance to redeem yourself by running one of his laundromat chains.  You discover some arcade machines in the back, and decide to secretly expand this part of the building to house more arcade games.  So the game is a time management sim where you must balance running the laundromat, and buying new arcade games and playing them.  Everything you do is a mini-game, from picking up trash to cleaning out the toilet.  You even do the laundry here, which you wouldn’t normally do, but I guess the makers of the game wanted you to have that laundromat experience.  Near the end of the game, your dad catches on to what you’re doing and shuts down the laundromat and makes you work in his meat packing plant where you must play a box taping mini game for a week while listening to flashbacks about how horrible your dad is.  Luckily since you invested in an arcade company earlier in the game, at the end of the week you get a ton of money back in interest and can buy back the laundromat and make it a full arcade.  And then your dad finally says he’s proud of you.  I’m glad the game had a happy ending because at first I wasn’t sure it would.  I know not EVERYTHING has to have a happy ending, but in these sucky times, it’s nice that our video games can at least do that.  I really don’t think this game needed a story, as I didn’t like having to play as a loser teen.  But they did get the 90s feel of the game right, at least in the laundromat section.  The arcade felt more like a late 80s arcade, as the arcades I experienced in the 90s were mostly just filled with racing games and fighters.

So in the game you must balance doing the laundromat chores while playing and running the arcade part.  You’ll definitely want to play the arcade games, but we’ll get to that in a bit.  A lot of reviewers complained about the laundry section, saying it got in the way of the arcade part.  And that’s true, but I didn’t mind it as much.  You see, as a kid I loved a Jim Henson show called Fraggle Rock.  One of the Fraggles was named Boober and he did all the laundry for the other Fraggles. I thought he was cool so I started doing all the laundry for our family at a very early age.  And I still do it to this very day!  So the laundry sections of this game felt familiar, relaxing, and a bit therapeutic for me.  By the end of the game your business is a full on arcade so you have a lot more time to play them, so that’s rewarding, too.

So you remember how I said you’ll want to play the arcade games as much as you can?  Well there’s a reason for that.  Not only are they (mostly) fun, you can get rewarded for playing them. The more you play them, the more money they’ll make.  You get little achievements for each game, and when you pass one, you’ll earn more money for that cabinet, too.  Also, each day you get a to do list, and many of the items on that list have you doing something for certain games.  If you complete items on your to do list, you get a separate currency you can use to buy upgrades that make your time management job easier.  You can even arrange the arcade games around so you can put less popular ones near more popular ones and they’ll make more money.  You can also raise and lower the price per machine for varying effects.

You’ll learn quickly that your arcade side hustle is making way more money than the laundromat.  I’m sure it’s not very realistic, but by the end of the game I was making around 10,000 dollars per day in the arcade.  If that were real, we’d be seeing way more arcades around in real life!  When you have enough money, you can order more arcade games and they get delivered by a van that just dumps them in the street.  But the box opens with a flash of lightning and you get new arcade game to make more money with!  I’m sure that’s how it works in real life, too.

Anyway, so I figured now I’d talk about each of the games you can have in your arcade.  They’re all fictional, but many of them imitate a classic arcade game.  Keep in mind that when I say a game on here is like another game, they really aren’t quite as good as what they are imitating.  Either because they may play slower, have less features, more bugs, or some other gameplay quirk.  Also, many of the games feature a fictional mascot character: a lumberjack named Woodguy.  I’m sure this is making fun of Mario as well as Pac-Man as Woodguy has a whole cast of characters like Woodgal and her dog.  But we’ll get to those games as we make our way down the list.

Air Hockey

Just a standard Air Hockey table you can play.  It’s actually one of the last things you can buy, too, which is surprising.

Attack Vector

This vector graphic game has you controlling a tank in top down perspective.  Helicopters come in from four directions and you must shoot them before they crash into you.  The hard part is you have to aim your turret at them and then fire, and having to wait for it to rotate makes it hard.  I wish you could just push in the direction you shoot.


So you remember when I said there are a bunch of games here starring a fake mascot named Woodguy and his friends?  Well this is one of those games.  Apparently Woodgal has a weenie dog named Zebby, and this game stars that dog!  Your dog is a paddle, the ball is his toy, and you must break blocks.  Clever play on words there, and you can select a stage after you beat one.  You get power-ups like in Arkanoid, too.  Pretty fun.

Blobs from Space

It’s just Space Invaders.  It has better graphics and some boss stages, but otherwise it’s Space Invaders.


This is a pretty original puzzle game and it doesn’t play like any other, so a lot of people like it.  I’m not one of them, though.  You have to arrange falling numbers and when a row or column of them match the amount of one of the numbers, it’ll disappear.  I don’t like math so that’s why I don’t like this one.  The graphics look like those falling green numbers from The Matrix and it has a hacker motif.

Bomb Dudes

It’s Bomberman.  You can do a single player adventure or four player party mode.  Only problem is that when you complete a level, you don’t get to keep your power-ups, which kind of misses the point.


Aw yeah, it’s Puzzle Bobble!  One of my favorite puzzle games!  I love how the backgrounds are crappy digitized photos of actual landmarks.  A lot of games did that back then.  Your opponents are characters from other arcade games here.  I just wish aiming was better.

Championship Darts

It’s an electronic dart board like what you see in bars and such.  They put it in a horrible place in your arcade, though.  Right next to the DDR ripoff!  I could see an accident happening right there!  I don’t fully understand the rules of darts.  It’s not all about making a bullseye every time.  A match can take forever here.

Communists From Mars

It’s Missile Command.  The graphics are a little better and they have voice clips telling you how many people died when a major city gets destroyed.  But otherwise it’s Missile Command.

Cyber Dance

A Dance Dance Revolution imitation, except here you push the D pad directions for the arrows instead of your feet.  There are only three songs to choose from.  DDR was a staple in every late 90s arcade back then, so it’s understandable they’d have it here, too.

Fruit Crush

It’s kind of a cross between Columns and Dr. Mario.  Falling fruit comes down a well, and you must rotate and move them to match up four or more.  To pass a stage, you must fill up a juice bottle with certain fruit matches.  It’s pretty fun for what it is.

Graffiti Ballz

This one is a pretty original concept.  You aim balls of gray paint from a spray can at the bottom of the screen, and when you match up two of the same color, they turn into one ball of another color.  So two grays make a red, two reds make an orange, two oranges make yellow, etc.  When you make a match, it fills up some of your paint can, so you don’t want to shoot willy nilly or you’ll run out.  A bit like bumper pool, a bit like Puzzle Bobble, but still pretty original.


Another vector graphics game.  You control a spaceship that’s constantly being pulled toward the center of the screen. Circles come in from the outside and you must find a hole to escape so you don’t collide into them.  The controls make this one really hard.


A pool table you can play on.  I used to play a lot of pool in my first year of college in our dorm basement.  I was never very good at it.  The table here oddly enough has a coin hopper you can collect money from.  Never seen that before!


Not an arcade game, but you can play music on it.  Only problem is the music isn’t very good.  Some of it sounds like crappy 90s music, other ones like 80s.  But it also drowns out the arcade sounds and is way too loud, so I never used it.  You can buy new songs for it and it does make you money, though.  And it looks cool.

Knuckles and Knees

You can buy this game, but it’s also given to you in the story.  In the game you invest in an arcade company and when the returns come back to you, they give you the game they were working on, and it’s this one.  It’s a side scrolling beat ‘em up.  It’s all right except I think the character graphics are a bit TOO blocky and chunky.  I wish they looked more 16-bit.  And they have a level up progression system that only serves to bog the game down.

One interesting thing about this game is that since you helped fund it, I guess they put in your arcade in the game.  You can actually go into it and play little mini-arcade games inside!  So it’s like mini-games within mini-games.  Mind Blown!  Granted they’re just very blocky simple stuff, but they do save your high scores in each one!  Here are the games in the game’s arcade:  Flyguy is just Flappy Bird.  Toad is a very simple Frogger game.  Brick is Breakout.  Snake is that one early cell phone game where you control a snake and eat things to get longer, but you must avoid hitting yourself.  And finally is Racer, a top down racing game where you must switch between three lanes to avoid cars.

Line Terror

It’s Qix.  There’s a four player mode, though, which I don’t think Qix ever had.

Meteor Madness

This tabletop vector game plays most like Asteroids, but has a few elements from Sinistar and Solar Jetman in it.  You must shoot asteroids, but some of them have diamonds inside.  You must get near the diamonds and use a grapple to pull them to a wormhole in your corner.  There’s a four player mode, too.  I hate to say this, because it makes it sound like I’m dishonoring the legacy of Asteroids, but I kind of like this game better.

Racer Chaser

What happens when you cross Pac-Man with…Grand Theft Auto?  You get Racer Chaser!  You drive around a yellow sports car in city mazes (there’s even one that’s exactly like the Pac-Man maze).  You must collect cash on the road (dots), and avoid the police cars (the ghosts).  You can pick up a skull icon (power pellet) that turns you into a tank so you can flatten the police cars temporarily.  You only get one life, but don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you get a Game Over when you hit a police car.  You just walk on foot, and can ‘shoot’ the police on foot by blasting music notes at them to make them dance for a short while so you can pass.  Then you can run and find another yellow car in the maze.  The graphics have that 3D PSOne era vibe to them.  It took me a while to get used to this game, but once I did, it kind of grew on me.  It’s one of the first games that I got all the goals in, and I had to empty the hopper from this one the most.


It’s Pong. The cabinet even looks like the old yellow Pong cabinet.

Slime Pipes

Kind of like Pipe Dream or Pipe Mania, except all the pipes are on the field and you must rotate them to direct the sludge.  I like these kinds of games a lot.  This one kind of reminds me of a cell phone game in terms of progression.

Space Race Simulator

It’s like OutRun with the super scaler graphics.  The cars are futuristic floating vehicles and your goal is to collect as many coins before time runs out so you can use them to buy upgrades so you can go further next time.

Stack Overflow

In this puzzle game, you must use a crane to move different colored boxes in a warehouse and stack the same colors onto other pallets.  It’s a neat idea, but you really have to plan ahead and the time limits are really strict.  It has 16-bit style graphics.

Strike Gold

The best way to win me over in a arcade game collection is make one of your games play like Mr. Driller, and give it to you early on.  And that’s what this game is.  It stars their Woodguy mascot.  Of course it’s not as good as Mr. Driller, but I still played it a lot.

Table Football

It’s foosball.  And not very good to play either.  I remember a lot of arcades I went to in the early 80s would have a bunch of foosball tables in the back that nobody played because they were more popular in the 70s.

Thump a Gopher

It’s Whack A Mole.  Just don’t hit Woodguy when he pops up.  It’s hard because both Woodguy and the gophers wear the same red hats!

Toad and Turtle

Can you guess what this one is?  Yeah it’s Frogger.  It could almost be called Frogger 2 because it features better graphics and scrolling stages!  But unfortunately it’s SO buggy that I couldn’t get very far.  I would fall into the water when I clearly was on a log, and there’s a stage that’s mostly water but I could just hop all over it!  Not very polished.

UFO Assault

Have you ever played Canyon Bomber?  This one’s like that, except with more urgency.  You are a UFO and must bomb skyscrapers with each pass.  You don’t control the UFO, just the bombs it releases.  But each time you make a pass, your UFO goes one notch lower.  So you have to bomb the tallest buildings so you don’t crash into them.  It’s hard, but at least a more original idea.

Video Air Hockey

Hey wait, there’s already a regular air hockey table in this game!  This one’s just a pixel video game version of it.  It’s one of the first games you get, and I actually like it better than the real table.

Vostok 2093

It’s a vertically scrolling space shooter, except the weird enemies take too many shots to kill.  You can collect coins to upgrade your weapons, but I lost interest in it before that happened.

Woodgal Jr.

You know those mobile games where you switch sides on a pole and must avoid things on either side?  Well that’s what this is, except you are chopping down parts of a tree and must avoid the branches.

Woodguy Jr.

Hey wait, this is just the same game except you’re Woodguy instead of Woodgal.  I felt ripped off having to buy the same game twice!

Woodgal’s Adventure

This is an RPG but the battles are like the match three puzzlers on cell phones, and it uses the same fruit graphics from Fruit Crush.  I guess Woodgal matches these fruits to cook for the ‘enemies’ with the goal to cook for the princess at the end of the game.  It’s a pretty long adventure, too.  As of this writing I still haven’t beaten it yet!  Luckily unlike most arcade games, you can save your progress here.

Woodguy Golf

It’s a simple 8-bit styled golf game where you can play as Woodguy or Woodgal in three different 9 hole courses.  Not bad for what it is.

Zombat 2

Last of the main arcade games is this twin stick shooter where you shoot zombies on a little island.  Four can play at the same time, and downed zombies can drop coins that you can use to buy new weapons that I couldn’t figure out how to equip.  Plus it takes way too many coins to buy anything anyway.  I guess the closest thing to this would probably be Smash TV.  It didn’t really hold my interest, though.

But that’s not all!  The pause menu brings up a little PDA device menu where you can look at your arcade games, goals, options, and such.  And one of the other things you can do on it is play a little continuous runner called Llama where you are a llama jumping over trees (or lollipops, I can’t tell).  And on your 90s style computer, you can also play Solitaire and Minesweep!


Of course the game has DLC, with a few other arcade games you can buy with real money.  They’re only a couple of bucks each, and you can get most of them in a three pack to save even more money.  I got them all since I enjoyed this game that much, but unfortunately none of them are that great.  But we’ll go over them anyway.

Cyber Dance: Euro Mix

It’s the same as Cyber Dance except with three different songs.  I don’t know why they couldn’t combine them to have six songs on one cabinet.


The cabinet is shaped like the early Space War game, and the graphics are simple lines.  You are a stick figure trying to climb a mountain by pressing L and R alternately, stopping to avoid rocks being thrown at you by people.  It’s just a little weird and unsettling, and makes me wonder if they were trying to make reference to that Polybus urban legend.

Kung Fury

This is the only licensed game on this collection, and because of that it’s the only one you have to buy separately.  It was apparently a movie back in 2015 but I don’t remember it.  After reading the plot of it, I kind of want to see it though.  But it’s really hard to get on DVD and it’s not on any of the streaming services I have, so oh well.  Anyway the game looks like the 16-bit sidescrolling beat ‘em up I wanted, but it’s not.  You just press L and R to attack enemies on either side of you and try not to miss.  Very disappointing.

Penguin Push

Aw man, I first thought this would be like Pengo, one of my favorite arcade games.  With a name like that, why wouldn’t you think so?  But you know what it’s actually like?  Mario Bros.  And not a very good imitation either.  Half of the bottom part of the screen is water you can fall into and die (reminds me of Joust), and the play control and hit detection are awful.  Such a bummer!


At first glance it looks like one of those 90s ‘fighter jet over the water’ style shooters like Strikers 1945.  But it’s not.  You control a plane in a single screen trying to avoid heat seeking missiles for a certain amount of time.  And that’s it.

Smoke ‘Em

This is a light gun game where you shoot plate targets in a limited amount of time.  It reminds me of Point Blank, or more specifically, Police Trainer.  Those were two popular light gun arcade games in the early 90s.  Except here you don’t have a light gun and must move a cursor to shoot, so it’s very hard.

Summer of Sports

It’s Track and Field.  That’s all.

And those are all the games in Arcade Paradise.  I guess this game is most like Retro Game Challenge on the DS, except while the DS game focused on quality over quantity, this game is the opposite, going for quantity over quality.  I’d say you can just skip the DLC, as you’re not missing much, but the main game felt well worth the 20 bucks asking price.  If you’ve always dreamed of owning your own arcade (and what gamer hasn’t?) you may want to check this one out.  –Cary

2 Responses to “The Games of Arcade Paradise”

  1. I’m playing this on Xbox’s Game Pass right now. It’s fun.

  2. Hey, Kung Fury is an amazing retro inspired movie and well worth a watch.

    It was crowd funded and i believe released free on youtube for anyone to watch

    There is a sequel coming which features Arnold Schwarzenegger soon!

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