Museum of the Game ®

International Arcade Museum® — Killer List of Videogames®

Coin-Operated machine Cabinet Styles

There are many interesting cabinet styles for arcade, music, pinball, scale, slot, trade stim., vending, and video game machines.

The way we classify various cabinet types is as follow:

  1. UPRIGHT/STANDARD - This refers to any standard coin-operated machine that sits directly onto the floor. This includes most videgames, nearly all pinball machines, and nearly all other machines that do not sit on a table-top or otherwise fits into one of the other categories below. In the case of videgame cabinets, uprights, standing at 5 or 6 feet tall, are the norm in North America. Controls are are usually set perpendicular to the monitor at around waist level. A monitor is housed inside the cabinet at approximately eye level. A marquee, often lighted, hangs at the top of the cabinet. Below the control panel a coin-door is usually found, and the sides of the cabinet often displays interesting themed art.

  2. CABARET/MINI - Cabaret or mini cabinets are shorter versions of upright cabinets. They are often smaller in each dimension (height/width/depth), and can have a smaller monitor. Space saving and relatively child friendly, they are much less common than full upright cabinets.

  3. CANDY/JAPANESE - These (often white) plastic cabinets are common in Japan and China. A player often sits on a chair to play them and thus these machines often have their monitors pointed slightly upwards, and often have monitors pointed slightly upwards (ie: a 30 degree angle). A nice list of Candy Cabinet Designs can be found on Wikipedia.

  4. COCKPIT/ENVIRONMENTAL - These cabinets typically go up and over the player who sits or stands inside. Examples would include the larger cabinets for Discs of Tron and Sinistar. This was the hardest category to decribe on this page as many collectors themselves may refer to themed machines (w/ or w/o motion) as 'Environmental' units. Here we are making the distinction and are thus using the term 'Enviornmental' in a narrow sense.

  5. COCKTAIL - Cocktail cabinets are called such as they look like small tables and thus a player can set a drink down on top of the glass. They achieved a lot of popularity in bars and restaurants. In these cabinets, the monitors typically face straight up. Controls are typically found at alternate sides of the cabinet for games with alternating play (ie: Ms. Pac-Man), and side by side for games with simulatenous play (ie: many fighting games). While a few of the cocktails (ie: Asteroids Deluxe, Centipede, Crystal Castles, Dig Dug, Missle Command, & Warlords) are actually configurable to be standing table games due to leg extensions, their common configuration was in cocktail mode, and thus appear in this category.

  6. COUNTER-TOP/TABLE-TOP/BAR-TOP - These small cabinets fit directly on top of a table or counter. Many vending machines, trade stimulators, and arcade games from the mid 1900s fall in this category. Very few pinball machines were made this way. Videogames made in these cabinets are often gambling, trivia, or collectors of simple screens, are often found with touch screens, and are usually found in bars, lounges, or restaurants.

  7. DELUXE/THEMED - These cabinets often have the player sit (or stand) in the shape of an item a game is themed in. That is, in a driving game, a player sits down in a car or boat (which may or may not move during play). In other games, a player may stand on a surfboard, skateboard, or snowboat. Many of these cabinets move via hydraulics, and some even spin the player around 360 degrees (ie: Sega's R-360 or the more recently release Storm-G).

  8. DELUXE/THEMED (with motion) - Many of 'deluxe' or 'themed' cabinets move via hydraulics, and some even spin the player around 360 degrees (ie: Sega's R-360 or the more recently release Storm-G).

  9. HOME MODEL - These typically refer to cabinets that were relased for 'Home' use, and thus look often like typical arcade cabinets, but without any coin mechanisms. A few pinball machines and videogames were made this way, either as home versions of commercial games or as machines simply created for the home market.

  10. TABLE/ISLAND - These are tall table cabinets. Like cocktail cabinets, the monitors face upward. Instead of sitting on either side, however, players stand around the cabinet to view the monitor and control game play.

  11. WALL HANGING - This is simply a cabinet designed to hang on the wall. Many vending machines, and a few arcade and slot machines were made in this configuration. Only a few videogames were produced in this configuration, including a Scandinavian version of Atari's Breakout (image below).

  12. ALTERNATIVE - We use this cabinet category for instances in which an unusual cabinet design was made as an option for a particular game in addition to a standard upright version. Examples would include the highly unusual fiberglass version of Space Race (image below), which was made in addition to standard upright cases. Other examples would be the plastic Duramold cabinet versions of games such as Blaster and Bubbles.

Different machine types in our database permit different cabinet styles to be specified:

  Arcade/EM Music Pinball Scales Slots Trade Stims. Vending Video Games
   (any standard floor model machine)
Cabaret/Mini Cabinet
   (short/small floor model cabinet)
YES             YES
Candy/Japanese               YES
   (no motion)
YES             YES
Cocktail     YES         YES
Counter-Top/Table-Top/Bar-Top YES YES YES   YES YES YES YES
Deluxe/Themed Participation
   (motocycle, race car)
YES             YES
Deluxe/Themed Participation
   (with motion)
YES             YES
Home Model
   (made without a coin mechanism)
YES   YES         YES
Table/Island         YES     YES
   (a few select games only)
   (non-standard alternative cabinet)

Left: Cabaret/mini Right: Upright Bottom: Cocktail
Wall Hanging

Our custom cabinet category system is copyrighted material.

Please do not republish without written consent.