Text: Deneb R. Batucan
WITH the initial want to create his very own “man cave” where he could store all his most precious items, Marvin Lim had the greatest project in mind: build arcade machines.
The fact that he had zero knowledge in programming and average knowledge in carpentry didn’t stop him. He decided to create his very own bar top arcade machine mainly as a project or an art piece that he could put on display in his man cave.
What started as a personal project to fulfill childhood dreams became a business that feeds on the nostalgia of so many ‘80s and ‘90s kids.
Marvin started The Mancave: Retro Games Cebu where they build arcade machines that can play any and all retro and classic games from old gaming consoles like NES, SNES, Sega, Atari, MAME, NeoGeo, GameBoy and many more.
“The retro games or classic games were the best kind of games ever made. The graphics may not have been the best but they were truly entertaining. They usually require a great amount of skill and tested your patience at times,” Marvin said.
All their machines are created from scratch using good quality wood. The internal parts are good quality products purchased from Taiwan. “They are sturdy and worth every single peso spent on it guaranteed,” Marvin said.
At first, Marvin thought that the hardest part of building these arcade machines was the actual internal and the electrical part of the device.
But the most challenging by far was the carpentry and woodworking. “It takes up most of your time and I am such a perfectionist, so I critic even myself,” he said.
Currently they have the two-player bartop arcade machines that can be customized to whatever retro game the client chooses. They also have piso arcade devices with multiple coin slots that could turn into a small business. In the pipeline is a new project where they are working on a mini version of a crane/claw machine and fight sticks. Marvin is still in the research and prototyping process for their newest venture.
Most of those in Marvin’s market are from the late twenties up — people who got hooked to classic or retro gaming. Whether they spent the last of what little money they had in arcades during the ‘80s and ‘90s as teens or had their own gaming consoles during that time, these people are hungry for some nostalgic gaming, and Marvin and his team are more than willing to feed that hunger.
Marvin’s arcade machines can be seen in his mini showroom at home and also at the FABLAB UP Cebu, where Retro Games Cebu started.
“No project is impossible. I literally had zero knowledge in programming, but with the help of the right people and with a little perseverance and some kind of madness inside me, I was able to do it,” Marvin said.