The Exa board, by Exa-Arcadia, is something that has been a frequent subject of the posts here on Arcade Heroes. In case you missed those posts, let me sum it up in a sentence: The Exa Board is a modern Neo Geo MVS, a conversion kit that can go into an existing JVS cabinet (like a NAOMI cab) and is bringing new content to arcades in the form of game cartridges.
A number of games and development partners have pledged their support to the platform, which includes unique, exclusive content for any title that happens to have a console or mobile equivalent in existence. While many of the announced games fall under the shooter (shmup) genre, it also has shown fighting games, classic-style games, platformers, 4-player titles and more, as you can see from this sizzle reel posted online earlier this year.
The system recently shipped from Exa’s manufacturing facility in Tokyo to Japanese distributors, who are taking pre-orders through mid-November, but won’t be officially shipping the boards to customers until the end of the month, with the launch title, Aka & Blue, officially releasing on November 27th.
If you have been located outside of Japan, and have been patiently waiting for news on the system’s availability elsewhere, then today is the day you’ve been waiting for, as Exa-Arcadia has announced that pre-orders are now live on their website. Orders are expected to ship depending on stock, so as boards and cartridges are made available, they will ship. As such, locations that get their orders in early can expect to have a board in hand before the end of the year.
Some important notes before I get into a few more details:
- You’ll notice that pricing is in “SGD,” which is Singaporean currency. This is because the Exa-Arcadia company is headquartered in Singapore. The shop has a currency converter to USD, so you don’t have to go off-site to figure it out.
- The regions that this pre-order is available to at present are: North America (US and Canada), Europe and most of South America (current exception is Brazil, due to their nightmarish importation laws). As of this moment, they are also not shipping to: Russia, China, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea; Japan is handled separately
- Exa games support up to six buttons, so make sure that your cabinet has that many wired (per player).
You can purchase the machine itself, although without software, that is kind of a moot point; as such, there are six games that are part of the launch line-up:
It’s also important to note that if you plan on picking one of these kits up, that you install them into a proper cabinet. They have been designed for JVS cabinets (think NAOMI), and thus work great with most Japanese “candy cabs.” That is one challenge here in the US, which doesn’t have a lot of those around, so if you plan on getting a kit, you need to make absolutely sure that the LCD monitor in your cab has low input lag.
As a note, I have personally ordered an Exa kit; while I’ve been on the prowl for a proper Vewlix cabinet, I may opt for a Fun Company FunGlo cab and purchase my own monitor that is certified with low input lag. I’ll be posting about that on YouTube once everything is in hand and report back. (As a note, this video is a little older, so some information has changed since publication)
With all of that, it sets up 2020 as being the year where the landscape of arcade content is set to change drastically. We’ve not see shooters/shmups come along like this in a long time; the last was Skycurser; fighting games have also been a “here and there” sort of thing without a lot of support. As always, I need to throw out the reminder that each of these games, while available on other platforms, do come with arcade exclusive content and features, which will differ from game to game.
All-in-all, I’m excited to see what the future holds thanks to the Exa-Arcadia. While they haven’t been the only kit solution to come along in recent years, they are the only ones bringing a lot of content to the table. I can also confirm that they have some major games in the pipeline – stuff that has beloved names attached to it that should delight arcade fans everywhere.