It’s been two years since we first revealed the effort to create a new conversion kit platform for arcades by the name of the Exa-Arcadia, and after a variety of stories regarding the platform, I finally have one in my hands. The system is the first versatile kit system this industry has seen since the launch of the Airframe, promising to reinvigorate arcades with a flood of content. A number of developers have been revealed as working on games for the Exa over this time, and with the official worldwide launch offering five games for purchase (Aka & Blue Type-R; The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ; Infinos Exa; Akyrios Exa & Super Hydorah AC). Pre-orders opened back in November, but orders began shipping in January.
As the system was developed primarily in Japan, most of the testing has taken place there, with the system intended to go into existing Japanese JVS arcade cabinets such as those belonging to the Vewlix series or the Lindbergh Universal. Unfortunately, generic cabinets in the United States hasn’t really been a thing since the 1990’s, although there are exceptions.
After seeing that it would take a while to get my hands on the proper Vewlix model (one with low input lag), I decided to go for an aforementioned exception in the form of the FunGlo V4 by Fun Company. Based out of Wisconsin, FunGlo cabinets have generally been created for titles by Incredible Technologies (Golden Tee, Silver Strike, etc.), but they also make it with a joystick and buttons along with a JAMMA harness so it can work with a typical JAMMA board. I ordered one of those, taking advantage of their customization options which included featuring any logo I wanted etched into the plexiglass on the sides. Since I received my cabinet weeks before the Exa arrived, I put a Final Fight board into the cabinet, where it performed admirably well thanks to the giant screen.
For the screen, I picked up a TCL 55R625 4KTV. I picked this particular screen because of it’s fantastic ratings on quality and low input lag, it being one of the best models for gaming. That said, I have learned that where the Exa was made for DVI based Japanese cabs, there are some minor, but odd issues with auto resolution settings. It’s nothing that the normal person wandering into my arcade will notice, but the menu system defaults to 720p and if I try 1080p, the image looks sharp, but is zoomed in. As such, I’ve left it at 720p. The games report that they are running in 1080p mode, so it’s just the menu, thus being no big deal. Perhaps a firmware update can fix it down the road, but they also haven’t had any 4K cabs to test the system on, since there are no 4K Vewlix’s (or other Japanese cab) around.
It is also important to point out that since existing Japanse cabinets will have a JVS I/O board, but the FunGlo does not, I had to procure one before the Exa’s arrival. The Sega 838-13683-93 (Rev. B) board was recommended by Exa; I’d highly suggest this page for more details on the various JVS board and their pinouts.
But enough typing about it, let’s show you the process with this video:
This is just the beginning by all accounts – there are various games in development that have been announced, and quite a few that haven’t been announced, but will be soon. The end of this week is JAEPO 2020; while Exa-Arcadia will not be there this time, they will be holding their own open festival “shortly afterwards” in Japan that will reveal a number of these new titles and allow attendees a chance to play the games. The company will also be attending the Amusement Expo 2020 event in New Orleans (although not with their own booth, being available at another company, as yet unannounced). I will be covering any announcements from these events.
What do you think of the Exa-Arcadia from what you know, or have you played something on it already?