Freekade is a one-man show (with the support of some good friends and a very understanding fiancée) dedicated to re-imagining arcade machines for a modern world. Based in Milton Keynes, a city famous only for its roundabouts, Freekade was founded in 2008. I have a huge passion for retro gaming, and after looking to buy my own cabinet, I soon realised that all of the products on the market were either stupidly expensive (I am poor) or rubbish (I have standards). Another problem was that my fiancée refused to see the benefit of having a full size cabinet in the house. So I got to work…
Having worked in IT support for a number of years, I had the hardware and software side sorted very quickly, so my first real hurdle was building the cabinet with no tools. I started with a cardboard and papier-mâché proof of concept, which worked well and got a lot of “test time”. Moving on, I borrowed some tools and got the first machine built, with a lot of lessons learned and thankfully no fingers lost! Since then, I’ve continued to build and sell arcade machines to better my skills and level up my tools. Still working in the garden on fine UK summer days, I am now armed with a small workshops worth of power tools, allowing me to make a product I feel is worth its place in any home.
So what do we offer?
Freekade standard arcade machines are built around PC hardware, so inside the cabinet is a standard PC and an LCD monitor, or for smaller machines a laptop. They have Windows XP installed, and a program that runs automatically when the machine is turned on which shows all of the games that are currently installed on the machine and allows you to browse and select them using the arcade controls.
(A selection of games is supplied. Please do not contact us asking about ROM’s. We cannot and will not supply them)
The iPad arcade is our latest creation. This is a cabinet that will interface with your iPad and is compatible with a number of emulators available to the jailbreak iPad community. Inspired by an April Fool’s joke on the Think Geek website, the response to this product has been phenomenal. As well as being picked up by a number of the major online tech blogs (TechCrunch, Engadget) it made the USA Today website and reached the websites of a number of foreign news journals.
External drives are another new addition. We have managed to squeeze a massive 320GB of portable storage into a genuine NES cartridge - all you need do is plug it into your nearest USB port to be the envy of every retro gaming fan.
We are always looking to develop new arcade machine styles and retro gaming inspired extras, so check our blog or twitter feed to see what has been going on at Freekade.
Some of the machines currently featured on the site are the very first of their type and as such don’t have the same finish or technical specifications as our later models (this is also the reason for the poor pictures, not the fact that my camera is as retro as the games my machines play)! As newer designs are built, they will be posted with high quality images and more information about that particular model.
I am always interested to hear from anyone with questions or requests, and also if you have any concepts that you’d like to see given the Freekade retro gaming touch.