The New Star Wars Arcade Game Is Worth Tracking Down

The New Star Wars Arcade Game Is Worth Tracking Down

Star Wars Battle Pod might not be good enough to justify paying $US35,000 to have at home, but there’s no denying it’s the most fun I’ve had with an arcade game in years.

I’m not kidding about the $US35,000 price tag either. Bandai Namco announced yesterday it would let consumers start purchasing copies of Star Wars Battle Pod, and if you want the “premium edition” with “genuine leather seats” that move to the action, it’s actually $US100,000!

But for most you’ll run into Star Wars Battle Pod at the same place I did: the cinema.

We had time to spare before Avengers: Age of Ultron a few weeks ago, and despite the hefty price tag — each game costs a few dollars — my wife and I wanted to see what modern arcade games had to offer. For the first time in a while, I experienced something I couldn’t get at home, as Star Wars Battle Pod totally overwhelmed and immersed me a familiar, if fantastic, world.

Here’s what the machine looks like on the outside:

The New Star Wars Arcade Game Is Worth Tracking Down

It doesn’t really tell you much about what’s hiding on the inside: more monitors than your eyeballs can possibly process at once. Star Wars Battle Pod is meant to be too much to take in.

The New Star Wars Arcade Game Is Worth Tracking Down

The screen real-estate is so impressive, and you spend so much time merely trying to comprehend all the visual detail hidden around you. Lasers! Tie fighters! AT-ATs! It’s as much fun to watch the game as it is to play. In fact, it might be more fun to watch because you’re not the one screwing up the plan to blow up the Death Star because you’re going “oooh, pretty”.

My iPhone could barely capture everything that was going on.

There are so many reasons arcades aren’t a thing anymore, but for my money, I stopped showing up when the boxes attached to my TV were giving me the same experience. Consoles were cheaper, more convenient. Star Wars Battle Pod gives me something I can’t get at home.

Sure, virtual reality might get me closer, but it won’t be everything that makes Star Wars Battle Pod a delight. It made me feel like I was in the middle of a Star Wars battle, and that wasn’t just the graphics — it was the construction of the cabinet, too. If the same game were displayed on a regular television monitor, it wouldn’t have been the same. What makes Star Wars Battle Pod click is a sense of scale achieved by preventing the player from comprehending everything.

The only reason we stepped away from Star Wars Battle Pod was because The Avengers were calling. Thankfully, Jurassic World is out in a few weeks.


  • It’s a pity it costs so much, not sure if many ops will be able to justify the purchase as it would need great returns to pay itself off.

  • Reminds me of one of the older Star Wars arcade machines, although this one look more enclosed. Hopefully VR can provide something similar soon

  • I imagine IF one of those pods is in a regular arcade here in Aussie, if they still exist and I am not talking about the shitty Timezone in George Street, there would be a massive queue outside the pod? Also by the time you get to it the seat and controllers will be so abused the thing won’t work properly?

  • How did Bandai Namco manage this? I thought EA owned the video game rights to Star Wars? Is that only for home use i.e. excluding arcades? Or is it a sub-licence agreement type thing?

    Just wondering if there’s any chance of Namco making a console / PC port of this… could be interesting on the new VR headsets.

  • You know what would have been incredibly helpful?

    A list of locations where we might be able to play this beast..

      • The article was probably written for the US kotaku site, so good luck finding it here

        • I did not think of that. Checking Patrick’s profile it is for Kotaku US. Bugger

  • Oh wow, the last great impressive arcade machine i saw was the new afterburner and that was about 7 years ago.

    But this… I must find it!

  • I am possibly the first Australian to play it (in the wild)! I was in Tokyo when it launched in an arcade near Yokohama so I went down and plunked a few hundred yen into the coin slot. It was so freakin’ awesome- but also a rip off as well. You have to play each movie separately- that is, one play gives you one movie. If you want to play all the movies (+ Vader’s Revenge) each you have to pay four times.

    So I played it three times, twice to kill off the Death Star (and they do show you what happens when you don’t), and once to experience Vader’s Revenge (which is the hardest setting.) I then sat in the pod to just drink in the visuals and audio, until I was chased out by people who wanted to play it 🙂

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