New High Score
Custom Multicades Gives Your Favorite Arcade Machines an Extra Life
Writer / Mallory F. Wright
Everyone has that one family member they go to who can fix any and everything. The person who can find the solution to any problem and solve the piece of the puzzle. The person who tinkers away at projects endlessly and comes up with a masterpiece at the end of the day. Will Robbins would be that person.
Robbins grew up on a 14,000-acre farm in Madison, Indiana that had roughly 150 head of beef cattle. He knew how to drive by the age of 8 and could fix any problem on the farm. And when he finished all his farm chores, he would venture to the local bowling alley and convenient store to play arcade games.
It wasn’t until Robbins had left the farm, moved to Louisville with his dad and started working for Geek Squad that he realized his puzzle solving wasn’t just a fortunate attribute but a way of life. Robbins’ buddies and brothers started bringing him old arcade machines to fix — the mother board had a short, the sound was no longer working, the lights were fading the sheet wood was rotting. After fixing these machines and reminiscing on his childhood memories, Robbins got the idea to start making his own arcade machines. He wanted his company, Custom Multicades, to specialize in custom built Multicade Arcade machines to fit everyone’s imagination.
For the next two years, Robbins rented a small shop in the Old Industrial park, invested in sheet wood by the bulk, bought and installed Turbo Cad software and ordered shipments of PC screens. By hand, he cut out the dimensions of the traditional arcade machine frames and started putting the pieces together. But instead of creating the traditional arcade machines, Robbins created customized Multicade Arcade machines that featured not one arcade game but featured a 60-classic game pack, and he also designed the shell of the machine to each individual’s preference.
“Multicade is used to describe an arcade video multi game system, that is capable of playing multiple arcade video games in a single arcade video game cabinet,” according to the company’s website. Robbins began selling 50 Multicade Arcade machines every month, on average. Everyone wanted to have the chance to relive their childhood and play Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Centipede, Mario, Frogger and the list goes on.
The more Robbins tinkered away at building these customized Multicade Arcade machines, the more his business grew. He invested in a CNC machine and moved into an 8,000-square foot building in the old Riot Skate Park in J-Town. With the investment of the CNC machine and the additional space the new location provided, Robbins’ business took off. He was able to produce machines more quickly and efficiently. Each machine is still built individually and put together by hand. They build the traditional uprights with options of vertical and horizontal screens with features to have two players to offer the real authentic gaming experience, cocktail tables with two screens and duel panels for a less obvious look and even barrel stands to produce a bar-top model. The more options he had, the more customization he could offer to his customers.
To Robbins, his business isn’t work. He looks forward to going to work everyday. And there aren’t off days. Orders are always coming in and there are always machines that need to be built. Most of his customers are parents — the ones who grew up without video game consoles and went to the arcades.
“Everyone has their game. And a story behind it,” he says. “Galaga was at the bowling alley and Gauntlet was at the top of the hill in the convenient store.
And growing up, that’s where you could find me.”
In 2017, Custom Multicades, is at an all time high in sales and revenue. They have distributors in 14 states and are producing 15-20 machines weekly. But the reason for their success isn’t for the good quality and customer service, like most successful businesses. While they produce great quality work and have a quick return on all orders, their success has been based off their prices and customization.
“Pricing is why people buy from us, customization is why people refer us,” Robbins says when describing his company’s success. “No-one offers the customization to arcade games, and that’s where the success is at.”
He can customize any order as no one wants to have the exact same machine as someone else — they want their own, unique design. Custom Multicades offers classic game packs in orders of 60 and 412 and traditional game packs in 750, 1,162 and 2,100. Some of the common custom requests are UL/UK house divided, Maker’s Mark, Pink Floyd or half Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. Robbins glues and screws each piece together by hand and ensures that every machine is above par.
When you walk into the shop, you’re greeted with saw dust and nostalgia. You can’t help but be drawn in the direction of the original Donkey Kong Arcade machine in anticipation to hear the sound of the start up. You’re enamored by the line of bourbon barrels lit up with colors showcasing their arcade theme. Meanwhile, Robbins is busy working on the CNC machine, customizing his upcoming order and tinkering away on his next project.
The multicades start at $900 each, which is a massive discount over what you’d pay in a retail store for the same machine.
Purchasing direct from the manufacturer is always a bonus. More information can be found at custommulticades.com. Robbins can be reached for questions and orders at 502-494-6619.