Taito announces mini arcade cabinet with rotating screen and trackball controller

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Taito is the latest Japanese video game publisher to breathe new life into old hardware in mini form. The company behind Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, and many more arcade classics just released the Egret II Mini, which, like Sega’s excellent Astro City Mini, is a shrunken version of a popular arcade cabinet.

The original Egret II was released in the 1990s, and its main feature was the ability to rotate the screen 90 degrees, allowing games with high aspect ratios – such as Space Invaders and other shooters — could be played in tate (vertical) mode. Appropriately enough, that feature is present on the Egret II Mini, which has a 5-inch 4:3 LCD that can be played back in both directions.

The Egret II Mini’s primary controls include six primary buttons and an arcade-style microswitched stick that can be adjusted from four to eight directions, depending on the game. There is also an optional expansion controller with a paddle input for games such as arkanoid, as well as a trackball for the likes of cameltry.

This is what the controller looks like. It’s 240 x 100 x 48mm, so it looks pretty big – somewhere between a traditional gamepad and a fighting stick.

Taito also sells a gamepad and an extra arcade stick as optional extras:

There are 40 games preloaded on the case itself, and the expansion controller also includes an SD card with ten games that use the paddle or trackball. Here’s the list of titles confirmed so far:

  • Space Invaders
  • moon rescue
  • qix
  • Lift action
  • Chack’n Pop
  • Bubble Bobble
  • Rastan Saga
  • Rainbow Islands Extra
  • New Zealand story
  • Don Doko Don
  • Violence fight
  • kadash
  • liquid children
  • Metal Black
  • Kaiser Knuckle

The paddle/trackball games confirmed so far for the included SD card are:

  • Strike Bowling
  • Arkanoid
  • Chubby Doll
  • Syvalion
  • cameltry
  • Arkanoid Returns

In addition to the SD card slot, the Egret II Mini also has a USB-C port for power, two USB-A ports for controllers, an HDMI port for TV output and a headphone jack.

The Egret II Mini can get quite expensive depending on how big of a Taito fan you are. The case itself costs 18,678 yen (~$170), the expansion controller is 12,078 yen ($110), the additional arcade stick is 8,778 yen ($80) and the gamepad is $3,278 yen ($30). There is also a limited 49,478 yen ($450) bundle that includes everything plus some extras like soundtrack CDs, and a 32,978 yen ($300) bundle that excludes the arcade stick and gamepad.

In any case, there’s time to save your yen – the Egret II Mini won’t ship until March 2, 2022.