Pandora Box 18S Pro arcade machine

Each time i think back to my childhood i keep in mind visiting the native arcade on a weekfinish, when away with my mother and father at the caravan park. It was great fun, assembly up with my friends and dropping 10p items into the arcade machine (my favourite one was Gauntlet by the way).

Moving 37 years on (strive to not work my age out) and whilst i’m still very a lot into gaming, owning the PS5, Xbox Series X, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch to name just a number of gaming platforms. I really miss the urge of booting up an oldie Goldie game from the retro era.

Now you may go down completely different routes in this space, and when you just google retro gaming, you will be faced with many 1000’s of posts and sites showing you how one can get lots of the older platforms to play within the privacy of your own home.

This will range from buying a handheld with retro arcade emulators constructed-in such as the Anbernic RG351P or using one of the older handhelds such as the Sony PSP to put your own emulators on. You possibly can even do this directly onto your Smart TV. As one other reviewer likes to say it really is a Jungle on the market, when it comes to Retro Gaming.

The other option available to you for retro gaming is the Pandora Box (now this really is a jungle). There are so many of these dwelling arcade machines available and they literally all do very related things. The main one being able to hook up to your TV or monitor and be graced with 1000’s upon 1000’s of retro games, all playable using true arcade sticks and buttons.

There are many, and that i mean MANY different variations of the Pandora Box out there. However for this review i will be looking on the Pandora Box 18S Pro which was sent to me for overview purposes by a company called Ploylab. They concentrate on retro gaming and sell different variations of the Pandora Box. The 18S Pro they sent me is one of their latest models and comes with some neat features which the older generation of Pandora Box don’t have.

When the Pandora box 18S arrived, it was very well packaged and surprisingly i was not slammed with any duty or taxes, which is something you need to be aware of when receiving anything of this type from outside of the UK.

As you can see in the image above it came with a multitude of accessories, together with 2x imitation PS controllers, VGA cable to connect to a monitor, HDMI cable to connect to a HD television (this was very lengthy at round 8ft), USB cable, USB hub (to plug the controllers into), 2 spare buttons, handbook (in English) and the Pandora Box itself.

One thing i should point out is you could purchase completely different variations, so not all Pandora Boxes will come with the additional controllers, though you will receive everything else.

I needed to quickly mention the controllers before heading into the machine itself. As you can see they look very similar to the old Playstation Controllers, which really sit properly in your hands. This will let you have up to four players, great for the likes of Gauntlet etc. Nonetheless don’t be fooled by how comparable they look to the PS controllers, as these do not really feel anything like them when holding them in your hands.

They really feel very light and low-cost, and at first i was very disenchanted when i picked them up. They just don’t really feel proper, it was like picking up a kind of cakes which looks like a strawberry, but whenever you bite into it, it tastes like a lemon (it tries to trick the mind). Generally they might switch off and stop working, and different occasions they’d work just fine. I really don’t know if i may or would advocate these with your buy, as you may probably purchase other ones which are better made/quality else where.

The Pandora box itself then again is the star of the show. The build quality is great, and whilst it does not use original Sanwa buttons or arcade sticks, they’re all very responsive with a lovely clicky feel to them, reminding me of my childhood days.

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