surface tension arcade systems now running on Windows 10

All things must move forward. We have just rolled out our last arcade table on Windows 7 with surface tension arcade systems now running on Windows 10. It has taken a bit of setting up, but we’re now all configured for Microsoft’s latest operating system.

We really liked Windows 7 for its familiarity as a desktop OS, but the evolution to a more contemporary interface was the way forward.

surface tension arcade systems now running on Windows 10

After tinkering around with Windows 10 for a few weeks, we love it and feel it complements our Nucleus and Retrograde home arcade systems. We configure to a fairly simple specification – after all, we don’t want to tell our customers how they should have their desktops! It’s easy to navigate with the arcade trackball and buttons on the control panel. Customize and add your own apps with desktop access that we’re now accustomed to through the use of smartphones.

shuttle logo

PC hardware

We have been installing Shuttle PC systems in our products for around 7 years now, with the current stock model being the SH87R6. Attractive, robust and compact, these things are real performers. We kit them out as standard with the Pentium CPU, 4GB RAM and 1TB HDD. We’ll also work with you on creating your own custom spec PC.

gameex logo

Arcade frontend

Running the games menu system on our home arcade systems is GameEx. It’s highly-configurable and oh so easy to navigate. It’s configured to run the pre-loaded games but easy to add your own computer and console emulators. There are tremors of the updated GameEx Evolution which looks to give surface tension arcade systems an even slicker interface.


Dansurface tension arcade systems now running on Windows 10
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Nucleus arcade table at The Ideal Home Show

You may have seen on our Twitter or Facebook feed that we have a Nucleus arcade table at the Ideal Home Show this year. (It’s on until Sunday 3rd April btw) The Nucleus featured in the Ideal Smart Home powered by Virgin Media.

Ideal Smart Home Powered by Virgin Media

We visited on the first day to make sure everything was good with the table on the stand. After all it would be getting a good hammering over the 17 days! We met the great staff manning the Virgin Media Smart Home and maybe even had a quick game on the table!

virgin smart home staff

Every day at the Ideal Home Show in the Virgin Media Smart Home there were multiple presentations on some ideas on creating a smarter home. We got ourselves over for the first one, which included special guest Suzi Perry. So I couldn’t resist challenging her to a game of Bubble Bobble.

Suzi Perry arcade table surface tension

Suzi was only there for the first presentation, along side the amazing Lee talking the crowd through some of the items within the smart home. Lee was then to soldier on alone for the rest of the 17 days.

Suzi Perry ideal smart home

BeoPlay A9

This features the BeoLink Multiroom technology, which unites your B&O PLAY and Bang & Olufsen products into one wireless system. You can play different music in different rooms – or let one song play on all your speakers throughout the home. Connect using AirPlay, DLNA or Bluetooth 4.0 and you will be playing your music in a matter of seconds.

beoplay a9 ideal home show


A fully integrated desktop 3D scanning solution with 3D object capture, editing and multiple streamlined 3D print options. Now anyone can grab something from the real world, manipulate it in the digital world, and bring it to life in physical space.

sprout scanner ideal home show

Smart light bulbs

There were 3 smart light bulbs up in the kitchen. The LIFX Colour 1000 with smartphone control over wifi. The Olixar Lightbeats controlled by Bluetooth, plus also plays your music! The Vocca pro is a voice-activated bulb which can be turned on or off by command.

smart light bulbs ideal home show


An interactive wireless pet camera that helps you stay connected to your pets when you are not at home. Petcube pet monitor system lets you watch, talk and play laser games with your dog or cat from anywhere using your smartphone. You can share access to your pet video cam with your friends, family or anyone else on Petcube network.

petcube ideal home show

Smarter Coffee

Enjoy Smarter Coffee with a wifi enabled brew station. The machine will grind the beans up before brewing, so you will always have the fresh stuff but without the wait. You can set it going straight after your alarm goes off so when you get downstairs, you’ll have a fresh cup in your hand without any wait.

smarter coffee maker ideal home show

Nucleus arcade table at The Ideal Home Show

Along side all of these great products was our Nucleus arcade table at the Ideal Home Show. If you have been to the show and had a play on the table, or are planning to go, send us a tweet or Instagram snap using #surface_tension_design.

Nucleus arcade table at The Ideal Home Show

Nucleus arcade table at The Ideal Home Show

Nucleus arcade table at The Ideal Home Show

Nucleus arcade table at The Ideal Home Show

DanNucleus arcade table at The Ideal Home Show
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The classic arcade gets a high-end makeover

Over the Christmas break, I took the time to have a chat with one of the guys working over at The Wall Street Journal in the US. It was about a feature looking into arcade gaming at home and how things have evolved that you don’t have to have a 40-year old machine in your lounge to be enjoying the old arcade classics.

Wall street journal arcade article

Wall Street Journal final cut

We spoke for quite a while (long enough that I had to pause The Great Escape on TV) about how things came about and what led us to be doing what we are. How in the 80’s I used to cycle about 5 miles to the nearest arcade with my friends, burn out all our pocket money on Gauntlet, Double Dragon and Outrun, then cycle home again. Ah, those halcyon days of school holidays and my BMX. However, none of that made it into the article as Tyler Bushnell took the lion’s share of the page (hey, my dad worked in banking!) But we got our Nucleus arcade table into print as well as online with a couple of other great looking home arcade systems!

See it here on the WSJ online…

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DanThe classic arcade gets a high-end makeover
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retrograde arcade cabinet from surface tension

You will probably have seen our prototype upright machine already if you follow our facebook page, so I’m finally writing a blog post for it. Retrograde was produced earlier in the year and first exposed at the Revival retro gaming event where it it was extremely well received and got a good play-test! It’s surface tension‘s own spin on the classic upright arcade system.

We wanted to make something that stood out a little for the first one, so opted for ebony macassar veneer, which has a wonderful contrasting finish. The centre black sections are finished in gloss black following on the trend from our arcade tables. On to the pictures and specs…

upright arcade cabinet view from right

Ebony macassar veneer sides, black hi-gloss panels and 24″ LCD.

upright arcade cabinet control panel
Ultimarc Ultrastik 360 joysticks, Happ pushbuttons and 2 1/4″ trackball.

arcade cabinet control panel function buttons

Powder coated aluminium control panel with screen print.

arcade cabinet inset tweeter

Component tweeters aimed at head height.

arcade cabinet speaker cover

Discreet woofers close to the player.

arcade control panel screen print

Smoked, toughened glass.

upright arcade machine pc storage

Enclosure for housing the Shuttle PC and peripherals, using Soss invisible hinges.

surface tension arcade marquee

Illuminated marquee with our surface tension branding, but will ultimately be customisable.

Like our arcade tables, we also fitted this out with a Shuttle PC, running Windows 7. All arcade games launched using the GameEx interface. We also had the Steam platform running at the show as there’s some excellent cab-friendly games available.

We’re looking to launch this product in a range of finishes early Q1 2014.

Get in contact if you would like to find out more on this or any of our other products.


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Surface Tensionretrograde arcade cabinet from surface tension
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Custom hangUP arcade coat hooks

Custom hangUP arcade coat hooks

We recently created a set of custom hangUP arcade coat hooks for an under stairs cupboard. So rather than the standard 4UP with 4 balltops, this one held the mammoth number of 15 ball tops.

Presented on the standard height walnut back board, the pink ball tops were selected to match the pink wall behind. It also included the 4 player button, plus the ends were angled to be vertically parallel.

We grabbed a few photos from the proud new owner, so starting off with an arty Instagram snap, here they are…

walnut and pink coat hooks

Genuine Happ 4-player arcade button which is reduced in height to fit the veneered panel.

Arcade coat hooks with 15 balltops

Polished aluminium shafts and genuine Sanwa Japanese arcade balltops. Hard to find though they are, we only fit the 30mm version to ensure you can get your coat hanging loops over them!

row of pink balltops on arcade coat hooks

Walnut veneer back board with brass screw cups as per our standard hangUPs.

custom arcade coat hooks with pink balltops and walnut panel

We have produced a couple of custom coat hooks in the past, so if you are interested in something like this, drop us a message at surface tension.

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Surface TensionCustom hangUP arcade coat hooks
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surface tension Dual in House magazine

We’ve just been sent details of our inclusion in House Magazine. A great high-end property magazine covering a whole range of subjects, including interior design. Our first entry is nestled in on the same page as the sweet looking face warmer.

house magazine arcade table articleHouse showcases many high end homes as well as all sorts of furniture and fun items to have in your home.

surface tension Dual ::  House Magazine

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Surface Tensionsurface tension Dual in House magazine
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The Cool Stuff Collective @ MTV Studios

Last weekend surface tension rocked up to MTV studios in Camden to meet up with Matt from Archie Productions and drop off one of our Arcane systems to be filmed for a part of the show – The Cool Stuff Collective.


After dropping the table off first thing in the morning, we took a bit of time out to wander around Camden, which involved the discovery of a rather good board game shop! We then headed back in the afternoon to be on-hand during filming.

As we waited outside Studio B, Eamon Homes strolled out, meaning it was our turn to head in and set up. We met up with the crew, who were an amazing and friendly bunch.


We met up with Matt again… now in a gorilla suit, plus Sy who was allegedly turning into a gorilla. You can see from his hands and feet that this was the truth.


So, I got them set up and comfortable with the controls, albeit a little awkward with the oversized, hairy gorilla hands! The large studio door was then sealed and we stood back and watched them get on with it. So the gorilla and his pri-mate sat and watched a movie clip and played some Bubble Bobble, based around some comical monkey-based banter!


The episode of The Cool Stuff Collective will be aired on Mon 29th Nov, Friday 3rd, Sunday 5th Dec on CITV. Plus on ITV1 on Saturday 4th Dec.

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Surface TensionThe Cool Stuff Collective @ MTV Studios
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The new surface tension table

We’ve recently been down at Patrick’s bar in Parkstone, Bournemouth running a photo shoot for the new surface tension arcade table. It’s not going to replace the existing system, but offer an alternative for those with different tastes. The website should be updated soon, but in the mean time here’s a few images to keep you going…

arcade coffee table next to couch in patrick's bar

The new table in full… solid wood frame with full toughened glass top.

arcade table control panel

Discreet control panel with the same high-quality arcade parts. Note that the future systems will now ship with a slightly longer panel, incorporating either Happ concave or Sanwa convex buttons and a spinner, as well as the 2­.25″ happ trackball. All on the same high-quality grained, anodised and silk-screened aluminium control panel.blank.png

walnut table leg and speaker cover for arcade coffee table

The re-designed speaker system and 6mm toughened glass top.

walnut corner detail joint

Mortise and Tenon corner joint… Walnut frame with inset Maple. We can manufacture to your specification if you require a specific timber or finish. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.

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Surface TensionThe new surface tension table
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