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Choosing a Basketball Arcade Game

Choosing a Basketball Arcade Game

Lease or buy? Paper or plastic? Punt or go for it? Life is filled with such difficult decisions. And perhaps none is more vexing than when purchasing a basketball arcade game.

To help out, we’ve compiled this guide of key considerations. We’re primarily looking at “home” basketball shooting games, such as the Pop-A-Shot Home Dual Shot. Pop-A-Shot Premium games are on another level (we’ll make sure to point out some of the differences).


Almost all games are constructed of metal tubes, ranging in diameter from .75” to 1.5”. Generally speaking, the larger the tubes the sturdier and better constructed the game.

The Pop-A-Shot Home Dual Shot uses 1.5” tubes.

Pop-A-Shot Premium games are constructed of durable-yet-lightweight PCV pipes or old-fashioned American steel.


Almost all backboards are constructed of fiberboard, typically ¼-½” thick.

The Pop-A-Shot Home Dual Shot’s backboard is ½” thick.

Pop-A-Shot Premium games use the thickest backboards in the industry: ¾” thick, made by custom cabinet maker Crestwood.


This is largely a matter of cost, space and personal preference. It can be fun to play someone head-to-head, but there’s also something to be said for being able to jeer your opponent as he shoots.


Most games are 70-90” long, 80-90” tall and 25-50” wide. “It’s bigger than I expected” is a common reaction after putting a game together. If space is at a premium, make sure the game folds up, reducing its depth several feet.

The Pop-A-Shot Home Dual Shot folds from 88” long to just 37 ½”.


If you think you’ll need to move the game, look for one with wheels. Most games weigh 30-80 lbs., so you don’t want to have to drag it around.

The Pop-A-Shot Home Dual Shot is the only game on the home market with wheels.


There are two basic methods for tracking made baskets: paddles and infrared sensors. Paddles are plastic arms that extend beneath the rim. Every time a ball goes through the basket the paddle is depressed and a basket is counted. Infrared sensors “peer” through the backboard and count baskets that go through the hoop. Neither system is perfect (both will miss made baskets and count missed shots), but infrared is more consistent and less likely to break.

All Pop-A-Shot games use infrared scoring.


Games typically come with 3-7 “mini” basketballs.

The Pop-A-Shot Home Dual Shot comes with 7 balls.


Games are either battery-powered (typically 4 AA batteries) or come with an AC adapter (or both).


It’s almost impossible to know how long it will take to put together your game until you’ve done it. Most games take 1-3 hours to fully assemble (depending on building expertise and ancillary tools), so plan ahead if you’re setting it up on, say, Christmas Eve.

Pop-A-Shot Premium games come almost fully assembled and typically require less than 30 minutes to set up.


The mantra of “you get what you pay for” is certainly true when it comes to Basketball Arcade games. Spending more typically buys thicker, studier frames, backboards and rims; infrared scoring; larger, reinforced ball return ramps; and overall better design and construction.
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