Surface Tension Nucleus Is The Arcade Coffee Table Your Living Room Needs


We’ve previously featured Surface Tension’s arcade coffee tables before, which hide an arcade gaming rig inside a refined-looking coffee table, so you can keep an actual gaming system in the living room without making your home look like a bachelor’s pad. The outfit is back this time around with their biggest system yet in the form of the Surface Tension Nucleus.

Billed as the mother of all their arcade coffee tables, the rig comes with their biggest gaming system yet, combining a 32-inch ultra-wide LCD with full two-player arcade controls. Whether you’re an arcade geek who can’t live without your favorite fighting game on tap or just a normal dude who wants something fun to go with your otherwise adult living room, this is just the thing to make your space seem complete.


In coffee table mode, the Surface Tension Nucleus measures 47.2 x 27.6 x 15.7 inches (length x depth x height), so it will make for an imposing presence in any room. Despite that, it looks like any regular coffee table, albeit one you expect to have a roomy cabinet or drawer for storage. That’s no surprise considering it combines a wooden frame with a 6mm glass top that’s tinted to help obscure the system underneath when you don’t actually intend to play.

Underneath that mix of wood and glass sit an actual Windows 10 PC, pull-out arcade controllers, and an ultra-wide display to let you get your arcade gaming fix. The system has been set up to use GameEx as its front-end launcher, although like any Windows PC, you can easily alter this according to your preferences. Four game sets are pre-installed, namely Taito Legends, Taito Legends 2, Midway Arcade Treasures Deluxe, and Atari Anniversary Edition. That combo runs up the total to over 100 games, so you’ll have plenty of titles to choose from right out of the box. It’s MAME-compatible, by the way, so you can add any retro game ROM you want without any problem, all while also running any traditional Windows game (you can use it with tons of indie games on Steam, for instance).


The Surface Tension Nucleus comes with a Shuttle PC running on an 3.2GHz Intel G3250 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard disk. It comes with Wi-Fi, so you can get online in a jiffy, with integrated Bluetooth allowing you to pair a wireless mouse and keyboard for using it like a regular PC. You can even swap the included PC for your own setup if you want something beefier, provided it will fit inside the compartment, which measures 12.6 x 8.2 x 7.5 inches.


It comes with onboard speakers packing a 130mm woofer and a 20mm tweeter, with two 30-watt amplifiers to give it a satisfying sound. For the arcade controls, it uses Sanwa JLW joysticks, Sanwa OBSF-30 buttons, a Happ 2.25-inch trackball, an Ultimarc Spintrak spinner, and a programmable keyboard encoder.

Pricing for the Surface Tension Nucleus starts at £3,299.

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