There's something satisfying about the sound of a quarter rolling into an arcade game and plinking down with its brethren somewhere out of view. You won't get that noise if you try out Liberty Games' rigged-up Bitcoin arcade machine, but you will get to play your choice of Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, or any of dozens of other classic games.
Liberty Games took a Cosmic II full-size arcade multigame cabinet and modified it to accept Bitcoin payments. You scan a QR code on the machine with your smartphone and then pay up in exchange for game credits. Once paid, you're free to blast away at the old-school video-game baddies.
The modification functions thanks to some clever work with Raspberry Pi and the PiFace interface, which act as a go-between for the arcade machine's coin mechanism and the online Bitcoin payment mechanism. As far as the machine knows, it just received a regular coin, so the system could be adapted to almost any arcade cabinet.
Because Bitcoins are worth about $820 each, it only takes a small fraction of a Bitcoin to play a round of Centipede. A video showing how the machine works lists the price as Bitcoin 0.00698812 per play. One Bitcoin could conceivably last you for a year of games, depending on how much you play and how fast you run out of lives. That means a single "coin" could unleash the most epic series of arcade challenges the world has ever seen.