How To Build Your Own Arcade Machine

Since the creation of MAME, fans of classic arcade games can revisit their favorites without a weight mad cross-country tour for surviving old-school arcades. My first order of business with this MAME project is to figure out what style cabinet and controls I want – the only real reason I’m worrying about cabinet design at this point in time may be the number of buttons/joysticks and placement are going to rely on the cabinet design I choose. After months of researching and visiting a lot of different websites I came up with an economic plan that did not require a lot of time and the end result was a highly polished professional arcade system. Doesn’t it seem to have your own arcade machine that can play over 3,500 of the favorite arcade hits? There is something about the games you played as a youth in an arcade that cannot be reproduced.

MAME strives for a perfect emulation of old games, but it still has some flaws. Particularly, the sound circuits of some older games are too complicated to properly emulate so MAME “cheats” a bit by using samples of the sounds used in the game. So what are the main items you’ll need? A cabinet, a monitor, a computer and a joystick are the big things in your list.

Ordered a 28″ Monitor bezel from Happ Controls and used a utility knife to trim to fit. This hides everything on the TV except the screen.

In the classic standup cabinets like Centipede, with its loud sideart, towards the behemoth six-player, two-screen X-Men machines to the sit-down cocktail Galaga cabinets every game was its very own distinct experience.

I used some piano hinge to make the panel pivot up for maintenance.

There is a really slick power strip that allows you to have one device function as the control power for numerous other devices. For example, my PC may be the control so if I power up then the strip powers alternatively devices including the TV, marquee lights, and sound. Since every switch connects to the ground, you can save a lot of wire and reduce clutter by daisy-chaining your grounds. Ball-top Joystick: Joystick with a colorful ball as the handle. Often utilized in Japanese arcade cabinets. Sanwa and Seimitsu are renowned for quality ball-top joysticks. This is the type of joystick that gives you a “claw-hand” as seen in the sitcom Friends. My hand was claw-like before playing arcade games though. Happ: Manufacturer of crap control parts. Often mounts well in wooden panels. However, several classic older games such as Pac-Man Donkey Kong and Dig-Dug can’t handle diagonal inputs and therefore need a 4-way joystick.

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