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10:15 PM on 03.29.2009

The Retroforce Game Museum: Almost Done!

Its been awhile folks. The Retroforce Game Museum has sat idly by since September while I busied myself with schoolwork. I couldnt bear to see it sitting there all half finished any longer. Ive been putting in some hours the past couple of days to push it closer to completion. Advice to cab builders: don't make your cab playable until it's finished.

Heres my progress report:

-covered control panel in wood grain vinyl
-added speaker fabric
-secured speakers
-added marquee light & reflective backing
-designed and printed marquee
-attached marquee (sandwiched between 2 pieces of plexi)
-designed and built screen bezel

All that is left to do is get a big piece of plexi glass to cover the viewing area and get the side art printed.

But enough jibba jabba, pics or it didnt happen right?

Heres the marquee I designed. I just used some of the assets from the sideart, along with more inspiration from Galaga.

Love this shot.

My room mate Kaiyan rockin some SFII

And a special treat, the cab in action!
[embed]126787:18385[/embed]   read

12:49 PM on 09.09.2008

The Retroforce Game Museum: Painted and Playable!

I got a lot of work done on The Retroforce over the long Labor Day weekend. But unfortunately, things have come to a temporary halt as I spent all last week moving. The cab has survived the move with only a minor scratch, but it will eventually be covered by the side art so I’m not worrying about it. Anyway, on to the pictures!

Used some spray lacquer to seal the exposed sanded MDF.

My “Destructoid-green” t-molding arrived just in time!

Retroforce, meet Retro-Prime!

This is towards the end of a two-day long cycle of paint-sand-paint-sand-paint-sand…rinse and repeat. It was a lot of work, but it looks fantastic! All glossy-like :)

So after everything was all dry, I started to attach the t-molding. Since I didn’t have a rubber mallet, and since the stores were closed, I had to improvise. A little Yankee ingenuity later, and you have a rubber mallet replacement! (aka: a hammer wrapped in a towel)

Sorry for the crappy photo... I cut a notch in the t-molding to go around the corners.


Installing components, beginning to wire it up!

Ground wire is daisy-chained.

In the middle of wiring/packing, what a mess!

Here she is all rigged up and in a playable state at the old apartment, sorry for the crappy cell phone pics, my camera had already been packed away. I’ll take some photos of it in action in the new house when I get home tonight.

Hopefully I’ll get settled in the new place soon and I can continue work on The Retroforce. Here’s my remaining checklist.
-finalize/order artwork
-make a screen bezel
-buy plexi glass for the screen/bezel area
-cut plexi glass for the control panel
-rig up marquee light
-tidy up my game lists/install other systems

So close!!!   read

11:35 AM on 08.27.2008

The Retroforce Game Museum: woodworking 95% complete!

As of last night, I am 95% done with the woodworking on The Retroforce Game Museum. I added the speaker shelf and the back door, and then I used wood putty to smooth over all the areas where I had countersunk the screws. That way, when it is painted, you’ll never know they were there. I realized I needed an extra hinge for the front door, and I’m waiting on my slot-cutting bit from so I can route the edges. Just those two things left and it’ll be ready for prime and paint. I’m so glad to finally be finishing the woodworking!!! I’m hoping by this weekend I’ll have it painted and then I’ll start the wiring.

Here are some pictures of its current state…

Speakers! I drilled the holes and then routed out 1/2” in the back to set the speaker units in. I need to figure out some way to secure them to the wood, I just threw ‘em in there to see how it looked. I may de-case them. Would that make the sound quality bad? I’m no audiophile, they just need to be LOUD.

The rear door is installed. Note the authentic lock! (For some reason I’m really excited about those locks :)

Here she is all wood-puttied up, and posing with the retro-vac! Like I said, the front door isn’t attached yet because I need to get another piano hinge, but I just propped it up with a 2x4 to see how it looked. It will also get a cam-lock like the back door.

Player’s eye-view. The controls sit at the perfect height for standing, even though the unit is rather small. The monitor is at a roughly 30 degree angle.

Control panel close up. I’ve since sanded the trackball area flat and flush with the rest, it wasn’t dry in time for this shot.

Before I settled on the final side art design, I was toying with the idea of having these “D-toid Kids” as characters. I guess they would battle the evil Mr. Destructoid, destroyer of rubik’s cubes. They are obviously heavily inspired by Mega Man/Astro Boy. I decided they were unnecessary, and I didn’t end up using them, but I thought you might be interested…

Today I reworked the artwork for the Retroforce Go t-shirts, and sent it off to Dyson. While I was mucking about in Adobe, I thought; why not make a couple desktop wallpapers? If you’d like another size, leave a comment or PM me. I just figured these are probably the most common, well they’re the ones I use anyway :)
1280x960   read

12:52 AM on 08.25.2008

The Retroforce Game Museum: Control Panel Overlay

Woo! Front page-GET! Thanks Hamza :)

A little update today. I'm out of town this weekend, so I haven't been able to work on my cabinet. I did order some green t-molding and the slot-cutting bit I needed from I also worked more on the artwork pieces for the cab.

So I'm finalizing my design for the control panel overlay (CPO) and I can't decide which version I like best. The inspiration behind this is the Atari 2600 and it's retro-wood-grain-goodness. Maybe you guys can help me, which CPO is better; real wood grain or illustrated wood grain?


12:49 AM on 08.23.2008

The Retroforce Game Museum: part 1

So you may have seen me hint at it in the site’s comments lately, and basically the entire reason I made that previous introduction post was so that I could share this. I just wanted to start my C-Blog all proper-like. Anyway, for the past month or so, I’ve been building an arcade cabinet. It will be a MAME machine. For those of you not familiar with it, MAME stands for “Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator.” Not only will my arcade cab have hundreds of arcade games, but it will also have several more retro systems and games. I’m thinking of including Atari 2600, Spectrum, NES, Master System, TG-16, SNES, Genesis, and maybe even Gameboy and Gamegear, among others.

I’ve spent about three months doing research, and the last two weeks working on the actual construction. My goals for the project are:

-Compact style
-Ease of use

My design went through MANY revisions before now. Originally, I was going to do a full on, full size Donkey Kong reproduction. Then it was a Galaga style, then a mini cab, a bartop, a cocktail, mini Donkey Kong, and then I finally settled on the Australian Lowboy style. I discovered this cabinet design while browsing the Build Your Own Arcade Controls forum ( It fits my design goals, it’s more compact than the American Cabaret style cabinets, and it’s more minimalistic. I’m going to use the Maximus Arcade front end to power everything to make it easy to use as well.

Some specs:

-Dedicated PC; Dell P4 desktop (free from work)
-Windows XP
-22” CRT Monitor (had a free 19” Dell, but I upgraded so the screen would fit the -proportions of the cab better)
-2 players, 6 Happ buttons each in straight “Street Fighter” styled layout
-2 Happ Competition joysticks with Versa Ball-tops
-3 inch Happ Arcade Trackball
-Custom artwork

Anyway, enough of that, onward to the pictures!

Some early concept designs & mockups for the cab and control panel.

Now the build pics…

First day of construction:
Cutting the pieces.

Bottom built.


Second day of construction:

Monitor shelf installed & test fitting monitor.

Control panel test fit.

I just had to stick in the controls and see how everything looked. This isn’t the final layout exactly, just playing around. (Nothing is wired yet)

Third day of construction (yesterday):

Added a piano hinge & latch so I can easily work on the CP.

Added casters for ease of movement; fixed in the back and free-moving in the front.

And finally, the artwork, this is my favorite part! I’m an artist, and I knew from the beginning that I wanted to create my own custom artwork for this project. I just couldn’t decide on a name or a theme. Then, one night I went for a run with my iPod. I was listening to my favorite podcast, Destructoid’s own Retroforce Go, and it came to me! “Retroforce” always has sounded like an old arcade game to me, and it just fits this project perfectly. You’ve already gotten a glimpse of the artwork in my banner, but here is the full piece. I’ve based it off the original Galaga sideart. Everything was hand drawn in Adobe Illustrator. I’ve even included the RFGO rubik’s cube logo! And of course, our own Mr. Destructoid.

I’m still working on the artwork for the marquee and the control panel overlay. I was inspired by the recent Atari 2600 podcast, and I’m thinking they’ll have a wood veneer look to them. :)

My next tasks will be to install the speakers, marquee, and doors. I also need to route out a slot for t-molding, and smooth the front corner of the control panel so the artwork will adhere easily. Then painting, installing the marquee and lights, and wiring up the controls.

You guys should totally come play it when I’m done.   read

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