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:
-Minimalism -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 (byoac.com). 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.
-Dedicated PC; Dell P4 desktop (free from work)
-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
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.
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.