I’m setting myself the challenge this year to do something that I’ve wanted to do for ages… Build my own arcade machine. I’ve had this on my list for about 5 years now and I feel that this year is the year to do it. Or the year to start it at least!

Project ArcadeI was originally going to try to hunt down an old arcade cabinet that I could refurb, but I just think that could be difficult and a bit hit and miss, as I think a lot of them can have things wrong with them like water damage etc. It would be great to have a cabinet with some authenticity and history to it but it might not be the easiest route in the long run. I’ll still look but I think I may have to go down the other route which is to make a cabinet myself.

My bible for this project will be the awesome Project Arcade: Build Your Own Arcade Machine by John St. Clair.

Other resources I will be heavily relying on include the following:

  • Episodes 3,4 and 5 of the Retro Gaming Roundup podcast
  • http://chris.polymathic.net/cabinet/index.shtml
  • YouTube – Building a MAME arcade
  • YouTube – Homemade video arcade machine
  • http://arcadecontrols.com/arcade.htm
  • I’ll probably even get some inspiration from these mini arcade build videos

  • YouTube – Out Run Mini Arcade Cabinet
  • YouTube – Star Wars Micro Arcade Machine
  • YouTube – World’s Smallest Space Invaders arcade machine (maybe)
  • I’ll be blogging about this project at various stages. You’ll find it under the tag Home Arcade Machine on this blog #HomeArcadeMachine on Twitter. I won’t update about every little thing but hopefully every couple of months or so I’ll post an update. And I’ll try to do it in a way that someone else in the future who is an absolutely beginner at this sort of thing, like myself, might find useful.

    For this post today I’m just going to list a few questions that I will be asking myself or researching before I actually get my hands dirty. Most of these pertain to the first stage of the project which is making the actual physical cabinet…

  • What style of cabinet do I want? Will I design my own? Try to reverse engineer the design of a classic cab? Or perhaps there are templates already online that I can follow
  • Are there any restrictions to the size that I need to follow in terms of having a standard marquee size or a standard controller size so that I can use commonly found spare parts. One major element which will control the size of my cabinet will be the monitor size so I need to start thinking about where to get a monitor
  • I also want to look into things like ease of access into the computer inside in terms of a hatch in the front or back to access the keyboard and mouse, or even VP into the computer remotely etc.
  • And also an easy way to adjust the volume on the machine, so that it’s not too noisy when I play it at night
  • Let the ambitious project begin!

    PS – I’ll be posting two blog posts in the next week about my Top Ten Arcade Games and also one about what games I would actually like to own myself. Stay tuned.

    Banner image above sourced from http://www.tofugu.com/

    Here’s a list of all the posts about my arcade build.

    Part 1
    Part 2 – Decisions
    Part 3 – Cabinet Design
    Part 4 – Control Panel Plans
    Part 5 – Initial Questions and Concerns
    Part 6 – Online Resources
    Part 7 – Cabinet Plans
    Part 8 – Buying and Cutting the Wood
    Part 9 – Tools and Materials
    Part 10 – Building the Cabinet
    Part 11 – Building the Control Panel
    Part 12 – Sanding and Painting
    Part 13 – The Coin Door
    Part 14 – Artwork
    Part 15 – Printing and Applying the Vinyl
    Part 16 – Adding all the T-moulding
    Part 17 – The TV Monitor
    Part 18 – Making the Bezel
    Part 19 – The Marquee
    Part 20 – Installing the Electronics
    Part 21 – Setting up MAME
    Part 22 – Issues to Watch Out For
    Part 23 – The Finished Cabinet