It’s been awhile since I posted on this blog. As you may know I’ve always been a tech guy, but I am undertaking something so nerdy, so techy that I think I’m even going to outnerd myself.
I am building my own arcade machine! The goal is for me to have a fully functioning cabinet with all the emulators running (MAME, MESS, Daphne, etc) with a cool frontend that can link them all. I built an arcade machine a long time ago with my buddy Jason Crawford, but we made one superhero mistake — trying to retrofit a JAMMA cabinet to work with a PC (or hacked Xbox 1). It was a fun project, but that one made my brain melt a little 🙂
I’ve already started the project and have taken lots of pictures. But I think the first step is for me to talk about what components I will be using to make the cabinet. This is going to require a bit of explanation as I go along:
The book that got me started – http://www.amazon.com/Project-Arcade-Build-Your-Machine/dp/0764556169
Project Arcade is the name of this book. The writer is clearly well-versed in arcade machines. I got a lot of useful tips and inspiration from this book.
Cabinet – http://goo.gl/SySxa
I decided to go with the Ultimate Bartop 2 cabinet kit. This has a really small footprint (our apartment is pretty small) but will still give me that arcade feeling. If the cabinet turns out well and I find the space I can always build a pedestal to set it on later.
I bought the Ultimate Bartop 2 directly from North Coast Custom Arcades (www.mameroom.com). They have been awesome. I asked them to not drill any of the holes into the unit so I can drill my own custom control panel layout (I *must* have two joysticks so I can pay Robotron). So I guess I’m going to need to learn how to drill!
Also, I plan on painting the sides of the cabinet. I guess I’m going to need to learn how to paint!
Monitor – http://goo.gl/z2Eev
This is the monitor I purchased. The largest monitor this cabinet will fit is 19″ and only in 4:3 mode. We are going old school with this one baby!!
Joystick – http://goo.gl/0G4rJ
I bought two of these joysticks. They can either be set to 4 way or 8 way. Reviews on them have been good and they seem reliable. At the end of the day I can always change these out if I don’t like them.
Microswitches – http://goo.gl/vew86
I bought these 50 gram microswitches. I know there are a million places to buy microswitches, but I saw good recommendations for this store — and they are in Hawaii and I’ve always loved that place. I couldn’t be happier with the microswitches. They feel really nice, have a great weight and make a great sound. Added bonus, they sent me Macadamia Nut Kisses with my order. Very classy!
Keyboard encoder – http://goo.gl/haCgQ
This for me was a no-brainer. From what I’ve read, this is THE keyboard encoder. For those that don’t know what a keyboard encoder is, it’s a small unit that translates button presses and joystick directions to keyboard commands. This unit plugs into the computer and when I wire my controls into it the computer simply thinks I’m playing these games with my keyboard. I guess I’m going to need to learn how to wire!
Buttons – http://www.ultimarc.com/goldleaf.html
I bought my pushbuttons from Ultimarc. Since I was buying the keyboard encoder from them I thought it made sense to buy the buttons as well (saves on shipping). I just received the buttons today and they feel pretty good. Plus, I can always change them out later if they don’t work out.
For the PC side of things I’m going to use an old Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz for this with a 1TB drive. I put Windows 7 on there and loaded it up with stuff, but that’s another post.
I’ll be updating this regularly. The machine is coming along really well, let’s just say I am learning alot about patience!