Arcade Machine


I am now working on building the arcade machine with some of my co-workers. Check out our project webspace at


One day Nikki and I were sitting in a mall eating Super Fresh Happiest Express Wok Chinese Food. Just across the food court was an arcade where some kids were having a good ol time playing games. I was wondering what I would do when the car computer was done (little did I know it would never be done) when Nikki off-handedly suggested building an arcade machine.

What a fabulous idea. It would be some woodworking, hardware, and software all in one project. Fantastic I thought. Not only that, this project would not break the bank the way some of my others have.

I view the arcade machine as a way to reconnect with my youth. Ideally I would like it to have 4-player controls to allow me and my friends to play X-men or Sunset Riders as they were intended. I want the machine to be able to play a few games very well. I am not looking for a huge game library where I can play any game ever made. I have the X-box for that. This machine has to be purposely built for just a few games.

Possible Game List

  • X-Men
  • Sunset Riders
  • The Simpsons
  • Gauntlet
  • Killer Instinct 1 (its not 4 player but it would be a load of fun)
  • Final Fight

Progress Thus Far

I have made absolutely no progress on this project other than getting the needed software and picking out much of the needed hardware.


I have decided to use MAME (multiple arcade machine emulator) as the software platform. You can search for this on google and find it in about 10 seconds.


I have a suitable computer (my current web server) that is just waiting for me to get motivated. Perhaps the most important piece of hardware on any arcade machine are the controls. After scouring various internet resources I have found exactly the controls I want. They are modular so you can buy as many controls and individual buttons as you want. The individual buttons connect to central unit with that provides a serial connection. Of course right now I can not find the link but I will post it as soon as I do.

As far as the monitor, I know some purists would argue that only an actual arcade monitor will do for this application. They typically have rich colors and have a slightly hazy picture. Hazy might be a strong word, the picture looks warm rather than strikingly pixilated. While I agree with the reasons for using it, I cant get over the cost. I plan to use a 21" JVC TV to start with. If I am using the arcade machine on a somewhat regular basis, maybe then I will upgrade to an actual arcade monitor.


Link Description
Build your own arcade FAQ A great resource for information on constructing the actual arcade machine cabinet. There are several complete plans for different styles.
Supercade An example arcade machine cabinet. The page is laid out well with plenty of good information. This is someone good to look at to get an idea of what's involved in making the cabinet .
X-Arcade Stick A quick and easy solution for arcade controls. This is not the route I am planning to take but its an option.


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