Friday, March 18, 2005

MAME Arcade project - Part 1

My latest project for fun is a multi-arcade emulator or MAME machine. The controls are from X-Gaming (X-Arcade) and I purchased them in 2 stages. First I ordered the buttons and joysticks from an authorized reseller on Ebay. I saved a few dollars over buying direct, but still got the warranty. X-Gaming's controls are as sturdy as anything you'd find in a real arcade cabinet, but they cost a lot less than controls from companies like Happ. After I got the controls situated in the panel, I bought the controller card directly from X-Gaming since it is hard to get elsewhere. The card is essentially a keyboard encoder which comes with software to map profiles for different hardware and game configurations. Adapters allow the controls to be connected not only to a PC for arcade emulation, but also to the major consoles. My kids have a Game Cube and being Nintendo, it allows them to play a lot of kid friendly arcade style games like the many variations of Mario. I wanted them to be able to use the arcade controller with the Game Cube, so I built it into a seperate box that latches onto the cabinet.

The photo above was taken several days ago and I've made a lot of progress since then. I devised a bracket system that allows me to square up the monitor very precisely to the lip of the viewing area of the cabinet. This has been installed, along with the overhead which will contain the backlit marquee, and the framing for the cabinet door on the bottom. Next I'm looking to buy a coin box on Ebay and I will install that in the door before finally mounting it to the frame. The cabinet is built from medium density fiberboard which I bought from the cull bin at Home Depot for $7. The framing is simple white pine. I use Gorilla glue to fashion my joints and Durham's Water Putty to fill all the cracks. When the whole thing is done it will be painted and decorated with some arcade style cabinet art. In the next post I'll show the latest views of the cabinet with all the new stuff - and take a closer look at the controller box.


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