How to Build Your Own Arcade Cabinet

The big attraction at the local arcades has been its selection of video cabinets. It was a place where we could play all the classic games. Every game was a special experience as each cabinet was dedicated to its own game. Possibly some of you think back to the days with titles, such as Space Invaders, Track and Field and Raiden. All the arcade games we remember, are today nowhere to be seen. One can say this is also a growing trend with the Pinball tables as there is only one company still producing them. The general coin-operated machines today are slot machines.

Still some of us may want to relive the memories from the old days, then you are in luck. To play all these old arcade games, we can use the MAME emulator. As the roms are copied from the arcades motherboards, its gameplay is near 100% correct. Its hard to tell the difference. The are loads of titles available for the emulator and most a fully playable. MAME has preserved a part of history for us where we can stroke up our favorite arcade games. Its thrill, we can agree its not similar to its original arcade cabinets.

By building a MAME cabinet, its possible to capture a very real experience, the same as real arcade machines. These MAME cabinets have the usual arcade elements, such as coin door and t-molding. Most users rarely use keyboards on their MAME cabinet, at least a little as possible. For this reason we have a large selection of available Frontends, it lets us use and control all areas of emulation via the arcade controls. Frontends makes it easy to have other emulators installed such as Spectrum and Visual Pinball tables or why not add a Jukebox on your MAME cabinet. The possibilities are many. This is all up to you! Most of the time people use a computer but hidden inside the cabinet and there are even ways to hide the Windows desktop. It is quite some work building a MAME cabinet. You might try you’re luck and find an old Arcade machine to build on, maybe recycle the parts as well.

As for finding arcade parts there are several places to buy them if you were to build a cabinet. Just search on the net. A PC monitor can also be used a the display, its quite a frequent solution for the MAME cabinets and builders. However these monitors cannot show the low resolutions, like we played them at the arcades. In case you are situated in the USA, it would be a perfect solution to purchase a Wells Gardner arcade monitor, these can display the games native resolution, including 53Hz games. For those located in Europe there is another option, as we can use CRT Scart TV’s together with an ArcadeVGA card to display the games native resolution, like the real arcade machines. Thanks to the MAME emulator we can experience the great arcade classics, you can too!