Around the beginning of the year, shortly after we decided to create Gimpy Software and start writing Lunar Panda on the Raspberry Pi, I was getting so nostalgic for the 'good ole' days' of gaming that I decided to build myself a MAME arcade machine. Being married with kids, I knew that a full-size arcade cabinet would both be frowned upon, and be too tall for my children to use easily, so I decided on finding out more about 'bartop' arcades.
There are a few good websites out there which I used for research, and the most useful was Project MAME. This site has free downloadable plans for cabinets of various different sizes and designs, as well as helpful instructions on how to build them. I decided the WeeCade was the one for me, so off I went to the local hardware store and bought up a few sheets of MDF.
The next couple of months had me sketching/planning/measuring/drawing/cutting/gluing/un-gluing/gluing again/sanding/assembling/more sanding/painting, and finally GAMING!
Maximus Arcade provides the graphical front-end, and my hardware is an old Dell P4 3Ghz machine.
I've now got a decent collection of ROMs running on the machine (MAME, NES, Sega Genesis), and discovered my 5 year old son is turning into a surprisingly proficient 'power up' thief in most games. Lunar Panda plays perfectly with the 'retro' arcade controls!
Check out my pictures below. We even had Mike Montgomery from the Bitmap Brothers playing on it at one of our retro gaming events! Playing games like Xenon 2 was one of the reasons I got interested in programming as a kid!
- Early days, cut the MDF and profiled the edges.
- Glue and screw!
- Kids look impressed even though they don't actually know what an arcade machine is....yet!
- Making good use of an old 4:3 Dell monitor I found on eBay
- Working out where the controls are going to go.
- No it's not the new Raspberry Pi, this is in fact the USB I/O board.
- Perspex fitted for the marquee, screen and control panel.
- The control panel is starting to take shape.
- Making good use of another old bit of Dell kit.
- The finished machine!
- On location, being checked out by Bitmap Brother's founder Mike Montgomery!