With a love for video games, especially the classics, I decided to build a full size standup arcade unit to relive my youth. I built this Arcade game a few years back after looking up a number of projects others had done online. One of my favourite games growing up was Space Invaders, but I wanted my arcade not to be limited to just one game. I had heard about M.A.M.E. (Multi Arcade Machine Emulator) that allows you to play all the original arcade games on a PC as well as other platforms. I decided this was something I would try and tackle.
With limited room in my garage at the time, I wish there was something like The Maker Garden space to work on a project of this size. I hadn’t done this type of woodworking before so, I learned as I went. The cabinet is a based loosely on some of the designs of the time, but I wanted it to be versatile while still having the classic look and feel. I was able to source some authentic buttons and joysticks from an arcades parts store in Toronto for about $200 and used plywood from a local hardware store for the structure.
I wanted the unit to takes quarters like the arcade and would use it as a piggy bank of sorts. I was able to find a coin box for this purpose on Ebay. The control panel was constructed using a keyboard encoder called KeyWiz. It allowed me to wire up a buttons and joysticks to act as key presses on a keyboard. For games like Centipede I wanted an authentic trackball. I was able to find one that came out of a Golden Tee unit and was able to reconfigured it to act as a mouse. As for the working innards used a Franken computer made from spare parts I had laying around.
The unit will play over 30,000 games including all the original arcade classics, fighting game, Laserdisc games like Dragon’s Lair, as well as Atari 2600, Super NES, NES, PS1 and thousands of pinball games. It was a fun project and friends and family enjoy playing the games when they come by.