Half Ass Retro Arcade Machine Build

May 8, 2020Computer Improvements, Indoor Improvements0 comments

Making a RetroArch-based cabinet : A Pictorial Journey

Modern gaming is rather… boring. I just don’t like them, the graphics are great but it leaves a lot to be desired. But thats a topic for another post. I finally got off my ass and put together a retro-style cabinet to mimic the cabinets of the 80s and 90s. Now just to be clear this isnt a flawless replica of any particular cab, just an old PC in a cabinet for the garage. It really encases the atmosphere and when I’m bored I can just walk up to it and play a few rounds.

I’ve loaded games from all the old systems but I find what works best for the garage always-on use case is to use the MAME emulator for the old arcade games. The “attract mode” of the games, the demo before you insert any coins, has the sounds and graphics that make enhance the atmosphere of the room.

Sadly I haven’t to this day (about a year after building the cab) finished the joystick control panel. I have all the parts and that will follow in another post. A lot of that has to do with theming. Im not sure if I’m going to get vinyl artwork and all that jazz or not either. Needless to say its a constant work in progress. I have learned a lot and if I decide to make more of these I have a better idea of what to do and what not to do. Oh the time has come and the arcade control panel build is complete! I videoed the whole thing so if you are unsure of any of the steps take a watch and hopefully I can clear that up for you. I did get some sweet vinyl for it too. When you’re through with this post I recommend you take a look.

Let’s take a look, shall we…

Humble beginnings.

I started off with studying plans from http://www.koenigs.dk/mame/eng/

Taking shape!
I used this mount from Monoprice. Cheap and does the job!
Not too shabby. The Dell 19″ 4:3 ratio monitor (w/ built-in USB hub) works great with the attached speaker set. Speakers are powered by the monitor too!
PC Access
Peg board cover allows it to breathe while keeping a lot of garage debris out.
Got it hooked up…
Painted up…
It’s Alive!

The only regret I have is that I didn’t do this sooner. I follow the r/cade forum on reddit and I saw so many builds I couldn’t stand it anymore. It definitely requires proper planning, especially if you’re new to wood working such as myself. There were some minor hiccups, as with any project, but we made them work. I highly recommend giving it a go. Now I want a wall covered with these cabs all on different games in attract mode!


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