Hey guys, this is a basic little step-by step for building your own home arcade. I have basically always wanted to do one even before MAME was around. When I was a kid I had the great idea of putting an NES in a cabinet and using the NES Advantage as a controller. Of course when you are a kid you always get great ideas an never capitalize on it when you have the chance. Now MAME cabinets are pretty common among hobbiests and you can even order pre-made parts and systems from various places. I decided to go with the good ol' fashioned DIY approach with mine and I'm glad I did. not only does it look 100% better than anything I could have bought, but I had total control over the parts that went into it, and I already have several people lined up to get me to build them one as well. In fact I have had so many requests since I did mine I had to add them to my list of services for my company Digital Elite PC.
In this DIY Tutorial I'm not going to go to much into the software or the actual PC that runs this. This is mostly aimed for the "How to make an Aracade" part of it all.
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1. Pick a Cabinet
You have three basic options for a cabinet, each with their own pro's and con's. The first obvious choice is to build one from scratch. This offers the biggest set of positive and negative factors. For one you can make it custom to whatever size or shape that you want. If you chose you could make it accommodate a big screen TV. However, this method requires allot of time, planning, and tools. It also requires that you have a pretty good work space and better than average woodworking skills.
Your second option is a pre-fab kit. These can be ordered online for a considerable amount of scratch, straightforward to put together, and look good to boot. The downside is that they are not 100% customizable and can be expensive to ship to your home or shop.
The last option is to find a used machine locally. This can have some good benefits, namely being cheap. Especially if you look for something that's not working. The downside is that you will be limited to certain hardware limitations based on dimensions. Be sure to get something that is within your skill to refurbish and something that will have the space you need for the parts you want. If you like classic games a classic cabinet is awesome, if you like fighters an more modern style games try to find a Midway cabinet. Finally if you want more than 2 players be sure that the machine has an accommodating control deck or space for you to build one.