Using the cocktail arcade form factor, I focused on simple, classic games like Pac-Man and Galaga which are displayed in portrait mode on screen. Sticking to these classic games also limited the complexity of the interface, meaning I could go with a simple 4 way joystick, a trackball, a couple of play buttons, and some menu buttons. While I wanted to go simple and elegant, I also wanted it to be versatile and upgradeable. My version only has 2 play buttons, but are arranged so that 4 more could easily be added, and the trackball makes running a jukebox or GUI pretty simple.
The styling I chose for the cabinet is meant to evoke the WHOPR computer from "War Games" and still feel like a piece of furniture. The wooden sides are slatted to allow for air circulation and as a place to mount the speakers. The shelf surrounding the monitor cabinet is there to add space under the glass for the controls and act as a shelf for little Japanese toys and trinkets. The sides and back of the unit are fairly plain since it's probably going to end up living out it's days as an end table.
This instructable is meant to be a record of how I made the cabinet, it is NOT meant to be about making a MAME computer ( although I do include the parts I used ) The resource I used for setting up the electronics was "Project Arcade: Build your own Arcade Machine Machine" by John St. Clair available from amazon.
This entire project was built in a messy corner of my tiny studio apartment, and cost around $600, but I did use my office's drill press, band-saw, spindle sander, and belt/disc sander mainly for working on the aluminum components. I also "farmed out" the production of the sticks to my dad who has a table saw. It should be noted that all my dimensions are in inches and the dimensions I give for the pine wood pieces in the materials section are 1/4 to 1/2 inch over in terms of width and 1/4 in thickness. This is just how their lumber is marked. The original design was created in SolidWorks.