Instructables
Picture of How to build a Nintendo arcade
This Instructable will show you how I built my Nintendo arcade. It is a bartop cabinet that plays original Nintendo game. The arcade is completely self contained with one power switch for everything.

You can see a video of the arcade in action at Youtube, here.

Things you will need:
1 sheet of 4'x8' 1/4" MDF
1 sheet of plexiglass
1 set of joystick and arcade buttons
1 posterboard
several cans of spray paint
an older PC
an LCD monitor
1 USB keyboard
soldering equipment
nes controller ports (ripped from a four score)
DB-25 connector
2 cases of Diet Coke :)

Inside is an old PC and a 17" LCD monitor. The back of the cabinet has two USB ports and two NES controller ports. You can connect regular, un-modded NES controllers and play with those or use the joystick and buttons on the control panel.

The front end is a simple VB program that auto loads when the PC boots. You never need to connect a mouse or keyboard to load your games. The VB program gives a list of games installed. Using the joystick, you can select the game you want to play.

Also, you can connect a keyboard and mouse to the USB ports in the back and use the set as a regular PC. It has wireless internet built in.

Step 1: Building the cabinet

Draw out the arcade shape onto 1/4" MDF. Cut it out with a circular saw, jig saw, etc... Measure and cut out the remaining parts. My cabinet is 24"x18"x 24" (H x W x D). Screw all the pieces together.
 
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ébrisson3 days ago

Can you add the angle of the cabinet? It would be great!

You should make an updated one with a wii running emulators inside :D

 How would you make it 2 player?

google "raspberry pi". Its a tiny ARM computer that can run 2 player easily. Plus the emulators are easy to install on it.

russm313 (author)  AnimalCrackersRGood5 years ago
I have NES ports on the back of the machine.  Just plug in an original NES controller and you can use it as the second player controls.
x-muts-x3 years ago
But if you're using an LCD or Plasma,
You won't be able to play Duck Hunt...
Which is the best game ever...
And you can't put an old screen in there. They're huge..
Im sure the screen doesn't matter if its LCD/Plasma.

nope. You need a CRT to use a zapper or even super scope.

It does matter; you need scan lines to make shooting games work (old CRT televisions), for the original NES anyway. Sames goes for the Sega Master System.
Most emulators allow you to add scan lines to whatever game you may be playing. Plus I'm sure you can use a mouse!
fms897 months ago
I used an Ipac 2 as hacking a keyboard was a nightmare lol.
fms897 months ago
I finally made it! It runs NES, SNES, MAME, NINTENDO 64 and GAMEBOY ADVANCE using the Atomic Fe program. A lot of trial and errors, a lot of dead ends but for a girl I think I've done pretty well :p.
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i made this with the ideal form here i runs over 600 NES games i didn't make the cabinet i found an old arcade machine and gutted it.... added an old Gateway PC and an Acer 19' monitor.... painted some things.... re-soldered the power button to the cabinet and power button to the pc on the front put two USB ports on the front.. i cheated and used a Arcade DIY Kit Parts No Delay USB Encoder + 10x Push Button + Joystick i found on ebay for $39.00 ........ used windows XP and added a usb wifi adapter inside.... i wrote a VB script but with 600+ games I've decided just to rewrite it to load the emulators NES,SNES,Gameboy,N64...ect. the joystick works as the mouse the A,B buttons are the R,L click of the mouse...and tap a button and the joystick reverts back to the controller.... if anyone need help just email me at fgramelspacher@me.com i can help with the VB script and show u where to get the program to use the joystick as the mouse.....

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henpup9 months ago

Where did you get the buttons, and the joy stick

fms891 year ago
Hi,

I am looking to make this but I am having trouble with all the wiring and stuff. I am a girl and this will be a massive challenge for me to build but I am no good with all that fidly bits like wiring or computers/programs. Is there any way you could give me a step by step instructions on all the wirings and stuff? I would appreciate it so much!

I love your idea and I would love to make it.
fms89@outlook.com :).

Thanks!
TheGreatS fms8910 months ago
This is probably the one answer you don't want to hear, but if you want to build something like this so that it works and works well, it would be best to learn up to it. If I were actually there and could walk you through the steps by pointing out various things, doing the more tricky parts, and answering on the spot questions, I would, but I cant. I probably can't give you all the details you need in this comment, so let me point you to some excellent resources.

If you want to find good mentors you can look for some Hackerspaces in your area (hackerspaces.org). You don't have to join, but you could probably find some people who know their stuff. If that doesn't work, you could start working on it and when you come across a problem or confusing part ask questions on various forms. We have the great Q&A here on Instructables for almost anything, Stack Overflow (stackoverflow.com) works great for programming queries, Super User (superuser.com) for computer related questions, and Electrical Engineering (electronics.stackexchange.com) if you need an electronics Q&A.

They already have thousands upon millions of questions already asked and answered. You can join and ask your own questions, but I never have had to. If you can't find what you need there, just Google what you want you are having problems with and a few keywords, then follow the instructions they give you.

I should tell you, this isn't something a novice can just build in a week on and off. If a seasoned maker had all the parts they might be able to pull it off in a weekend. I should tell you that need to get ready for some frustration and dead ends. They'er just an unavoidable part of the game. I don't want to scare you away from doing this, though. It's an awesome feeling I get whenever I finish a difficult project and it works. I wouldn't want to keep anyone from that.
Nice job, i think i will make something like this built out of my old NES, PS1 and maybe get a SNES. Great job on this. i'm not going to sacrifice a computer though. rather just hack an old console.
Your measurement from front to back is really 2ft? My dad and i sat at the pc trying to figure this out forever because 2 ft just seemed a little small lol so just wanted to clarify this ! And i bought a 4x8 board and it seems like i have enough mdf to make two of these cabs
tygersrule1 year ago
Hey, planning on building this, can you tell me how much plexiglass you used and where you go it from? Also, what did you use for the secondary buttons, and where did you get them from.
russm313 (author)  tygersrule1 year ago
I got the plexi from Home Depot. The secondary buttons are just momentary SPST buttons from radioshack. Good luck!
For my one I'm gonna use my NES and my small tv and a NES advantage.
trosenau2 years ago
I know this is really late but almost a year ago I said I might do this for my senior project? I did :)
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jackflash2 years ago
I was wondering how much everything costs to build this ?....

Awsome job btw. SAL
cfoster152 years ago
Im just going to use a nes system to do this. I know I can't save games but that seems a bit more like a real arcade anyways. I will defiantly use this design (with some modifications obviously) to make a nes arcade machine. Then a Snes arcade machine. Thank god for parents with tools or I might have to buy my own!

now all i need is some diet coke.... oh yeah and all that other stuff
cc672 years ago
Do you need to install an operating system for this???
That thing freaking rocks!!!!!, I'm tinking of versions for other retro systems & include all the games that we all grew up w/.
Is the diet coke have to come in later on or is it used for something?

Ples explain
some people dont get the joke
it is for all the energy. caffiene
qneuhalfen3 years ago
Would it be possible to make a Sega arcade the same way
As you have your pc , you are free to do anything with it , just add more buttons!
Krayzi993 years ago
Is there a way to get the VB script from ya? still a extremely beginner vb programmer
download an emulator
For Windows XP-Vista-7:
1, click start
2.Click all programs
3.Click STARTUP (folder)
4.put a shortcut to an emulator here
6.enjoy
kulak3142 years ago
what are the measurements for each piece of the box?
depending on your system , for him , he use 4x8
How can i make that VB program, so that it runs on system boot up??
For Windows XP-Vista-7
1, click start
2.Click all programs
3.Click STARTUP (folder)
4.put a shortcut to your application here
5.The application must be a pre-made VB program or an emulator
6.enjoy
Yeah mann dats really easy...
Bt i want dat VB prog???
make a button that does this action : start "[emulator name here].exe" "[rom name and location here].nes"
I may code it for you!
go make it yourself its easy!
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