Instructables
I'm finally back, and I'm here to show you how to make an Arcade Machine for your own personal enjoyment. It's really not too difficult, nor too expensive (compared to how much real arcade machines cost), so this makes for a great summer project.

**EDIT**
I removed the step regarding emulators and how I got the games for my Arcade Machines. If you need help with this, please search Google for other MAME instructions regarding emulators and such.

 
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Step 1: Think to yourself...

Before you start your journey on the quest for Arcade Machine construction, ask yourself a few questions...

How much money do I want to spend?

This is one of the most crucial questions you have to ask yourself before jumping in and start building an arcade machine. How much money do you have available to you? For me, I had to keep my budget down to about $200-$250 USD because I didn't have a lot of money. In fact, I had to pawn off some of my games and such just to get the funds to build this. I didn't have enough money for *actual* arcade controls because I spent most of the money in the wood, paint, and plexiglass, so I settled with two PS1 arcade sticks and a PS1-to-USB adapter. So, money is a big deal when it comes to this kind of stuff. If you have the money, go ahead and go all-out. If not, then just go with whatever works best for you.

Do I have the right tools for the job?

For a build like this, you'll need a couple of tools. Standard saws, drills, and other power tools will make the construction of an arcade machine run smoothly.

Do I have a blueprint of some sort?

Rome wasn't built in a day. But it was sure built off some sort of plan. So make sure you have a plan of some sort, which I will cover in the next step.

Will this be something I use often?

The thing about building entertainment machines or anything else of the sort is that they lose their shimmer after a certain amount of time. While you may build it and then play it every day for about a month, you might start to play it less and less often until it ends up in storage (like how my last build ended up). So, if you have a family (especially little kids), then it will be used often. If you live alone in your mother's basement at 23 years old, then you probably shouldn't consider doing this at all.

So, after spending a moment to ponder, let's get to building an arcade machine!
Stampede2410 months ago
Like do you just build everything and hook up the computer, and on the computer just download the software and ROMs?
Stampede2410 months ago
My favorite instructable :) just wondering if you put a game system in there and put games in it, or how you got the games
cool! dude
Moswar3 years ago
Good Work. Real "old-school" ;-)
Mulltin3 years ago
Hi Great tutorial! just one question can you show what software, how to install it and how to add games because i cant seem to find any.
Tomcat94 (author)  Mulltin3 years ago
If you search "MALA" in Google, you'll find the software. The MALA forums also have an extensive help section that can help you with setting up the software, games, and help with any technical issues you may have.
that is amazing! nice work 5* + sub
Tomcat94 (author)  Football viking boy3 years ago
Thank you. This was an incredibly fun project, and I had even more fun making the instructable to share with others. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
Muniosi3 years ago
Wow. Definitely gonna be trying this. Nice work!
by any chance does the name brian monroe armitage ring a bell to you?

nice build!
wfelix3 years ago
Excellent project...
About emulator: don't bother yourself think about this :D
DarkStarPDX3 years ago
"EMULATION IN ITSELF IS PERFECTLY LEGAL AS LONG AS YOU OWN THE GAME THAT YOU ARE EMULATING."

As long as you are using the physical cartridge and are using a licensed emulator of the system the cartridge is for, yes it's legal. The second you take the program off of the cartridge and use it in a different format, it's no longer legal (in the United States). Also, if you are using an unlicensed emulator, it's illegal as well.

Tread carefully and always know a good lawyer!