I've always enjoyed the feel of playing with an arcade controller. Sure the NES Advantage is OK, but it doesn't give you that authentic feel a real arcade machine does. To solve that, I was inspired by a friend to build a NES Bartop Arcade machine. I could have gone the easy route and built a MAME console, but I find emulation just isn't the same. And thanks to Brian from http://www.retrousb.com I can have all my games at my fingertips with the PowerPak.
I could have made things easier by using a NOAC (NES On A Chip) system that fits a NES in the size of a credit card. These have all sorts of problems though, sound, game incompatibility, color problems, and overall bad build quality. Since I like my games 100% authentic, both sight and sound, the only option was the original NES hardware.
Also, I want to be able to use a genuine arcade controller when my NES is hooked up to the big screen so I am doing something that has never been seen before (by me anyway). The controller part is detachable from the rest of the unit!
These were my goals for this project:
Keep it as small as possible
Make something that hasn't been done before
Maintain a good quality build
Inspire others to try something similar
I think I have accomplished all of these goals. The final footprint is 31" High x 14 1/2" Wide x 15 1/2" Deep. The cabinet has two unique features I've never seen. It has the detachable controller, and it has and actual NES mounted on the monitor with a GameGenie connector soldered directly to the motherboard. I didn't take any shortcuts with this build, and everything is strong and sturdy. Finally, I've already had people tell me they want to build one of these!
So without further adieu, I give you The Genuine NES Bartop Arcade.
*Check out the NES rom I made to show off the cabinet (future instructable?)*
**for some reason it is showing up as a .tmp file. Just change it to a .nes file and you should be able to run it on your emulator or PowerPak
Step 1: Materials Parts and Tools
I am a huge advocate of safety. I have never had an accident involving tools and I plan on keeping it that way. This Instructables involves tools that can kill you if not used properly. Some can kill you right away, some may kill you down the road. You only have one body, take care of it.
Solder fume extractor
1/2" MDF - Came in a 4'x8' sheet only needed half of it
Krylon Spray Primer - Gray
Krylon Fusion Black Spray Paint
Krylon Fusion Red Spray Paint
Size 5 or 6 3/4" screws
Size 5 or 6 1 1/4" screws
Plexi/Acrylic/whatever - I don't know much about this stuff, I just had a bunch I salvaged
Drill - hand drill works, but a drill press is much easier
1 1/8" Spade bit - for buttons
1 1/4" Spade bit - for joystick
Counter-sink bit - I like to counter sink and pre-drill all my holes
Multimeter - for testing circuits and verifying connections
Utility Knife - the sharper the better
Flush Trim router bit
1 Front Loading NES
1 Arcade Joystick
6 Arcade Buttons
1 Galoob GameGenie Enhancer cartridge
1 NES controller
1 Set of speakers with built in amplifier
1 small light for marquee - I found a 13" wide Florescent light at the hardware store.
1 small powerbar - make sure it will fit in your controller box
4 rubber non-skid feet
2 Spring Roller Latches - for holding the top on
2 Latches - if you decide to make the controller detachable
Some small gauge wire - wiring the joysticks
You will also need the power adapters and av cables that came with the NES and other components.