Introduction: How to Build Your Own Gaming Machine

Do you love
old school arcade games? How would you like to know how to build your very own, with a selection of over 5,000 games to play at any time it suits your fancy?

Interested in learning more? Click here for more information or check out the following steps to help you create the arcade system of your dreams:

** Arcade Machine

The first thing that you will need is an empty cabinet. There are several options to choose from here::

** Purchase a used arcade machine and gut it

** Buy the plans and build one from scratch

** Buy pre-cut cabinet pieces

If you are not sure which option to use, the easiest choice is to order the pre-cut pieces. This option gives you the control over the components and if you aren't a stranger to power tools, will yield the quickest results.

** Controls

The next thing you will need is controls. You can build your own by ordering an I-PAC controller, wires, spinner, trackball, and individual buttons. Another options OS to order pre-built controls that are made to fit in your cabinet. Also, you may want to consider adding an overlay because this simple feature will make your controls seem more authentic

** TV with a Power Return

It's possible to find a cheap TV with a power return at a pawn shop, on craigslist, eBay, Amazon, or in the wanted ads in your local newspaper. The power return feature isn't a commonly known feature, but it is vital for the optimal operation of your game cabinet. If your power goes out, the power return with turn the TV back on to the correct channel.

** Desktop PC Tower

This portion of the build is relatively easy, you can use an out-of-date XP Home Edition OS to fulfill this requirement. It's also important to note that a high-quality graphics card isn't necessary so, if you are considering this options, don't bother. Save your money for something else you may need in the build.

** Lighted Marquee

To give your arcade machine a more authentic feel, order a marquee, preferably one with the same accent color as the overlay on the control panel. You will also need a fluorescent light fixtures and tow pieces of clear Plexiglas cut to fit, ask the experts at your local hardware store to take care of this for you. When you have all the component, sandwich the marquee in the between the two pieces of Plexiglas and add the light fixture behind it.

** Monitor Bezel

You will also need a monitor bezel that is the same size as the screen on your TV with a power return. If it's too large, use a utility knife to trim it to fit. Doing so will hide everything on the TV except for the screen. If needed, use tape or Velcro to hold it in place.

** Sound

If you already have a subwoofer you can use that, along with acoustic speakers to create a decent sounding sound system. This is especially important as your arcade can also double as a jukebox.

** Smart Power Strip

This device gives you the ability to use one device to control the power for all your other devices. For example, if you use your radio as the control, whenever you turn it one, ti will turn on the other devices on the strop as well. Likewise, if you turn off the radio all the devices will power down as well.

** Coin Door

This component isn't' necessary, but it adds a nice touch to your arcade While you will need a coin for operation, the control panels come with coin buttons that can be used as a viable substitute.

** Game Emulators

These tools are needed to drive your arcade games and will determine the selection of games that you have to offer. Some good ones include:

** MAME: Gets you games like Asteroids, PAC-Man, Donkey Kong, and about 3,000 other titles

** Nestopia: Best for SNES games like Zelda and Super Mario Brothers

** Fusion: Great emulator for Sega which makes it perfect for Sonic the Hedgehog lovers

** Stella: Gets your games from the Atari 2600 like Pitfall and Combat

** Daphne: Great for classic arcade laserdisc games like Dragon's Lair

** Front Loader

For a more authentic feel, you must make sure that your arcade doesn't look like a Windows PC. To do so, you must remove the background colors, mouse cursor, login screen, and more. This may sound hard to do, but booting directly into a front loader, like AtomicFE or Maximus Arcade, is an easy way to accomplish this goal. You can get this tool for a couple of dollars but there are also some free ones available