Sometime after the New Year, I began to research the parts and software I would need to build my own MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator). Since DBA had an old computer that wasn’t being used, I priced the rest of the components out at under $200. After a few weeks of testing the hardware and software, it was time to put everything together.
My roommate Alex had some leftover board that had a white gloss finish, so we decided to make the cabinet out of that.
I got the coin door from Ebay. It was about $50 and taken from another old arcade game. After cutting a few unnecessary parts off with an exacto knife, and rewiring the switches, it kinda works. The Player 2 slot still kinda sticks, but I guess this is what happens when you buy used stuff from Ebay. If I had to do it again, I’d buy a new door.
The buttons were all purchased from Tornado Terry’s (through their Ebay store). This was amazing because they allowed me to pick colors and mix and match. I bought 4 red, 4 blue, 4 green, a 1 player, and 2 player button.
We drilled the holes using a 1 1/8″ spade bit for the buttons. The Mag-Stik Plus Joysticks were purchased through Ultimarc and chosen specifically for the switchable 4 or 8 direction mode. Ultimarc is probably the best online store for MAME supplies. They have diagrams and exploded views of all of their parts. Also, super fast shipping. Sweet place.
We ended up using a 3/4″ hole for the Joysticks, which allowed for just enough movement to hit all the directions.
That little guy in the midde? That’s called an I-Pac. Also purchased from Ultimarc. Basically this chip allows you to substitute joysticks and buttons for keyboard commands when playing an emulator. Just connect it via USB and wire up your controls and you’re done. The ports are all even labeled: up, down, left, right, button 1, button 2, etc.
Now I just had to solder all of my connections…
The computer we used was an old E Mac, which had the monitor, hard drive, speakers, and usb ports all in one big, heavy compartment. During the days prior to the build, I installed MacMAME and started getting some ROMs to run on this computer. Because most ROMs are probably not designed for Mac, a few of my games were a bit glitchy. However, we got 3 games ready for opening night: Altered Beast, Street Fighter 2, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.
Time for troubleshooting.
Okay, I guess some other people can play.
True, with the E Mac, it looks pretty cheesy. We’re also a bit worried about clumsy drunks in the show space. Tomorrow, I’m going to put a piece of plexiglass over the computer and paint the border around the screen black to cover up the computer. I also need to download a Front End selection screen for the games. Right now, it’s only running Street Fighter. It’s probably also a good idea to put something under the coin door, so the quarters don’t just fall on the floor.
In any case, the Death By Audio arcade is up and running. Come and check it out.