Homebuilt Arcade - MAME emulator

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Project by Sheisserick posted 08-17-2013 10:50 AM 2764 views 9 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is an old project, that I completed back in 2005.
Total expenses was no more than $400

Many-a-coin was spent during my childhood, in various Arcade machines. I considered buying my own machine when I came of age, but since original parts is a large investment, I was afraid I might grow tired quickly of playing the same game over and over. Then I stumbled upon a site called “Build your own Arcade Controls”, and I knew what I had to do.

For those who doesn’t know: MAME is a PC program, that lets your PC act like it´s an old Arcade machine. Adding more games to it is fast, easy and most important: free!

The parts:

For ease of transportation, I built it in three parts, that can be dismantled again.


2 bolts, to hold everything together.

Access to the back of the machine where the TV and Computer cables is located is necessary.

Control Panel layout:

Just floor vinyl glued on top of the plywood, before I drilled the holes for the electronics

Connecting all the buttons to the I-PAC4 keyboard Interface

The heart of the machine is my old PC with Windows XP installed.

Back in 2005 we had something called “CD-roms” and they were the primary means for moving data from computer to computer.


Today we live in another house, and I no longer have my old great man shed. I have to make due with sharing the playroom with the washing machine, freezer and general storage stuff.

Hmmm…. I might have to build my own shed again somewhere someday? :-)

Hope you enjoy

-- I doubt, therefore I might be

8 comments so far

View BusterB's profile


2365 posts in 3469 days

#1 posted 08-17-2013 12:16 PM

That is a trip down memory lane….Nice project

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View zindel's profile


257 posts in 4111 days

#2 posted 08-17-2013 12:19 PM

Very nice! i have one of these planned as well.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

View Jerry's profile


221 posts in 4999 days

#3 posted 08-17-2013 01:09 PM

That’s Awesome!!

thanks for sharing

-- Jerry - Rochester, MN *Whether you think you can or you can't, you are probably right* - Henry Ford

View NiteWalker's profile


2743 posts in 4037 days

#4 posted 08-17-2013 07:17 PM

Great job! I’d love to build one of these but my space is limited, so I build the control panels instead. :)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View scarpenter002's profile


619 posts in 5366 days

#5 posted 08-18-2013 02:36 AM

Great job. You are motivating me!!! Thanks for sharing.

-- Scott in Texas

View Woodknack's profile


13593 posts in 3841 days

#6 posted 08-18-2013 08:16 AM

Many years back I built one for someone else, but never got around to building one for myself. I did build an arcade control panel for playing on the computer.

-- Rick M,

View Sheisserick's profile


124 posts in 3306 days

#7 posted 08-18-2013 11:07 AM

Thanks guys.

I’m pleased to hear, that I’m not the only nostalgic geek around :-)
The build took about 2 weeks after normal work-hours.

Mates and I spent many hours playing on it, before it was banned from the house. I considered making a mobile control panel with a standard USB connection, but it wouldn’t have the same feel to it…
Computer monitors render the pixels “too clear” for old games, and the image become pixelated. An old fashioned 21 inch color TV, give a perfect amount of blurriness, so the old graphics look their best.

You can buy commercially built control panels too, but where is the fun in that?

+ Playing “Sunset Riders”, “NBA Jam”, “Simpsons” or “Gauntlet II” with 4 players at the same time is insanely fun!

I was a little intimidated about doing the electronics and wires when I was planning the build, but after watching a short video of someone connecting a cherry switch, I believe anyone is capable of working that out.

Would love to see pics of other custom built arcades.


-- I doubt, therefore I might be

View Woodknack's profile


13593 posts in 3841 days

#8 posted 08-18-2013 07:31 PM

Well, the one I built was actually a conversion. The guy provided an empty cabinet and I took it from there. The pictures are backed up on CD somewhere, maybe later I’ll try to find them.

-- Rick M,

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