The MAME Cabinet Project
I originally thought about making a full size arcade game during the
winter of 1996. I considered putting a Sega Saturn in an arcade shell,
and playing the games as upright. However, after thinking it through (and
realizing that most home games are meant to be played for hours and
hours, not a few minutes at a time like in an arcade), I decided not to pursue this project
Then, in the fall of 1998, I begin looking at the emulation scene. It
wasn't long before I came across
Arcade@Home. At that time, only the Arcade@Home and about five or six
other cabinets were documented. Nonetheless, having this much documentation
inspired me to pursue my own project. Thus, the obsession began.
I pursued two activities in parallel: researching cabinets, and
I discoved that the Philly/NJ area is a pretty good area for
this hobby, as there are a lot of auctions. I'd say that there is close
to one every six weeks or so.
Jeff Kinder's Dragon's Lair Project also
had excellent documentation on recent Pensauken Auctions. I was able to
estimate how much money it would cost to get a cabinet. That fall, I went
to an auction and picked up a Golden Axe (converted) for $55. The ideal purchase
is for a cabinet that was gutted. I actually purchased a fully working game.
I wish I had taken a picture of it, because it was really a mess. However, it
had a lot of good features. Golden Axe is a three player game, so the control
panel was nice and large. Also, because I bought a converted game, and one
that most collectors would not consider a classic, I didn't feel guilty
about converting a game into a MAME cabinet.
Here's where I made my first mistake: I gutted the cabinet and threw
everything out. (Being a more knowledgable collector now, I would not
throw out anything!) Later I would realize that I could have sold off the
parts and easily made back the money on the cabinet. Although I'm not
a fan of Golden Axe, there are collectors who would pay for the PCB.
That was lesson #1.
After gutting the cabinet (boy, they are a lot lighter without the monitor
and power supply!), I removed the T molding and painted it a sky blue.
The plan was to make the cabinet into a replica of "The Simpons" arcade game.
(I've since changed my mind, but have decided to keep the sky blue paint.
Removing the molding and painting it again would take a lot of time and
What a difference a coat of pain can make! After the paint job, I replaced the
T molding. You can get this from either WICO or Happs Controls. When you
purchase a game, nine times out of ten they remove the locks on the coin
mech. After painting the cabinet, I went to Home Depot and picked up some
locks and a light for the marquee. At this time, the cabinet started
to look pretty good.
Continue onto The Cabinet