Jun 02 2008

Arcade Machine Reloaded – Introduction

zorro @ 12:14 am

Arcade Machine Reloaded - the cabinet

This is my second cabinet project. The first one was built over two weeks in January 2001. Since then I’ve been keeping an occasional eye online for a cabinet with a bigger screen. Nothing within the price range has come up, since I didn’t want to spend more than $600. Plenty of cabinets posted regularly on EBay, but $700 – $1000 was a bit rich for my tastes since I would have to put a PC in it as well, bringing the overall cost to min $1300! My wife would kill me…

My first cabinet was a ‘black coffin‘, one of the old tallboys from the arcade’s here in Canberra. A very generic cabinet which I originally owned a pair of. One was horizontal and the other vertically aligned, as I had always planned to have the best of both worlds without all the rotating monitor crap. Unfortunately, during a house move, the vertical one was titled back a little too far, the monitor slid from it’s frame and we all heard that dreaded pffffttttt sound of the gas escaping. The neck of the monitor had been snapped off.

Many years later I converted the remaining cabinet into an ArcadeOS-powered MAME machine. I pretty much did everything I could as far as software goes – multiple emulators, instant boot, that sort of thing but was limited by the controls. Only three buttons per player does limit the game selection. No Street Fighter 2! The machine has sat in the corner getting quite a bit of use, but I can’t help thinking that it would get more use if there was no limitations. Thus I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for in Arcade v2.0


  • Six buttons per player

  • 26″ screen so I wouldn’t have to bother rotating, but could simply rotate the games instead and they would still fit on the screen without being too small.

  • A control panel big enough to be able to cope with a trackball, spinner and an 8-way rotating stick for Heavy Barrel


  • A lit marquee

  • Built in sound

  • Easier access

So I pottered along looking for a bargain and bumped into an old friend at the computer markets who used to run an arcade in the days when I had Computer Games World. I asked him if he still had some contacts in the industry and was pleasantly surprised to find out he did. Fast-forward a couple of weeks later and I’ve got a week off from work. I ring Dennis and he puts me in contact with Happy Days Amusements, they have the cabinets I’m looking for.

The Diary begins…

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