Bartop Arcade Honors Aspect with 4:3 iPad Screen

Let’s face it, we all love arcades, but not all of us can fit a full size stand-up in our homes. [Bentika] knew the solution was a bartop style cabinet, but it had to be designed and built to his specifications. You see, [bentika] is an aspect ratio nerd. Only a proper 4:3 screen would do for emulating games designed for just such a display. Modern 4:3 displays are hard to come by, unless of course you have an iPad handy. The 1024 x 768 screens used on the early model iPads are perfect for the task.

Driving these screens used to be a chore, but thanks to hacker reverse engineering and overseas manufacturing, these days, controllers are only a few clicks away. [Bentika] ordered a controller for the iPad 1 screen from eBay. What he got was a controller that only worked with the iPad 2 screen. Thankfully he had a pile of old iPads to play with, so it wasn’t an issue.

[Bentika] designed his cabinet using AutoDesk 123D based upon reddit user [joshendy’s] basic outline. His final cut patters were created with Adobe Illustrator. He was able to get the entire cabinet laser cut for around $160, including materials. Cabinet assembly was easy, thanks to plenty of square gussets used to align the various pieces.

The controller for this arcade is of course a Raspberry Pi 2 running RetroPie. [Bentika] used a control block to interface the joystick and buttons to the Pi itself. RetroPie lends itself to “keyboardless” operation, he didn’t have to bring any of the Pi’s USB ports outside the case.

We have to say the final results are very nice. This system has all the portability of a CRT based bartop setup without the weight. You can check out more discussion of this hack over on [Bentika’s] Reddit thread, or click past the break for the video.

16 thoughts on “Bartop Arcade Honors Aspect with 4:3 iPad Screen

  1. these posts that link to Reddit, they’re as bad as, or worse than looking at someone’s hackadayio project. too much work. This is the laziest example of journalism I’ve seen in a while. make an eyecatcher and link it to some shitty reddit thread.

    1. No kidding. Sure if you have it great use of available resources, but what if you don’t? Suddenly getting the wrong part off ebay becomes a major problem if you already ordered the screen.

      It then becomes a case of ‘which part would i be least screwed on if I ordered first and they sent the wrong one?

  2. Fussy about aspect ratio – chooses 4×3 (horizontal) screen – plays games that were originally 3×4 (vertical).

    Nice Build all the same.

    Metal plate at back needs to be earthed (It’s a safety requirement).

    1. Haha, yup! Even worse is playing vertical games the wrong way on a wide screen. What a waste of pixels.

      At work we have many places where a nice 19-29 inch LCD would make a great replacement for the aging CRTs in arcade games, but no one makes them any more.

      1. I’m still holding out with a couple of 5×4 screens. They’re close to a 4×3. I have a 26″ CRT (Complete working TV) that I will probably throw out. A shame that but I have no use for it.

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