The tiniest arcade cabinets you’ve ever seen

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After perusing Amazon one day, [Dave] found a very interesting piece of kit: a small, 1.5″ digital picture frame. They’re not very complex, just an LCD, a few buttons to cycle the picture, and a battery to keep everything portable. He decided the best use of this tech would be a tiny arcade cabinet, featuring screen shots of the best games a darkly neon lit arcade of the late 80s had to offer.

After sourcing a few of these digital picture frames on eBay, [Dave] set to work disassembling the frames and designing a custom enclosure. He wanted a few specific features: controls in the right place, replaceable sides, and the glowing red eyes of a coin acceptor slot. [Dave] whipped a model up in OpenSCAD and sent the parts over to his printer.

The controls for the digital picture frame were connected to a quartet of tact switches on the control panel, and a red LED provides the glow from the coin acceptor. With a USB plug and the frame’s memory loaded up with screen shots, [Dave] has a fabulous desk toy.

All the relevant files are up on Thingiverse if you’d like to build your own.

Coffee table arcade cabinet

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Get some Pac-Man fever while sitting on this couch thanks to the arcade rig built inside of the coffee table. The controls are a bit more sparse than more dedicated MAME rigs, but you should still be able to play most of the classics with four buttons and a joystick. After all, you need to reserve some room to put your feet up when you’re not gaming.

[Manny Flores] started the project with a Lack table from Ikea. The top is anything but solid. After tracing the outline of his LCD screen and cutting through the surface he discovered this is more of a beefed of cardboard than it is wood. The honeycomb of paperboard inside the surface of the table makes it really easy to clear out some space. In fact, when it came time to add the arcade buttons he just used a utility knife to cut the openings. Inside you’ll find a Raspberry Pi which interfaces with the buttons and joystick via an iPac USB controller board. A set of powered speakers mounted on the underside complete the design.

[via Adafruit]

Building a tiny arcade cabinet from a Game Boy Advance

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[Jani 'Japala' Pönkkö] found a way to make his old Game Boy Advance exciting again. He poured a ton of time and craftsmanship into building a miniature arcade cabinet. He did such a good job it’s easy to think this is a commercial product. But when you open the back of the case to switch games one look at what’s crammed inside let’s you know this is custom work.

What’s most surprising to us is that he didn’t draw out a full set of plans before beginning. He simply measured the circuit board and LCD screen from the Game Boy and went with his gut for everything else. The case itself is crafted from baltic birch plywood, which was primed and painted before applying the decals. There is also a screen bezel made of acrylic with its own decal like you’d find on coin-op machines. These were made using printable sticker paper. The electronic part of the build involves no more than extending contacts from the circuit board to buttons mounted on the case. But he did also replace the stock speaker for one that produces better audio.

Tiny MAME cabinet built from Raspberry Pi

It’s been a while since we’ve seen [Sprite_tm] pull a project from thin air, and we haven’t seen him do anything with a Raspberry Pi yet. All things must pass, and finally [Sprite] has unleashed his tiny, pocket-sized MAME machine to the world.

The build uses a Raspi for all the Linux-ey and MAME goodness, but [Sprite_tm] didn’t want to fiddle around with the HDMI or analog video output. Instead, he chose to use an SPI-controlled TFT display that is only 2.4 inches across. This isn’t a new hack for [Sprite] – he figured out how to connect this display over GPIO pins with a Carambola earlier this year.

To make his cabinet portable, [Sprite] opted for using old cell phone batteries with a cleverly designed charging circuit. When the power supply is connected to +5V, the batteries charge. When this power is removed, an ATtiny85 provides 5V of power to the Raspi and display.

No arcade cabinet is complete without a marquee of some sort, so [Sprite] used an extremely tiny 128×32 white OLED to display the logo of the game currently being played. Everything in the Raspi is set up to be completely seamless when switching between games, automatically configuring the controls and marquee for the currently selected game.

You  can check out [Sprite]‘s mini MAME booting straight into Bubble Bobble after the break along with some gameplay footage and finally switching it over to Nemesis. A very awesome build from an exceedingly awesome maker.

[Read more...]

Building the most offensive video game ever

[Autuin] created the most offensive video game ever. Inside a small cocktail arcade cabinet, he installed his own video game that recreates the experiences of the Space Shuttle Challenger and her crew on their last flight.

The build started off by picking up an old cocktail version of Space Zap from The Hackery, a neat little recycling place that turns old computers, monitors, and even old arcade machines into something useful again. After [Autuin] lugged his arcade machine back to his home base at Free Geek Vancouver.

After drooling over the 30-year-old circuitry, [Autuin] disassembled the old machine and installed a mint condition 19″ VGA monitor where an ancient black and white CRT once resided. The control panels replete with their comically large buttons were refurbished and connected to an Arduino and the whole shebang hooked up to a slightly outdated computer.

The real magic happened when [Autuin] coded his game. He created a few sprites from NASA archival footage and made a game where a shuttle takes off and is controllable by each player. As the most offensive video game ever, the space shuttle blows up shortly after launch, declaring ‘game over’ for both players.

[Autuin] will be showing off his new arcade game with a new bezel and cabinet graphics during Vancouver’s Eastside Culture Crawl this November. The game will probably be updated by then; we suggested editing the ‘time to explosion’ to T+73 seconds, but [Autuin] said he’s thinking of ways to make it even more awful.

Diablo 3 is an arcade game, apparently

MAME cabinets are simply awesome. They’re a great way to relive the stained and sticky fluorescent carpets, loud noises, and Neon signs and blacklights of old arcades. If there’s one problem with MAME cabinets, it’s that gaming has moved on from the quarter-eating cabinets of yesteryear. It simply doesn’t make sense to put Starcraft, TF2, or other popular games in an arcade cabinet.

[Dave] grew up playing Gauntlet in the arcade, but the various console ports never lived up to the experience of playing it with a joystick and buttons. When Diablo 3 came out, [Dave] knew what he had to do. He built a Diablo 3 arcade cabinet, fully playable and faithful to the dungeon crawlers of yore.

Thankfully, an old cabinet wasn’t gutted for this build; a month before the game came out, [Dave] picked up a few pieces of plywood and built himself an arcade cabinet. After applying some very nice graphics and installing buttons and a joystick, [Dave] had a fully functional Diablo arcade game that doesn’t even require quarters.

Recently, we’ve seen our share of builds that turn traditional game controls on their head, a trend we hope continues. You can check out [Dave]‘s demo video after the break.

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Classic game cabinet becomes a drivable car

[Garnet Hertz], a professor and “artist in residence” at UC Irvine, built a drivable Outrun arcade cabinet for an experiment in augmented reality.

The old fiberglass and wood cabinet was hacked up and the motors, wheels, and drive train from an electric golf cart were stuffed inside. The original steering wheel and pedals were used for the controls. Although the top speed of the in-game car is about 180 mph, that was brought down to a reasonable 13 miles per hour.

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