Custom Arcade Control Panel

customArcadeControlPanel

Anybody can fire up an emulator and play arcade games of yesteryear, but if you want to capture more of the nostalgia, you should build a custom arcade control panel. [Quinn] started her build by narrowing down which games she was most interested in playing, and decided on a straightforward 2-player setup. The biggest challenge was finding joysticks that would allow for switchable 4-way or 8-way control: some games such as Ms. Pac Man were made for 4-way joystick input, and the added positions on a 8-way can lead to confused inputs and frustrated players.

[Quinn] found the solution with a pair of Ultimarc Servo Stik joysticks, which use a servo motor to swap between 4 and 8-way mode. The output from both the joysticks and the buttons feed into an iPac encoder, which converts the signal to emulate a USB keyboard. The panel was first mocked up on butcher paper, with dimensions borrowed from various games: the panel itself resembles Mortal Kombat 2, while the buttons are spaced to match X-Men vs Street Fighter 2. [Quinn] chose some spare melamine—plywood with a plastic coating—to construct the panel, drilled some holes and used a router to carve out space for the joysticks. A USB hub was added to power the servos and to make room for future additions, which [Quinn] will have no difficulty implementing considering that her electrical layout is enviably clean. To cap it all off, she fit two “coin slot” buttons: a quarter placed into a slot serves as a start button when pressed.

Be sure to see the videos after the break that demonstrate the coin buttons and the servos, then check out a different retro joystick hack for a tripod controller, or look to the future with the Steam Controller.

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A game of skill for the North Carolina Maker Faire

The North Carolina Maker Fare was last weekend, and over the course of the festivities  [Dave] was asked for the documentation for the arcade game he built. It’s a neat build, so we’re very glad he chose to share it with us.

Anyone who has been to an arcade in the last 15 years has seen the game [Dave] was inspired by. The object of the game is to hit a button when the sequentially illuminated lights are in a particular position. [Dave] built his own version out of 90 LEDs and a very tiny FPGA dev board.

The 90 LEDs are controlled by the FPGA using charlieplexing, and are illuminated in sequence when the game starts. A heavy-duty emergency switch button modified into a momentary push button takes a hit whenever the player thinks the LED will land in the ‘jackpot zone.’  If the player wins, a buzzer sounds and much excitement is had by all.

Seeing as how the arcade version of this game is a complete rip off and is impossible to win, we really like [Dave]‘s version. You can check out his demo video after the break.

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