In-depth MAME Cocktail Cabinet Build


Recently, a friend of ours got married who is a Ms. Pac-Man fanatic. His best man set out to fulfill the groom’s dream of owning a Ms. Pac-Man cocktail cabinet. The problem is that the unit he was after was selling for $2500. It’s great to buy the real thing (and with guest contributions he did,) but if it’s not available consider building your own.

[Alex] has put together a comprehensive guide for building a MAME cocktail cabinet. Unlike the mini-cabinet we saw last week, this is intended to be used sitting down and features controls on more than one side. His guide details the use of an original arcade CRT or an LCD flat panel, high-end controls via an I-Pac 4 controller, and a PC running MAME and MaLa software for Windows. The result is a professional looking build with controls on three sides of the table.

[via Gizmodo]

16 thoughts on “In-depth MAME Cocktail Cabinet Build

  1. The cocktail cabinet is neat, but there’s an obvious flaw. The screen is only in the right orientation for one user at a time (for most retro games). How about four seats with controllers arranged in a half circle, and one large screen. That would be sweet.

  2. Andy-
    Right, but once again, it’s only in the correct orientation for *one user at a time* (or in the case of this cabinet, two when the “front” controllers are being used). If two players are on opposite ends of the table, the display is always upside-down for one of the players. The half-circle approach eliminates that problem, whether you have 2, 4, 8, or more players.

    The cocktail cabinet still rocks, don’t get me wrong.

    1. Obviously you don’t have any experience playing cocktail table games. This is not an UPRIGHT cabinet. The better hack to this great hack would be to have the table top flip up to a 60 degree angle for side scrollers — I will implement this feature when I make this table

  3. I agree that the screen orientation could be a problem for many games, but this exact layout (well, minus the two “front” controllers) was produced commercially so there ought to be some for which it works just fine. I can’t recall what game was on the one I saw 15-20 years ago at a pizza place.

  4. That first sentance is tricky…

    Also, they couldn’t hide the extension cord for the promo-pic? at least stash the connector section under the unit.

    I appreciated this post primarily for being introduced to mala-fe… seems like a nice solution for a clean install. I haven’t checked the xbmc pc ports in a while, if they kept an equivalent programs section [maybe a nice plugin to re-add if still not present?], that would be useful in an arcade setting. and you get the bonus htpc from xbmcs primary goals.

    I really like the idea of a cocktail cabinet, but can’t see too many benefits. I keep coming back to it simply being a super-table…


  5. Amk – this is a 2-player cabinet. The reason for 4 sets of controls is so you can play vertical and horizontal games the way they were meant to be played. If you really wanted to accommodate more than 2 players you’d change the design, but this is a cabinet that classic arcade enthusiasts would go for.

    Speaking of which, if you’re going to build a cabinet, you need to start at

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