Observercade, Portable MAME System Of The Future.


[GarageMonkeySan] wrote in to tell us about his latest project. It’s a MAME arcade emulator, but not just any MAME arcade emulator, it is housed in a briefcase. And if that was not interesting enough, it was built in the style of the TV Show “Fringe”, specifically like the Observer briefcases. He calls it the Observercade.

The hard-shelled Samsonite briefcase was taken apart to assess the best way to move forward. A Sintra frame was added to the top half of the briefcase and would hold a scavenged laptop LCD screen. A monitor faceplate was then made from 1/16″ polystyrene sheet to fill the gap around the screen.

The bottom half of the case holds the remaining electronics, which consists of a Raspberry Pi Model B (running RetroPie), power supply, speakers and LCD driver board. They are all mounted to the bottom of the control surface which also supports the controller joystick and buttons. Notice that the buttons are labeled in Observer symbols. These symbols are as accurate as possible roughly translating to ‘credit’, ‘player’… etc. This is a wonderfully done project that shows [GarageMonkeySan] pays extreme attention to detail.

If the Observercade rings a bell, you may be remembering the project that gave [GarageMonkeySan] his inspirations: the Briefcade.

8 thoughts on “Observercade, Portable MAME System Of The Future.

  1. Absolutely beautiful execution! I have a half built briefcase computer from 5 years ago and this makes me want to pull out the FIC ION A603 mini PC and swap in an RPi. Harbor freight has excellent little cases for projects like this. I used one for my Propeller Based Reverse GeoCache Present……

  2. Why people think that the Raspberry Pi is a good choice for an emulation/MAME box is beyond me, its way too slow to play anything but the simplest games.

    Plenty of other easily hackable hardware out there that is better for the job (Intel has made a few SBCs as of late that would be better, especially with the Intel x86 backend to the MAME recompiler thing.

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