Building A DIY Desktop-Sized Arcade Machine

Full-sized arcade cabinets are undeniably cool, but take up a lot of space and can be somewhat of a handful. [PleaseNoFisticuffs] desired something a little more fun-sized, and so built a desktop arcade machine that has some serious style.

It’s a build that’s remarkably accessible for even the inexperienced builder. Paper templates are used to cut out the plywood parts for the cabinet, and the electronic components are all off-the-shelf items. Assembly is readily achievable with high-school level woodworking and soldering skills. Like most similar builds, it relies on the Raspberry Pi running RetroPie, meaning you’ll never run out of games to play.

Where this project really shines, however, is the graphics. Cribbed from Mortal Kombat II and looking resplendent in purple, they’re key to making this cabinet a truly stunning piece. The attention to detail is excellent, too, with the marquee and screen getting acrylic overlays for that classic shine, as well as proper T-moulding being used to finish the edges.

We’d love to have something like this on our desk, though we’d likely get far less work done in such an event. For another take on an arcade build, check out this impressive Undertale pinball cabinet.


10 thoughts on “Building A DIY Desktop-Sized Arcade Machine

    1. More of a kit than a hack. Stuffing a Rpi into a pretty box really isn’t a hack.

      One thing about the Raspberry, it allows just about anyone who stuffs one of them into a box to call what they done a hack. No skill required.

    2. Not a hack?? Look at his construction techniques more closely, then, please.

      He’s using two sheets of thin plywood with cut up cardboard spacers in a hot-glue sandwich to accomodate the t-molding. Beats the heck out of routing chipboard any day.

      And that’s just for starters. There are some really cute tricks/shortcuts/dare-I-say-it-hacks along the way. This only looks like a professional build.

      If you think that this is about a game machine, you’re missing the _process_.

    1. He didn’t question the legality of copyright laws, he called them stupid. I do not agree with that choice of words. Copyright laws are currently not mainly protecting creators, they are protecting business.

      Can you mention one instance where the creators (programmers, artists, musicians etc.) of an Arcade game owns the copyright to that game?

  1. ROM images are not illegal by default, that makes as much sense as saying that DVDs are illegal.

    There exists a lot of ways to get legal roms, a multitude of official collections uses roms that can be used with any emulator. There are also companies that has given limited rights to use rom images if it is done without any commercial gain.

    I will not argue your first sentence though.

  2. The graphics are actually particularly terrible. Those are xbox era character images on the side yet it has a mk 2 marquee and a mk 1 bezel. Also the logos are mk 9 logos. The side art features an image of subzero tinted purple, which I guess is supposed to be rain, only rain never appeared on any of the arcade games, debuting instead in the home port of mkt.

    Long story short, competent photoshop skills allowing you to randomly slap promotional images on a generic background does not equate to good artwork… a cohesive theme is required. Mk1 art style doesn’t go with mk 2 and mk2 doesn’t look right with mk 9.

    That’s just the problem with the art.

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