An Arcade Cabinet With Displays To Spare

We’ve all got a pretty good mental image of what an arcade cabinet looks like, so you probably don’t need to be reminded that traditionally they are single-screen affairs. But that idea dates back to when they were built around big and bulky CRT displays. Now that we have modern LCD, LED, and OLED panels, who says you have to follow the old rules?

That’s precisely the sort of out of the box thinking that lead [Al Linke] to build this unique multi-display arcade cabinet. The game itself is still played on a single screen, but several smaller sub-displays are dotted all around the cabinet to indicate various bits of ancillary information. Are they necessary? Hardly. But we can’t deny it’s a clever idea, and we wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing something similar in other DIY cabinets.

The build started with a commercially available cabinet from Arcade1Up, which at this point are popular enough that some of the Big Box retailers have them in stock. All of the electronics except for the display were stripped out, and replaced with a Dell OptiPlex 9020 computer and high-quality joysticks and buttons. [Al] then installed his various displays all over the cabinet, including a gorgeous LED marquee that we’ve featured previously.

So what do all these little screens do? [Al] explains them in the video after the break, but the general idea is that they provide contextual information about the game you currently have loaded up. A two-color OLED display shows the name of the game and what it’s rated, while a seven segment LED display shows the year the game was released. The displays are located both by the controls and where you’d expect the coin slot to be, so whether you’re actively playing or across the room, you can see all the information.

We’re always amazed to see how builders find ways to make their own personal arcade cabinets stand out. While it’s an idea that at this point we’ve seen quite a lot of, no two projects have ever been quite the same.

15 thoughts on “An Arcade Cabinet With Displays To Spare

  1. “Suitable for all ages” … *sigh*

    Arcade cabinets were never really available here in Germany for youngsters. At least in my teens (90’s – don’t really know if it changed by now) almost all arcade cabinets were considered “gambling”. So no gaming on these machines, under the age of 18.
    They were only available in separeted areas in bowling centers and video rental shops, were you couldn’t get in if you were underaged. Everytime I see an article about arcades in the US, the thought comes up that we’ve missed out a lot. Consider yourself privileged. ;)

    1. It was patchy in the UK, there were arcades of a sort in most towns, that also had slot machines of limited payout, so that was what set the age limit. There were machines in ones, twos and threes in cafes, lobbies of other businesses/facilities. It was only really seaside towns and other tourist areas that supported a full video arcade, but half the floorspace would be other types of coin amusements and non-monetary prize machines. Though actually, a bit late to the party, malls in the 90s tended to have kids/teens areas that were arcade like. Major thing in UK though is that the damn things were expensive, where original took a quarter and they had to replace the coin mech for UK currency, they’d make it a 50p one, which in relative terms was triple the cost or so, soon after the 1 pound coin came out, the 16 or 32 bit games were wanting those. It was only the first wave of 8 bit games that I recall being priced equivalently to US at 10p a game… maybe they cost too much to run or didn’t make enough, it only seemed that lasted 2 or 3 years.

      1. Hi,
        Just read your comment and enjiy this topic.

        As i just replied to the German chap in Scotland at my locsl arcade in irvine, scitland it was all very laxed.
        Gambling machines were next to the arcade machines all the classics back in the eighties it was very laxed and us kids could plsy the gambling machines aswell.. Tic tac toe, penny falks. Any machine.. But of course i was more interested in playing wonderboy, green beret, bankpanic, crytal castles, kung fu, gauntlet.. It was a grest local arcsde and i have great memories if being there many days a week mainy after 6pm to 9pm enjoying the sounds and smells if the eighties.. This was 1984 to 1992 then games starting costing 50p to £1 when the games got fancier, i consider myself and all the kids that went there very lucky as ut was a safe, fun place to hang out.. That was my experience. Sea gate amusements is still ther and has a cafe but just has gambling machinez now.. No arcades.. Sob..sob..but i have 7 in the house incuding outrun, sega naomi, streetfighter so i can still have fun..

    2. Well here in the USA pinball was banned from the 1940s to 1976.

      I don’t remember about any other bans here in the US…
      But that is interesting gives you a new prespective.

      P.S I also looked up arcade laws in Germany. You can have arcades now but there are limits
      on how much the prizes can be, closing hours. If I am wrong (I only looked this up a little bit)
      please correct me in comments.


      1. The ban was mot nationwide. Many jurisdictions interpreted differently. If the game could be seen as a game of skill, rather than chance, and had no payout other than extra ball, it could not be banned, but possibly restricted to certain venues in some municipalities.
        Gottlieb produced at least 96 different models between 1940 and 1974.o

    3. Hi,
      Sorry to hear, i never knew how strict arcade cabinet playing was in germany.
      Growing up in Scotland we could play at any age generally and my local arcade has filled me up bwith many great memories.
      Just lije the USA we dreamed of playing these gorgeous gsmes at home but took many years ti achieve. Gid bless.

  2. This is nice cant believe something like this hasn’t occurred to me.

    Games played (coins inserted) time spent would all be nice.

    If i made an arcade game itd be a coin pusher

  3. It’s nice , but no way I would of added that much crap to the controller. Too many lights and obstruction around the controller. For sure the useless LED panel that says “MS-PACMAN” that is not even an inch from the buttons will be in the way.

  4. really like the added lcd’s my only question is when you start a game why did they put “now playing xxxxx” instead of just putting the marquee up there? If i’m playing i know what i started. if i’m not the one playing the marquee tells me that. i’m just confused as to why that was done. Otherwise i really like it.

  5. Tonnes of arcades in Liverpool.

    Double dragon, dynamite dux, pit fighter, re-type, side arms, Wonderboy….. I could go on forever here.

    Have always played and replayed arcade classics on pc and throughout my childhood.

    90% of chippies had them, capaldis on Kensington had pit fighter, Videorama had double dragon and side arms.

    The amazing thing we had was the amount of people there was who would be there, everyone was out every day..

    I can remember playing double dragon in video Rama at around 8pm with me dad in the pub round the corner and around 15 people all waiting for their go of double dragon, I could finish the game in one life so I was like a celebrity there.

    There were actual arcades where you had to be 18 but cafes and video shops or chippies, no restrictions.

    The huddling besides a mate or stranger was something that added to competitiveness, something you just don’t get any more, sure the games were sprite driven but it didn’t matter, the gameplay mattered and it was unfortunately much better than today.

    We didn’t need any second displays back then, sure it would have been nice but not necessary.

    Always been meaning to get a cabinet or make one but haven’t got the space now.

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