Upgraded My MAME Cabinet

12 05 2008

cab Hello folks!

So, I spent a few bucks this weekend and upgraded my arcade cabinet’s guts. Previously, it was running an AMD Sempron 2500+ with 768 megs of ram. I purchased a new motherboard (EVGA), dropped in a Intel Core2Duo processor (I had it left over from my last upgrade to my desktop pc), 2 gigs of DDR 2 ram and a new power supply. This machine flies now (for a MAME cabinet, that is).

I stuck with the motherboard’s onboard NVIDIA graphics, as arcade emulation doesn’t require any real 3-D rendering. I am now thinking that I might upgrade the video, too as I may decide to put some more modern games on the system if I can make them mesh with the arcade controls. I also went with the onboard audio, and I have no regrets with that, as it seems to work well. I am using a 2.1 audio setup (two speakers plus a sub-woofer) at the moment, but am considering ways of doing a 4.1 or 5.1 setup in the arcade machine. It would require a redesign of the control panel, but that was something I was already planning anyway.

I was planning on dropping in a 19 inch Samsung flat panel monitor in place of the 19 inch Samsung Sync Master CRT monitor that is in there right now, but that will have to wait, as that will actually take some wood work that I was not prepared to do this weekend. I know a lot of people prefer the CRT for MAME cabinet use, but the Sync Master is fading (focus is way off), and this flat panel is very bright and crisp…and sitting right here.

I then installed Windows XP Media Center (and all updates), along with re-installing Mamewah, the arcade cabinet friendly frontend for the Mame emulator. It also works very well with other command line emulators, though it can be frustrating to setup, initially.

Another change I want to make is to completely redo the artwork for the bezel – Heck, I want to redo the whole bezel it self, as I am using black foam-core with pasted on graphics. Kind of tacky, and it is starting to take a beating from my removing the plexi-glass to get at the monitor controls.

I have to say that I am wrestling with the possibility of just buying a cocktail cabinet and putting everything in there and ditching the upright machine, but I haven’t decided if I really want to do all that work…

 

-If you are interested, you can read an earlier post about my MAME cabinet here.

music note While writing this, I was listening to “Most Precarious” by Blues Traveler

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My MAME Cabinet: Retrocade

20 02 2008

My addiction to classic video games runs deep. So deep that I felt compelled to convert an old APB arcade game into a MAME arcade cabinet.retrocde

“What is MAME?” you may be asking yourself. Well, MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Mame is a piece of software that emulated the hardware of many (literally thousands) of arcade machines on a PC. You have to supply the roms (the game instructions themselves), but once you have it set up, which really isn’t very difficult, you have an old gamer’s paradise on your hands. There are legality issues, as you are not supposed to have roms to any games that you do not actually physically own unless released to the public, but I’m not a law enforcement officer, and I really don’t care: none of these arcade games are available to me in the arcade any more…so bite me! 🙂

Along with a huge list of arcade games, it also runs emulators for several home console systems, a number of PC games that work well with arcade controls and some pretty good juke box software.

I use a piece of software as a “front end” of sorts that organizes the systems and games into a series of menus that are easily accessible using either the joystick or the trackball. The front end I chose is called Mamewah.  Although not perfect, it has proven to be the easiest one that I have found to configure, so far. The brains of the cabinet id a PC running an AMD X2 4200+ with one gig of ram running Windows XP. It is wirelessly networked to my home network via 802.11N. The controlls are authentic arcade controlls purchased on Ebay, connected to a USB I-pac keyboard encoder which converts inputs from the controls into keyboard inputs that the PC can understand. Also, I installed a large trackball for games like Missile Command, which the PC uses as it’s mouse.

This was a very fun project that was so worth the time. I love being able to sit down and play my favourite oldies on actual arcade hardware like they were meant to be enjoyed.

Anyway, if you want more informaton of this or other mame cabinets, email me!

music note While writing this, I was listening to “From Out of Nowhere” by Faith No More