I was thinking about creating a wooden cabinet for retro video games, which would look like ones from the 80s and 90s (a MAME cabinet).
I’m getting one of those sweet-ass arcade controllers from X-Arcade, and the next logical step is to create a cabinet to put a PC or Xbox in for that “authentic” classic video game feel. I’ve been reading up on how to create the cabinet, and I have moderate woodworking experience so I think I can pull it off… the real factor is time, cuz from past experience I know it will take a really really long time.
If I’m gonna do this, I want it to be “heirloom” quality… no skimping on the materials or workmanship. I’ll use birch plywood, real wood stain, ball-bearing casters, dovetail joints… the works. I know some people even incorporate coin slots in their cabinets, but what’s the point of that, really?
Really having one of those cabinets is more of a “status symbol” than anything else. Being a kid in the 80s, having a real arcade cabinet would be an absolute dream, but I’m not sure if anyone else would see any value in it… and being the envy of your friends is the purpose of this project, right?
I know some people that have original arcade booths of Dragon’s Lair and Pac-Man and that seems kind of a waste (only one game taking up so much space), but it sure lets everyone know that they are hard-core gamers. Companies sell pre-made cabinets for around $3000, but I figure I can make a complete system with used parts and only $300 worth of materials (not counting the extra woodworking tools I’ll need to buy).
I’m planning on building it based on the new X-Arcade “tank” controller, which includes two joysticks and a trackball, and side “pinball” buttons. I’ll inlclude a slide-out drawer to house a keyboard, mouse, and extra controllers. I’d like to keep all of my old (and future) consoles in it, so I might incorporate some sort of media switcher in it.
The hardware really isn’t the hard part… I want to make this as “appliance-like” as possible… meaning not having to use a keyboard and mouse just to get it loaded, or switch
between MAME and Genesis, SNES, etc.
I know Brandon started on one years ago, but not sure if he ever finished it. So whutchu think? Has anyone tackled this kind of project? Any advice?