The Arcade Experience at home
I think owning an Arcade Machine was always one of my top wishes in the never ending want-to-have list when I was younger. The Arcade feeling is probably something which got lost with the Playstation Generation of gamers but I can connect a lot of memories with Arcades.
So sometimes last year I was thinking about building a MAME cabinet myself. I searched for some viable information on the web to look for good pointers. Some people build their cabinet from scratch, some use existing ones and remove all the original hardware but the Monitor and Sticks. Some looked horrible, some awesome.
As I am actually not a good carpenter I went with the plan to buy an existing machine to convert it to a MAME Cabinet. But then the next questions came up. What cabinet should I buy? What does it take to convert it to MAME. All I wanted is a cab which looked okay, worked well and was easy to mod.
Coincidentally some guy in one of the videogame forums I visit daily sold a Sega New Net City cab. It had the perfect foundation. It had a modern look, one of the best monitors from an arcade standpoint and lots of space inside, enough to hide a nice PC and all cables I had to add for the MAME experience. The monitor already came with standard VGA Outputs and the cabinet board had chinch connectors for the audio - it was perfect!
I then bought a silent HTPC with some good specs and it fitted nicely into the available space. Two XBOX360 Pads were disassembled and wired to the original arcade controls. The PC would recognize them via USB and I was able to map the sticks and 14 buttons without hassle in the MAME frontend.
Speaking of Frontends, I experimented with Hyperspin but to be honest , all I wanted was to quickly play a game and not put 1+TB on Videofiles on my machine. So I ended up using MAMEUIFX - a simple straight forward MAME Frontend. To control it I connected a wireless Keyboard. You turn the cabinet on and can play within seconds. All I do i hit STRG-F to find a game in question and hit return and there we go.
What can I say - it's perfect, really. I am also glad my son can experience this too. We are a couple of times per week downstairs to play games like Bubble Bobble or Thunder Cross - he likes it.
Below are some pictures from the in- and outside plus some bonus photos of the pain getting this thing down to the basement and unpacked. If you have not grown up with large CRT Monitors you probably can not even imagine how heavy that stuff is - I had backache for a week - but it was worth it.
Technical Details Cabinet
- Name: Sega New Net City also known a NNC
- Type: Sitdown Cabinet
- Released: 199X
- Dimensions: 980 x 760 x 1750 (2030 with marquee) mm
- Wiring: JVS
- Monitor: 29" 15/24/31kHz (Toshiba PF D29C051)
- Rotatable: Yes
- Weight: 117 kg
- MAME PC: HTPC silent PC Intel i5 based with 8GB RAM
- Controls: XBOX360 Pads
- Seats: IKEA