Building a MAME Cabinet

If you’re not familiar with MAME I encourage you to check it out. MAME is one of the coolest pieces of software available. MAME is an acronym that stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. It fairly well describes what MAME does — it emulates the hardware for multiple arcade systems. The cool aspect of emulating all of these arcade systems is that MAME will play old arcade games (currently 4921 rom sets are supported).

I first discovered MAME back in 1999 and every so often load up the latest version. I’ve been playing it quite a bit lately and have gotten tired of playing with just the keyboard. I originally thought I would just buy a controller, but after looking at the prices (and getting permission from Sarah) I’ve decided to build a full cabinet.

The main construction is going to have to wait until after we move in late July. I don’t really feel like putting a system together only to move it right after it gets finished. I’ve been working on the design for the past week and I finally think I have something I like. I’m going to build in several stages. First will be a USB control panel that will mount to the cabinet. Until the cabinet is complete I’ll be able to use the controller with my normal PC (and hopefully also my powerbook hooked to the TV for more realistic game play). I’ll then build the cabinet. We’re renting a townhouse in Springfield, so I know that we’ll be moving again in the not too distant future so I’m going to build the cabinet in two pieces. The bottom will house all of the computer hardware. The top will house the display (I’m planning on using a 27″ television). The whole cabinet including the control panel will break into three pieces for easier moving. I’ll also be able to swap panels if I want to upgrade or design a special panel.

Stay tuned for more details as they become available.