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First arcade cabinet build. Introductions and advice.


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[X-Posted to /r/Hyperspin, /r/Mame, /r/Cade, hyperspin-fe.com and emumovies.com]



Hi Everyone,



I have been gearing up to begin my first 2 player cabinet construction in the coming months and I guess this is my introductory posting to say hello and to express my enthusiasm at joining the hobby.


This is going to be a long one so bear with me, please, I’ll try and make reading it as easy as possible. I have crossed posted this to other forums and sub-reddits to scoop a wider range of opinion. I apologise if this offends, it is not my intention just starting out and trying to garner knowledge from people wiser than I on the subject.


I’ll highlight all my questions in bold-italics so if you just want to skim it will be easier to pick out what I am asking.





I am going give my backstory now so if you don’t find this sort of stuff interesting please skip to the TL;DR I honestly wouldn’t blame you.


I was sent off to an English boarding school at the age of 10 after my parents divorced and the living arrangement for both became unviable. It was there I met my best friend and we bonded over our love of offensive jokes, Aliens (movie) and video games. Living in a seaside town in the late 80s and 90s meant a lot of time was spent in arcades, the town in particular was a hive of them so I got to play a lot of games, was  quite sad to see the decline of them and now there are only a hand full left. They are mostly full of novelty games and fruitys now though.

I have always wanted to build a Mame cabinet, I always have my Emulator drive and a gamepad plugged in ready to go, but I just simply do not have the space to house an arcade machine. I have noticed recently he has also been playing more retro games so I guess his interest is still there.

Over the years, as far as birthday and Christmas presents come, Dan has always been more generous to me (probably owing to the fact he earns more than me and does not have 2 kids)

He has just moved into a palatal new flat which he is turning into an awesome bachelor pad so it will fit right in there.


TL;DR Have a lifetime best friend who I am building this Cab for to say thanks for years of generosity.



-          WOODWORK



My father-in-Law is a carpenter by trade so he was the first person I approached when I started looking into doing this. To my surprise he was really keen on helping which is fantastic because I am awful at anything DIY.



He has access to heavy duty machinery so he can do all the cutting and bevelling at work and then build it all at home. A god send literally



I am going to use the Koenig’s plans as it seems the best fit for my requirements:




Has anyone built from these specs? Any pitfalls I should be aware of?


As far as artwork goes, I have no idea what direction I want to go with that. I’d like maybe to do an Aliens cab but don’t really know where to start, any suggestions

After that I’ll have to work out a way to get the damn thing 30 miles over to his house without costing a fortune! :D




-          SYSTEM  -



The system I have built is cobbled together form parts I had lying around that were too valuable to get rid of.


From reading people’s opinions it should be adequate but I would values any points of view about its viability.


I think if I were to change up anything it would be to put 8gb RAM in in place of 4gb but DDR2 RAM is so expensive now.


Mainboard Model              ConRoe1333-DVI/H.

Processor                           Intel® Core2 Duo CPU     E4600  @ 2.40GHz

Memory                              4GB (2x OCZ Titanium CL4 Edition 2 GB DDR2 Ram - OCZ2T800C42G)

Graphics                            XFX GeForce 9800 GTX+ - Black Edition - 512 MB

Sound                                 Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy SE

Speakers                            Logitech X-240 Speakers (2.1)

Monitor                               Fujitsu Siemens D19-1 19" TFT Monitor 1280x1024 2000:1 300cd/m2 5ms Black VGA/DVI Speakers Piano 

Storage                               1x WD SATA II 160GB + 1x Seagate SATA II 500GB

O/S                                       Windows 7 Professional 64bit







-          EMULATORS -


As far as emulation goes I think I don’t really want to go further than N64. Indeed I question how practical emulating N64 or indeed any of the below systems in a cabinet. What worries me about that is how the controls map. With most of the systems I list below the controllers don’t have more than 6 buttons.


Has anyone comfortably run N64 games in a cabinet before? What are the opinions of the rest?


The systems I am going to support are as follows:



MAME 0.158


Neo Geo


Nintendo Entertainment system

Super Nintendo Entertainment system

Nintendo Gameboy

Nintendo Gameboy Color

Nintendo Gameboy Advance

Nintendo N64


NEC TurboGrafx 16

NEC SuperGrafx


Sega Master System

Sega Mega Drive (Genesis)

Sega 32X

Sega CD (unsure of this one due to the difficulty of sourcing ROMs)

Sega Game Gear

Sega Model 2


Atari 2600

Atari 5200

Atari 7800

Atari Jaguar

Atari Lynx





-          CONTROLS -


As I said above I will only be making a 2up cabinet so for controls, I live in the UK but there are a few arcade resellers. I found this set that looks good:





Anyone bought this or have experience with this kit?






-          FRONTEND



I am going to use Hyperspin as the frontend for this. I know this I a polarising subject but I have looked at all the alternatives and I just love HS. Once I have I fully working I expect it will look excellent.



I have had a few road bumps setting it up from the forum instructions but I have had better success using the guide Ryan (I think) from gameroomsolutions wrote:


-shameless plug!






-          CONCLUSION



After this project is complete I intend to make a portable 4 player console to plug into a TV, then I can pack it away when I am finished and take it around friend’s house etc. Funny enough after I had told a few friends what I was planning and now they are all are asking if I can do it for them too… I may have started something I’m gonna regret!



Thanks for reading!

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That cab looks really nice.  I don't run hyperspin, but with a socket 755 motherboard you have upgrade options processor wise from your current one, should it be needed. 


The only thing you may run into running consoles on the cab is some awkwardness with the controls.  I would suggest you look at some controller options, and get what you're most comfortable with.  The XBox 360 controller, both wired and wireless work well, but their not the best match for every console.


I'm not familiar with that kit,and I don't know who is the manufacturer of the buttons and sticks, ideally I would think Happ at a minimum for hardware.  The i-pac is a solid product, I've been very happy with mine.



I may have started something I’m gonna regret!


You've started something alright, but you'll never be finished.  You'll meet some truly great people involved in this hobby, which alone makes it all worth it!


Good luck, and keep us posted with your progress!

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  • 4 weeks later...
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In getting back into this I had a PC originally that I used for an Arcade setup.  I am curious how well this holds up.  I have been reading and researching more and more into this again and most things I can find suggest much newer and faster CPUs for better emulation performance.  Your rig looks great though!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/4/2016 at 2:45 PM, corvette4evr said:

In getting back into this I had a PC originally that I used for an Arcade setup.  I am curious how well this holds up.  I have been reading and researching more and more into this again and most things I can find suggest much newer and faster CPUs for better emulation performance.  Your rig looks great though!

You should focus on clock speed vs how new it is. If you can get a core 2 duo @ 3.33 ghz for 50 bucks it will emulate just as well as any i5 for 200+. Heck as long as your running only the emulator a 3 ghz pentium 4 would work. A good Nvidia card with a clock speed of over 1ghz is almost mandatory for ps2 emulation (and ps1 all depending). Once again though it doesn't need to be recent just at the right clock speed with opengl2.

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  • 2 weeks later...



As said above you may find some consoles (Such as the N64) dont play that well on arcade type controls due to the dual sticks etc. So personally I stick to stuff that could be played with a standard 6 Button U,D,L,R control scheme. (Basically all the 32bit and older stuff really) In my opinion they also look more "the part" on a arcade machine all be it my own opinion.

But If you want to play them then I would suggest getting yourself a Controller that works with dual sticks etc to make life easier allthough again they do not really fit the look unless you build them in/hide them.


As for the front end I am just starting with Hyperspin I always used Maximus in the past and I admit it has been a uphill learning curb and found some of my older rom sets (For genesis and SNES) are not compatible so I have had to replace them. If you are starting from scratch that probably wont be a problem but keep it in mind as it has caused me hours of frustration today :p

Dons hypersin tools have been a total god send for sorting that out!


Best advice, Bear with the bumpy ride to come and have fun with it! You will be rewarded with fun and a big smile after!


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Hyperspin is pretty cool just make sure you make a backup just in case you break something and need to revert back. Everything follows a certain naming scheme and following that scheme will make syncing media very easy when setting up instead of trying to go through and match names to hundreds of games. 

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  • 1 month later...

I was using a snes usb controller with my cab and it was working very well. than I added ps1 to my hyperspin setup and went with a ps3 wireless controller. works great sometimes but the bugs are endless. My advice, figure out your end game first and stick to it. Altering things as you go, although possible, definitely can halt progression.    

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I have to agree with the guys above. I believe it is better to use the arcade controllers for arcade games. Newer systems like the n64 should better be played with a proper gamepad.


As far as controllers is concerned, i bought my controllers from non other than Ultimarc. They  may be a bit pricey but the quality is superb.

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Wow very nice, remind me of the cabinet i built, my only regret is that they really are the size of coffins and sometimes its tough to find room for them. None the less , great job!

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  • 3 months later...
On 4/23/2018 at 4:09 PM, morize said:

Indeed, i wish i had a spare garage to house a couple of these monsters (along with pinball machines and air hockey tables) ?

Or a virtual pinball machine too... ?

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