Venture Arcade

Several years ago, I bought an old beat up Ring King arcade machine, and converted it to a mame machine. At the time, I lacked the tools and space to do anything more than build a control panel for it and fit it with a TV and a computer. Shortly after I started working on that, I started designing a custom 4 player showcase cabinet with my brother Scott. Initially, it was going to be fit with a 35" CRT TV, and then when LCD panels started coming down in price, we redesigned for a 42" LCD TV. I was responsible for the PC work and the design, Scott was responsible for the electronics and a good bit of the woodworking.

When we finally started building it, a friend donated a 50" plasma display, so another minor redesign was required. What we ended up with is an absolute MONSTER of a mame machine.

Major features:

  • 1. Modular design. Despite being close to 8 feet tall, the cabinet is built in 5 major parts, easily fits through most doors and assembly is completely tool-less.
  • 2. 50" plasma display :)
  • 3. Multiple control panels, including a 4 player fight panel and a "frankenpanel" with tank sticks, trackball and spinner/tron controls
  • 4. Aimtrak guns for shooters.
  • 5. Extra control panel clamps out of the way when not in use.
  • 6. Control panels are completely self contained and can be used with other computers
  • 7. Computer is built in a special tray and can be removed easily for upgrades.
  • 8. Cupholders.
  • 9. Runs Mala FE with custom skin.

Below are random pics from the build process, which was recently completed. In the future, we will organize this into a proper build log. For now, there are notes on some of the pics

New Marquee design because the last one sucked.
Basic frame for the main cabinet that holds the screen and the PC tray.
This control panel was trashed. Buttons were too far apart and the Kinko's vinyl print looked like crap.
Spacing and layout are much better on this panel
Wiring started
Overlay printed by GameOnGrafix.com
Wiring done
The TV support. The outside set of vertical 2x4s were overkill and removed from the final design.
Mobo tray from a coolermaster case serves as the PC mounting.
It slides out making PC work a snap.
Side panels for the main cabinet
Top of main cabinet.
Main cabinet done. It was later cut down by about 8 inches.
TV mount. Notice only 2 2x4s
Cutouts for passthrough connections to TV
HDMI connectors on the right, Component on the left.
The TV mount in the main cabinet. No tools.
Building the Marquee box.
12v LED strips, powered by the PC. Works like a power light :)
Front pedestal for testing.
Machine got used like this for almost 3 years while I worked on the 2nd control panel and the Jukebox
Experimenting with some different material. Abandoned.
This control panel has trackball, flightstick, tank sticks and spinner.
I decided on a Monarch theme for the second control panel.
Decals and art, also printed by GameOnGrafix.com
Modifying a Happ Super to fit a replica Satan's Hollow handle.
Vintage Competition Pro joysticks handles for the tank sticks.
miss-drilled my trackball mounting holes and had to go with plan B
iPac2 mounted
This panel was a MESS to wire.
2nd control panem done!
Tank sticks are 4-ways with custom internal 2-way restrictor plates laser cut by Pololu.com
Testing the spinner
Finally got around to finishing up the front pedestal
Decals, Cupholders, Holsters, drawer and kickplate :) (Bottle opener not shown)
The gun holsters are 2x4 PVC tube from Amazon Small Parts site.
Keyboard and Mouse drawer
With Fight-panel mounted
With Franken-panel mounted

The following images are the background images I designed for Mala front-end.