The Original MAME
The New MAME II
This documents the creation of my MAME ULTIMATE Arcade Machine. Thanks to LuSid's work, which is very close to what I ended up with (even though I 3D-Modeled and laid out the whole thing fresh myself and played with a LOT of different things, I ended up trying to go closer to a Gauntlet Dark Legacy type cabinet on the second one) and to Arcade Controls for putting together a VERY good page to help those of us that want to spend the money and the time making one of these. Also, thanks to all of the other people that have documented their crusade online (many good examples can be found at Arcade Controls Examples).
This page essentially documents my original MAME cabinet, though there are MAME II pics for the second one, along with some basic scans of plans. I am continually updating this page, mostly on the What's New blog page, so check back there. Also, I LOVE getting email from folks, and I try to help out as much as I can. So, please, send me your pictures!
What is MAME, you ask? Well, if you're like me (25-35 years old), you probably spent a good portion of your youth (and weekly allowance) feeding quarters to these monsters called "arcade machines" in a generally poorly lit, dingy corner of the local mall or pizza place. And if you're like me, this is a very warm and sometimes not oft' thought of memory of your past. Well, get ready for the memories to start FLOODING back, because MAME, which stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, is a PC (and now works on MAC, Amiga, Linux, and probably more systems) program, which emulates the original hardware function of those same arcade machines in every shape and form on a personal computer; at least as much as possible, as this is an ongoing project to get more and more ROM's (which stands for Read Only Memory, and represents the raw assembly type language these arcades were written in) to work with the ONE program over time. What this means is that this is not a clone or an attempt to copy/imitate some long forgotten arcade classic, but they take the ORIGINAL ROM and allow an emulator or interpretter to implement the original programming sequences, sounds, sprites, movements, etc. as dictated by the original ROM programming. If the ROM is available, and they have gotten it working under MAME, then it is 99% guaranteed that this will look, feel and behave exactly like the original (Hell, it is the original) arcade game, with the exception that you may be displaying it on a PC monitor, and playing it with KEYBOARD controls (but that is what this page is all about...completing the effect).
Now, this represents a tremendous amount of work and effort on both the parts of the MAME Team, and on the part of individuals, who have provided the ROM source from their own private hard copies, mostly for the sake of posterity. It is also completely illegal to poses, distribute, sell, copy, or use these ROM images without a license for each one. This is very similar to rules and laws regarding copywrite issues and to copying movies that you don't legally own. Ok, now that that warning and caution is out of the way, there are some ways to obtain LEGAL copies of these ROMs. For one thing, you may purchase the original arcade, which entitles you to have a copy of the ROM (though distributing it and using that copy on more than one location, etc. may still be illegal). For another, Hanaho sells HotRod controllers and custom Arcade machines (also check out there site for full JAMMA arcade cabinets), which come with a limited license for several ROM games when you purchase one of the arcade controllers.
I'm sure that I probably spent more time and more money on this than I should have, but I love doing these sort of projects just for the sheer joy of doing them. It involves computers (which I love), and it involves making stuff (which I also love), and it is NOT a proven out or well defined project (although with the links above, it is easier and can be done). There is a LOT of creative decisions that can be made to achieve the final project. I know that I spent a ton of time reviewing all of the examples that other very giving people have taken the time to document. Even something that wasn't what I wanted to do helped me out to formulate my final project. I probably changed my decision on what I wanted to end up with at least 10 major times. I'm taking pictures as the project progresses and will get them posted as I get them developed (damn, I wish I had a digital camera).
For what it's worth, I was targetting spending around $850 on this project. That was for a "from scratch complete cabinet", at least 25" (probably 27") TV or arcade monitor, computer, and tons of controls. I'm now almost done, and I can tell you that it is closer to $1200 with all of the final little costs. None of the major stuff changed much from my original estimate, it is just all of the little $5 brackets and bolts DO add up quickly if you are honest enough with yourself to go back and add it all up. And the $850 estimate was padded pretty well too, just surprising. Well, check out my Bill of Materials list if you are interested. Still, that is better than $5999 from Arcadium or even $1295 for just a bare cabinet, monitor, and coin box (no PC, JAMMA board, joysticks, buttons, marquee, etc) from Hanaho.
hits since July 2005