So I was sitting in my dentist’s chair undergoing another semi-annual checkup when he asked me the question all dentists eventually ask: “So Jeff, have you considered adding a coin door to your arcade machine?” It was hard for me to say. I had considered the option and I wanted to add that level of real arcade machine look and functionality but the cost was prohibitive and the payoff minimal since I wasn’t going to be charging anyone to play anyways. The coin door alone on suzohapp.com was going for $150 alone, not including each coin mechanism ($20 x 4) coin box ($10 to $16), and wiring. That’s a lot of money for a super cool but superfluous hardware component. Since its only true purpose in my machine would be a visual aesthetic I was considering something like the $15 door sticker from Groovygamegear until something better came along. But why do dentists ask us such questions while cleaning / drilling our teeth? Its not like I can provide a coherent answer.
Anyways, this was one of those “winging it” issues with my machine. I did not want to spend $200+ on a coin door. So I turned to ebay.
Man, sometimes I love ebay. I got this bad boy for around $50 including shipping. A thorough inspection revealed all 4 coin mechanisms worked properly, switches were functional, and a thin layer of dust needed to be cleaned up. I ordered a few small screws from suzohapps just to hold the coin mechanisms in place a little better but all in all I am very pleased with my new coin door. Just can’t wait to get an arcade machine built and plug it in.
By the way, I have an awesome dentist.
My plan is to make 1 (one) arcade machine to run them all, and it will be awesome.
So I’ve had this idea for a few years now. At least since I’ve been playing games on MAME. Two things have given me the motivation to finally get off my butt and do something about it.
1. The book Project Arcade: Build Your Own Arcade Machine by John St. Clair. Like I’ve said before, my sister gave it to me awhile back and it’s full of products, ideas, and how-tos, including full plans for making your very own Ultimate Arcade machine. John does a fantastic job of laying out a wide range of products from the big name arcade parts vendors, showing you every strength and weakness; then he tells the reader which one he chose for his build. I suggest you go get yourself a copy.
2. While checking out the suggestions for a front end I found Hyperspin. Here’s an older but still excellent video showing off what Hyperspin does. Basically a front end is software that helps the user find the games they want to play. While there are many excellent choices (some more suited for a home PC listing game details, history, more artwork, etc.) I went with Hyperspin because it’s flashy and gives me what I would want in my arcade experience. It’s pure eye-candy. You can’t help but be drawn in by its beauty. Hyperspin has tons of themes for different games. The builder sets up the front end with the themes he wants for the games he wants to play. The themes include simple artwork (usually taken from the side of the actual machine or the marquee) and a short video clip demonstrating game play. Once set up, it is very easy to use and as you can see, it is beautiful.
Hyperspin isn’t without its problems. To set it up can be frustrating. It takes a while to download the themes you want,
unless you use their FTP address to get them all at once. The real trick is getting all the emulators to work nicely with Hyperspin. I can understand why it’s difficult to get each of them to mesh with one user interface and play nicely. On the one hand, you have a great front that organizes and manages any number of emulators you want. On the other hand, those emulators aren’t made with integration into Hyperspin in mind, so they don’t always want to work together. Luckily, there’s an extensive forum with a great community of users who are ready and happy to help out. Thankfully MAME is quick and easy to get going.
With Hyperspin you can add whatever software you want. I’ve got PC games, movies, and soon I’ll be adding a jukebox player, too. This all takes some poking around forums and learning the ins and outs of Hyperspin but for me it fuels my fire to make the complete entertainment machine.
From here, the ideas came pouring in. Do I want a 2-player set up or a 4-player? 4-player for party games! What games do I want to play? As many of the classics as I can while staying open to playing modern arcade-like games. Trackball? Spinner? Yes and yes! Flashing lights? Ohh yeah! What about classic emulators for the Atari, NES, Genesis, etc? Yes yes yes yes yes! I will install external USB ports for controller plug in. Light gun games? That’s the one thing my wife MADE me include. It has to be able to play Area 51. “OK honey, if I have to.”
What will my overall theme be? I loved GI Joe as a kid and now I have a son who loves GI Joe; plus I found some GI Joe artwork that will look very nice on my machine, so I’m good to go.