My arcade machine

Portfolio Personal project

My arcade machine

Project information

Project: Arcade machine retrofit
Client: -
Industry: Personal project
Company: -
Location: Munich
Date: April - June 2019

As a child (and even later) I was always fascinated by Arcade machines. They were simply incredible: the graphics, the sound, the catchy music… compared to the computers of that time (I had a Spectrum) they were simply another dimension.
If we add to that that you had to pay to play… we already have it everything: they were pure desire.
The years went by and gradually people forgot about them, but in my case I must admit that they left a mark.

I would have always liked to have an arcade machine at home, it would have been incredible to be able to play those video games without limits and enjoying an interface that consoles have never emulated: the joystick in one hand and the buttons in the other. Just great. In addition, as a decorative object it is unique, totally chic.

In the early 2000s I discovered the world of emulation through MAME and was fascinated: I could play classic arcade games on a personal computer… Great! He had discovered Retrogaming. I was finally able to play classic games from my old Spectrum but also amazing arcade machine games though, it wasn't the same.

Time went by and I found another milestone in my journey: Raspberry Pi and the RetroPie operating system, which allowed emulating video games on a Raspberry. Incredible. This is how I made my first MPV: I set up a PI 2 with Retropie and connected two Super Nintendo-style USB controllers to it. It was awesome. I could play all those classic video games with my kids. He was definitely a little closer now.

First MVP. Raspberry Pi and two USB controllers.
First MVP. Raspberry Pi and two USB controllers.

The idea was simple: find an old arcade machine, it was not necessary or workable, discard all the old electronics and replace it with a Raspberry Pi.

The next step was clear. It was evident that he could mount that system in a custom-made structure simulating an arcade machine and connect classic joysticks to it. But it could still be done better: he could find an old machine and adapt it to a Raspberry. I accidentally discovered the Retrofit.

The idea was simple: find an old arcade machine, it was not necessary or workable, discard all the old electronics, replace it with a Raspberry Pi and connect the classic controllers with a USB controller. In addition, you could do all the lighting of the marquee and the purse with LED lights.

One day it happened: on Ebay I found a guy who was selling an old arcade machine that was completely inoperative (without a deck and with a broken CRT monitor) but on the outside in pretty good condition. In addition, the crystals were intact. I took it home, completely disassembled it and cleaned it very carefully. I had to restore some damage but in general the structure was perfect. I discarded the remaining electronic components and started to install all the components: the Raspberry Pi, a power supply, an amplifier that I connected to the original speaker of the machine (this one still worked!) and finally I connected the wiring of the joysticks and the buttons to two USB controllers. Finally I installed the lighting systems.

Machine during restoration
Machine during restoration
Detail of the original stand for the monitor
Detail of the original stand for the monitor
Finished but with open guts.
Finished but with open guts.

And there we have it...

The result was the realization of a childhood dream: I already had my own arcade machine and could finally play absolutely all the video games that had always fascinated me. Now, when I have guests at home, she is always a highlight!

Finished and working.
Finished and working.