Friday, February 18, 2011

Build Your Own Arcade Machine

The question I have for you is not whether you want your own Street Fighter II arcade machine [1].  My question is when did you give up wanting a Street Fighter II arcade machine? 

If you never wanted one, well, I don't want to say anything ageist--maybe you at one time thought it would be hip to have your own Pac-Man table machine [2].  How you sat to play in your skinny jeans, I'll never know--I'm happily in the gap between skinny jean generations.  I did at one time wear parachute (or "Hammer") pants, but at least I was comfortable while looking silly.  Listen, let's not argue--at one point or another, each of us thought it would rock to have some kind of arcade game, regardless of our age, gender, race, or pants.

Years ago, I was in a class learning to (re)build computers and build networks, and I learned that one of the instructors was building his own arcade box and using a Linux PC to run the games.  How cool it would be to be one of those techie dorks who could do such a thing. 

Thanks to John St. Clair's Project Arcade: Build Your Own Arcade Machine [3], these geek techniques have been democratized for the literate.  This handy book covers everything: woodwork instructions, sources and suggestions for artwork, evaluations of different joysticks, info on gaming software, and a discussion of what is and isn't legal with respect to games and copyright.

This is much more than an afternoon project, but man what a way to creatively kill your free time.  And at the end, you'll be left with something that you can enjoy with your friends.  Also, you'll blast your basement with a serious feng shui hadouken. 

High Scores
1. has some surprisingly interesting information on the Street Fighter II arcade game.

2. You've got to scroll down a bit for the pics of the Pac Man table, but the memories are worth it.

3. Check availability of Project Arcade in the library catalog.

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