Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, or M.A.M.E. for short, was a project of mine back in 2002. At the time of this posting, it’s now Nov. 2017 and still running strong on all original hardware and software.
I grew up in the arcade era, there were no home computers or television based games. You had a pocket full of quarters and hit the arcades.
During 2002, computers were mainstream and then, part of our daily lives. Remembering back for the nostalgia of an upright video game cabinet, and the release of many games I had played as a kid, now in digital format, I decided I was going to build my own full blown retro arcade cabinet.
So to start, I called around to local vending companies who supplied places with arcade and vending machines to see if they had any non-working arcade machines they wanted to get rid of. The price in most places then were pretty typical, a dead upright arcade cabinet went for roughly $75.00. That was mainly just the cabinet. I couldn’t reuse the arcade monitor (they are junk anyway) or the game itself that played from circuit board mounted in the cabinet.
I stripped everything out of the cabinet. Controllers, marquee, and even the coin mechanisms. I sanded the entire cabinet over a period of a few nights, then painted it semi-gloss black. I also changed out the coin mechanisms with new working ones. Rewired new buttons and controllers to a iPAC board (see below for link).
I wrote a startup screen which the user can select “Arcade” or “Jukebox”. If Arcade is selected, the computer boots into DOS and loads the DOS version of M.A.M.E. front end emulator and displays my games for play. If Jukebox is selected, it boots to Windows 95 and auto-starts my custom jukebox software.
Today it still runs the original hardware and software that I built with it, the specs are as follows:
- 19 inch ViewSonic CRT
- Pentium 3 – 733mhz
- 20gb Western Digital Hard Drive
- 512mb ram
- Mixed boot between DOS and Windows 95
- Arcade controls purchased from HAPP Controls, which is now known as Suzohapp at https://na.suzohapp.com
- iPAC board used to change over arcade control inputs to keyboard inputs from Ultimarc. They also see arcade buttons and controls. https://www.ultimarc.com
Today it’s still in use and running strong. I also wrote a jukebox software to work with M.A.M.E. cabinets. You can find more information about Digital Jukebox under my projects section.