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  • Writer's pictureJoel

Building an arcade machine (Part 1 - Concept)

Remember playing arcade games when we were kids, before technology expanded to a point where we could talk to a device and it would order a pizza? (Maybe not!)

Seems I'm a bit of an old fella these days, I hate commercial TV, don't like reality shows, the news is just sensationalism, and I don't buy into the whole commercialism of today's apparent society. I'd much prefer human contact and the real human experience. I go to a lot of shows, work with a lot of bands, and probably spend too much time ingrained in the local music community.

So, it's time to do something different. I really enjoy video games, (when I have time) and am especially reminiscent of old times spent playing arcade machines. There used to be places you could go specifically to play these old games. Galaga, Metal Slug, and Street Fighter II were probably my favourite, but there were literally thousands of different games around.

I did a little research, and apparently, I'm not alone. There are a bunch of forums online full of people who make these emulators, and do a really good job, so, naturally I've gotta give it a go as well.

The Concept

After looking at some of the setups people use, I've decided that the system needs to be a good combination of a few key aspects:

  • Price: I've only got a few hundred dollars (Australian) to do this.

  • Stability: I don't want to do this, only to have it crash mid way through every game

  • Performance: While I don't need this unit to run anything serious or ram heavy, (most games are under a few Megabytes) I would like to be able to store all of the games on board the system.

With these points in mind, I have decided to use a Raspberry Pi 3 setup. It's capable of running an operating system called "RetroPie" which was designed exactly for this purpose (and it's a free download, so thats nice!)

I want the real arcade controls (none of that sharing a keyboard garbage) and funnily enough I've ordered a little piece of usb kit that I can wire the controls to, giving you that old school feel!

The pieces are in the mail... Lets see if I can see this project to completion...More to come.

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