Fabrizio Guglielmino

A Raspberry PI based Arcade

Published on November 02, 2013

A Raspberry PI based Arcade

Word “videogame” is for me a big piece of my youth. I spent many hours playing with arcade games when I was young and many of them are still impressed in my mind.

For other like my grew up in the 80s a screen like this:

Bubble Bobblee

are immediately are commented out with something like “AHHH!!! Bubble Bobble what a great game!!”. Yes it was and in a nostalgic day I decided to bring these day to a new life.

Today it’s really simple to play with these old games, You can install MAME in one of it’s flavours and look around for game’s ROM (note: isn’t legal to own ROMS file of games You don’t own). But I was looking for something more, I was looking for reproduce THE FULL EXPERIENCE.

What I wanted was to reproduce the experience of arcade game and for this was mandatory to make one. So I made a custom arcade game cabinet, indeed I made a miniature version of it.

In the Internet there are many projects about making a custom arcade machine but I tried to make one from scratch. As hardware platform I used a RaspberryPI with a custom Linux distribution specifically made for this kind of games : PiMAME. I made the cabinet laser cutting some MDF wood, I don’t own a laser cut machine so I made the CAD drawing and I used vectorealism, a really good online service for laser cut and also 3D print.

First prototype isn’t really cool but making it gave me a lot of satisfaction and experience, this is only a starting point because I’m planning to make a second version with two player support and more attention to aesthetics.

Tabletop prototype

This is not the end, this is only a starting point. With experience I gave making the first prototype now I planning to make a second device with more ambitious targets:

  • Two player
  • More powerful board (I’m evaluating many like BeagleBone Black, Phoenix A20,…)
  • More attention to cabinet esthetic
  • Simple to build, I’m thinking about a system where cabinet can be assembled like an Ikea one

I’ll post in my blog progress of this second phase.

If you like it, share it!