retro arcade, visual pinball cabinet, techblog

Final sprint! Meanwhile, the cab has been moved from my father's workshop to our home and received a nice place in the living room.

I've cutted the holes for joysticks and buttons on the controlpanel sticker - a sharp knife is a must here. Now the sticker stucks on the board and the buttons are installed and wired to the iPac. The edge of the plexiglass cover for the monitor is painted black and installed - that looks really cool now ;)

Regarding the hardware I've installed an older Wortmann Terra PC (dual-core with 2 x 2.8 GHz and 2 GB RAM) running Windows 7. For the frontend I've installed GameEx, I like the clear layout and the extensive configuration options. From GameEx the MAME games are displayed in a list with preview pictures. When you click on a list entry, further informations such as button assignment, instructions and so on are shown, besides, you can then start the game. GameEx fetches the data and thumbnails from a local database.  Another emulators currently running are Future Pinball and the C64 emulator WinVICE. An update with more emulators is possible at any time. If you want to, GameEx also plays music in the frontend background - I've choosen "Surfing on a Sine Wave" from the album "Motorway" by Fear Of Dark, the nice 8-bit chiptune theme somehow fits to our new game box ;)

The whole frontend is built up in a way, that the machine can be operated without a keyboard or mouse. After switching on via push button (on the bottom of the controlpanel), Windows 7 is booting in a minimized and customized version and immediately after a short "escucos mame" intro (which can be interrupted) GameEx is starting. The handling in GameEx is done completely via the joystick and buttons.

A good sound during gaming is ensured through an old sound system "Z4" from Logitech. I placed the subwoofer on the bottom of the cab and I replaced the original PC speakers with the Pioneer speakers. The remote control is hidden behind the cab. There, volume and bass can be adjusted quickly and if necessary me or my wife are able to attach headphones.

The complete hardware is switched on and off by a master-slave power strip with USB port. The PC is connected wireless to my router - in the event that I need network access.

At present I'm just waiting for the orange t-molding from www.t-molding.com. My last report is hopefully followed soon with the finished cab!

 Cutting the controlpanel sticker

Logitech Z4 soundsystem with subwoofer and remote control. I don't used the original speakers.

Varnishing the bezel (backside)

Behind the maintenance door ;)

GameEx frontend (start screen)

After booting the operating system a short "escucos mame" intro video starts, before the GameEx frontend loads. You can skip the intro with the "skip" key from the controlpanel