Classic Dishes...

Control Freak

So I dunno if I’ve really mentioned it in the blog itself, but I’m a classic arcade game nut. MAME and a full set of ROMs occupy a prominent place on my game drive.

Well, being able to play all of these old games arcade-perfect is one thing, but it loses something when you have to do it with a keyboard, mouse, or a gamepad. Nothing feels like a real arcade joystick and buttons, and few computers are equipped with a spinner to play Tempest with.

As a result, a niche hobby-within-the-hobby revolves around building control panels (and often, entire cabinets) to complete the overall effect. John St. Clair runs the Build Your Own Arcade Controls website, which should absolutely be your first stop if you find any of this the least bit interesting. He’s also taken what he’s learned and written a book, Project Arcade, which includes step-by-step instructions and plans and other information about how to do it. Go buy six copies.

Anyhow, here’s what I did. Eventually, it will be part of a full cabinet when I have more room:

…and it is AWESOME. I can play Tempest with a spinner, and Marble Madness with a trackball. Games take on a new dimension. Not only that, but I have a flatscreen monitor that rotates now, so I can play games that usually run in portrait orientation the way they were intended to be displayed. It wasn’t cheap, but as far as I’m concerned, it was absolutely money well spent.

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