Mame Cabinet

Written by Charles Peacock
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Anyone who spent their early years dropping coins into arcade machines probably feels a serious sense of nostalgia for old-fashioned video games. If you include yourself in this group, you may be amazed to learn that it's actually possible to buy arcade machines that can play virtually every game you ever enjoyed as a kid. They're called MAME cabinets, and they can literally contain hundreds of games all in one machine.

Getting a MAME Arcade Machine

MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator, and it's basically a PC-based program that is able to simulate arcade games produced from the 70s to the 90s. The legal status of this type of program is a bit iffy, so if that type of thing concerns you, you may want to look into the technicalities before buying or building yourself a MAME machine. If you're ready to do it, however, there are tons of websites out there dedicated to exactly this type of project.

The core of your MAME machine is usually a bare bones PC system that can run the MAME program. Any older PC will work fine--just check the MAME websites to see what the minimum performance requirements are. If you have an old PC that you don't use anymore, chances are it's good enough to be the heart of your MAME machine.

Once you have your hardware and software ready, the last step is building (or buying) a MAME cabinet to house everything. Good MAME cabinets should be designed to look just like an old fashioned arcade cabinet, with a built-in screen and stand-up controls. You'll probably also want to have an accessible keyboard, which is sometimes necessary for switching and controlling games.

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