Check out these 40% sized mini arcade cabinets at Maker Faire Bay Area 2019

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Those look earily similar to the 300$ arcade units I sell - -

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Look, if you really want to play into the general nostalgic yearning for pretend time travel, then you’re really going to have to make these cabinets 40% larger than the originals.

These tiny ones would instead tell my brain that I had never stopped growing, and that would be a problem.


F-yeah CRTs!

You would think that having not played the vector Star Wars arcade video game for over a decade would dull the unbearable longing, but it still perpetually tugs at me.


I’m not sure I get the “new and improved, now 60% smaller!” angle. Especially if they’re making a big deal about using the original circuit boards. So there’s sanctity in those original circuit boards and monitors but not the cabinets?

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Full size arcade cabinets are made of dense materials and weigh hundreds of pounds so cutting down their size makes it easier to move these. The original Tempest machine in my basement will require at least 2 men to move it out.


Personally I’m of the opinion that unless the cabinet has a few battle scars from it’s life in the wild, it doesn’t have a soul. In fact I’d rather play on the original cabinet than the original circuit board. Or at least it’s a toss up. And hell, just think of how much more portable these machines would be if they ran them all off Raspbery Pis… And no one would know the difference without some serious forensics.

I have an old Blasteroids machine that I gutted and MAME’d, and yup it’s a heavy beast too. But it’s supposed to be a heavy beast… Anyway I can see lots of reasons for making classic games smaller, but none of them improve game play, and I’m surprised to hear them claim purist status and diss MAME and modern monitors while at the same time desecrating the cabinet.

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It makes sense for this guy’s business model of renting by the hour ($200/hr, 2.5 hrs minimum, so $500 a pop per game) for businesses to set up ‘tiny arcades’ for events. They can truck these in easily, set them up on tables, and they’re good to go.

Some of my favorite vintage arcade games are vector-graphics machines like Tempest and Star Wars (both mentioned above!) that used old classic vector monitors. An emulated version of a vector game is a thousand percent less headache than an authentic one.

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Yeah, I’m going to have to call bullshit on that. MAME can do some very high quality emulation but the builds that run on a Raspberry Pi sacrifice accuracy for speed. I get that, all things being equal, an original cabinet is preferable to one of these but as a rental operation these make a whole lot more sense and with more surviving boards than cabinets it’s nice to see them put to good use. Frankly it’s upsetting to see someone overhaul an existing cabinet into a MAME machine.

if they had an Omega Race game out there i would fly out with a backpack full of quarters.

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wow, i NEVER hear anyone mention Omega Race. I have one in my tv room, about 12 steps away from me as i type this. it was one of my first favorite games, and when i had the chance to buy an original cabinet, i jumped on it.


By “you sell”, do you mean you resell the units, or have you taken theses units and MAME them up? When I saw the Street Fighter one, I was like - dang… that I bet you could hack into a MAME unit and play a ton of games with all those buttons…

Holy shit… I can’t believe no one has thought of this before. You’re absolutely right.

You two DEFINATELY should get married. I’ve never seen such a perfect match.

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With some cabinets, that’s the best option. A lot of the time you have busted CRTs, corroded boards, missing coin boxes, etc. Turning a old tattered cabinet into a MAME machine is a great way to bring an old cabinet back to life IMO.

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I admire the dedication, creativity, and technical know-how involved in this, but it feels flawed to me. I’m basing this off my experience with the other mini arcade games that came out around Christmas last year. Basically they are conceptually amazing but unless you are a small child it’s really uncomfortable to play a tiny cabinet. I’m all hunched over and it feels cramped in general. Of course you could build a stand for it (and they sell them for those ones from wal mart) but then isn’t that defeating the whole purpose? I’d just like to see more widely available full size cabinets. Maybe it’s just about cost… which would make sense if it were for newly manufactured ones, but here they are using parts from old machines so I wonder if they are actually costing more to make than to restore or rebuild a full size one from parts?

my spouse would have something to say about that, haha – but it’s set free to play and we don’t mind visitors. : )

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“Search your feelings. You know it to be true.”

You might be right about the MAME builds that run on Pi’s, I don’t know, I’ve never tried one and wasn’t aware that it’s a different build. I thought it was just a different front end (game chooser). But regular build MAME is, as we all learned from the Billy Mitchel scandal, usually so accurate that it’s indistinguishable without an insane amount of investigation. And I agree that gutting cabinets for mame conversion can be upsetting, and I think people need to choose their targets carefully (late model JAMMA cabinets for unremarkable games heading for the dump are fair game). But I see minimal difference between a MAME conversion and this mini cabinet conversion. The only saving grace here is it’s reversible, although MAME cabinets are reversible too, assuming the boards are left inside.

I knew someone destroyed the banisters in his house to get a full-size Space Invaders cabinet upstairs. He was a serious tweaker, so he glued the flinders he’d reduced it to back into a reasonable facsimile. Also, the Space Invaders was broken, because of course it was. Good times.

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franko-- my future wife and i bonded over cutthroat games of omega race in the student center at queens college. a lot of quarters well spent. married 36 years now.

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