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Project Arcade: Build Your Own Arcade Machine (Wiley Red Books) [Paperback]

John St. Clair
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Jan 2011 Wiley Red Books
The bestseller returns—completely updated to include the newest hardware, software, and techniques for building your own arcade Interest in classical arcade games remains on the rise, and with a little money, older computer hardware, and a little effort, you can relive your arcade experiences by building your own arcade machine. The hands–on guide begins with a description of the various types of projects that you can undertake. It then progresses to a review of the audio and video options that are available and looks at the selection of game software and cabinet artwork. Ultimately, you’ll learn essential troubleshooting tips and discover how to build arcade controllers and machines that you can enjoy at home with your PC. Serves as a soup–to–nuts guide for building your own arcade machine, from the sheets of wood to the finished product Addresses the variety of arcade controls, including joysticks, buttons, spinners, trackballs, flight yokes, and guns Explains how to interface arcade controls to a computer Shares troubleshooting tips as well as online resources for help and inspiration Project Arcade, Second Edition helps you recapture the enjoyment of your youth that was spent playing arcade games by walking you through the exciting endeavor of building your own full arcade machine.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 2nd Edition edition (28 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047089153X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470891537
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 19 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 181,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Remember wishing you could live at the arcade? Was it Pac–Man at the corner convenience store? Street Fighter at the arcade in the mall? Recapture the fun, if not the quarters, by building your very own arcade machine! Make it complete with joysticks, buttons, trackballs, spinners, guns, sound effects, eye candy, and all your favorite games. Have your name flashing on the marquee. Customize your cabinet to have your very own dream arcade machine! Do we have your attention now? Follow these steps for building the cabinet, designing the control panel, finding the software, installing speakers and a monitor, and putting it all together. The arcade′s back, this time at your place! John St.Clair, like most children of the ′80s, spent endless youthful hours feeding his allowance into arcade machines. He grew up to be a network engineer, but remains a game fanatic who created Build Your Own Arcade Controls (BYOAC) at www.arcadecontrols.com, a gamer′s paradise where arcade game builders can swap plans, experiences, tips, and ideas. John wrote the first edition of this book in 2004. Déjà vu how–to Choose a cabinet plan Calculate your budget Design the control panel Build a spinner Explore flight yokes Pick your guns Connect the brain Hack a mouse Install the monitor Load up on software Add bells and whistles CD–ROM includes Classic cabinet designs and instructions from the first edition Brand–new plans for cabinets and devices Shareware games and software utilities Arcade control panel templates High resolution color photos, links, tutorials, and more! See the CD appendix for details and complete system requirements.

About the Author

John St.Clair , like most children of the ′80s, spent endless youthful hours feeding his allowance into arcade machines. He grew up to be a network engineer, but remains a game fanatic who created Build Your Own Arcade Controls (BYOAC) at www.arcadecontrols.com, a gamer′s paradise where arcade game builders can swap plans, experiences, tips, and ideas. John wrote the first edition of this book in 2004.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Mrenshaw TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book after I'd almost finished building my arcade cabinet - bizarrely! It was mentioned a couple of times as highly recommended reading so thought I'd give it a try.

While most of the information in the book is available for free on the internet, it gathers it all together in a well structured format and it's easy to dip in and out of. The author obviously loves the retro arcade scene and this is evident in the writing.

This book covers all the basics, but also goes into detail about how to skin the OS (mainly Windows all the way up to Windows 7) to hide boot up screens etc. Other OS's are available should you wish to try them! There is also some stuff that's a bit too hard core for me - (building a yoke for a Star Wars cab is beyond me!)

There are recommendations for all kinds of items such as joysticks, buttons, controls, screens and various utilities to make things work better.

Comes with a CD that has a copy of the book, diagrams used in full colour (the book is black and white), web links, shareware and other various bits.

I'd done a lot of research prior to building my cabinet, so I already knew lot of stuff in the book - but I'd done it the hard way. I really wish I'd got this book first as it's a time saver and covers everything (and more!) that you'll ever need to build your own arcade machine.

If you have more than a passing interest in either arcade games, retro or arcades from the 70's-90's then this is also a great coffee table book to dip in and out of.

Highly recommended.
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1.0 out of 5 stars beware you will not get what you expect. 2 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book has some good background ,which you could easily find on the internet. As for software and setting up an arcade machine it is useless . You will not buy this book and make a working machine. To much of the book dedicated to construction , the easy bit for most DIYers.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, neutral, and complete 1 Jun 2011
By Brian R. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Many years ago I spent hours upon hours dreaming of building my own MAME cabinet. I bought a keyboard encoder, joysticks, buttons, two light guns. Unfortunately there they've sat - in a box - for years in my basement. I couldn't get past finding cabinet plans, figuring out how to put it all together, if I had the right stuff, and so on.

All the information is out there to complete my dream - it's all free, too. The problem? Hours upon hours of reading, digesting, and comparing endless message boards, discussion forums, and vendor websites.

The answer - this book. The author is the owner of one of those websites and he does an excellent job in this book of distilling all the choices of every aspect into an easy to read, neutral, and helpful manual of how to make that dream a reality. He chronicles the various parts and design options for your cabinet, lists the major pros and cons of each choice, gives vendors and buying tips, and then leaves the final decision to you. I loved this neutral writing style - he doesn't ever say "option x is the best" or "these are the best widget", leaving it open for you to decide what is right for you. Since virtually every home-built arcade is different, this is the most appropriate message.

While the cabinet building instructions are centered around 1 design, it's still packed with tips to avoid common mistakes no matter what type of cabinet you choose. I was also surprised at the range of topics including everything from standard buttons and joysticks down to DDR dance pads and Star Wars yolks.

Whether you build or buy, want a bartop, cocktail or upright cabinet - he's got it in this book. Not only that, but you'll probably save the cost of this book by all the extras included on the cd - cabinet plans, high-res images, and sample games.

If you're on the fence about this book because you can find all the info free on the internet, I'd say that you'll more than save the cost by saving yourself time and aggravation in finding all this info on the internet. Read this book, then go to the internet just for the small portions where you need to know more. Additionally, the CD includes a number of plans for cabinets, spinners, ddr pads, and more. Tracking all of these down separately would be a chore - again having them in one place is worth the cost.

I do wish the book had color pictures. I think it would really add to many of the photos to be shown in full color. While they are included on the cd, it's just not as convenient. Additionally, the cd uses flash player by default to navigate to the chapter you want more information on. Unfortunately, it then opens a new browser window for each chapter you select. Therefore, to search through multiple chapters you end up going back and forth between the flash window and all the different browser windows it spawns. You can browse the cd via Windows Explorer, but again, it's not ideal. I feel it would have been better to skip the flash wrapper and simply have an html index of all the chapters. Overall, though I'm not deducting any stars because these don't affect the content, just the style of delivery.

Since there's no "look inside" feature yet, here's a chapter listing:
1 Picking you Path to Game-Playing Nirvana
2 Building Your Arcade Cabinet
3 Pushing Your Buttons and the Joy of Joysticks
4 Taking Your Game Out for a Spin - Spinners and Trackballs
5 Arcade Controls for Power Gamers [Steering wheels & pedals, Flight Yokes, Arcade Guns, and Dance Pads]
6 Building the Control Panel
7 How It Works - Turning a Computer into the Brains of an Arcade Machine
8 Using the Keyboard Connector for Arcade Controls
9 Arcade Controls Using the Mouse Connector
10 Miscellaneous Biths of Arcade Trickery [Gameport, Using the USB Port, Dual Strike V2 Interface, Ultimark Rotary Joystick Interface, Game Console Controllers and Adapters]
11 Audio - Silence Isn't Golden [Speakers, Arcade Jukeboxes]
12 A Picture is Worth a Thousand...Tokens? [Monitor choices and mounting]
13 Installing the Computer
14 Choosing and Loading Software [Emulators (including Emulator legality), Commercial Arcade Software, Shareware]
15 Buttoning Up the Odds and Ends [Decorating, Lighting Effects, Protecting the Cabinet, Coin Door, Power]
16 Stuck? Frustrated? Out of Quarters? [Troubleshooting Tips, Getting Help, Giving Back]
17 Buying Your Way to Gaming Nirvana [Kits, Arcade Controllers And Cabinets, Game Console Controller Adapters]
18 Online Places to Go
Appendix A: Where to Find Arcade Parts for Your Project
Appendix B: The Great Debate - Preserving Versus MAMEing the Past
Appendix C: What's on the CD?
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relive past arcade glory, in the privacy of your own den. 29 Sep 2011
By M. Stone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am an avid gamer. I love the old stuff.
*Ikari Warriors
*Star Wars
*Pac Man
*Galaga
*Space Invaders
*Missle Command
*Space War
*Lady Bug

Not all of those are "top 10" games that folks would remember.
However they ARE all games I loved, and can play again.

The book gives a great guide to building your own machine starting with a wood cabinet. I cheated here and bought an old stripped down Dynamo Brand cab that was left over "junk" from the local arcade. No idea what used to be in it, as it was sanded down and even the empty control panel had been stripped of all decals.

Now it plays 6000 games, has new sticks and buttons, and since I had the room, I put in a track ball and spinner...TEMPEST for the win, kids.

While I purchased all of my controllers new from a supplier, there are instructions for hacking an optical mouse to make your own controllers. You get to pick your level of difficulty and thriftyness.

No two readers of this book will come up with the same setup. It's just too full of options. But what you WILL come out with is the rig you want.

And arcade games aren't the end of it. There are ROM's for many older popular console games. I have Stella running on the machine and can play Atari 2600 games. With my USB ports in the front, I can even use authentic 2600 Joysticks!

If you like the old stuff, want to impress your geek friends, or have something to show off at parties, this is a great hobby that comes with something fun and useful at the end.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for arcade aspirants. 15 April 2011
By Grant Beaudette - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There's a definite difference between playing arcade games standing at a machine with real controls rather than sitting at a keyboard. With some games, like fighters, it's almost impossible to play properly.

As someone who plays Q*Bert more than a sane man ought, there's a huge appeal to the idea of building your own personal arcade cabinet, despite the intimidating workload. Luckily, Project Arcade compiles the needed info into one handy reference.

Thoroughness is the name of the game with this book. Every aspect, from planning and budgeting to applying the stickers, is well explained in this 500+ page book. The book is laid out so you can likely build along as you read if you like.

The author tries to accommodate for the full spectrum of commitment; from simply buying a pre-built cabinet or unassembled kit all the way to linking to resources on building your own steering wheels and flight yokes from scratch. He also tries to be as accessible as possible to the first-time builder, but if you know absolutely nothing about woodworking or soldering, you may feel a tad overwhelmed.

A large chunk of the book is simply a breakdown of your many options for the numerous pieces and parts you need to buy; buttons, joysticks, trackballs, keyboard controllers, monitors, etc... It tries to cover as many bases as possible to fit your needs and budget, including hacking keyboards and other easy to find hardware.

The CD contains a variety of information; from full-color versions of the photos from the book and relevant sections of the previous edition to full cabinet plans and control panel templates to copies of several useful utility programs and most importantly, clickable version of the massive amount of links found throughout the book. There's even some free games included!

If you've got the drive to pursue a real arcade experience, even if it's not a full tricked-out cabinet, you'll want to read Project Arcade.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete Guide! 28 April 2011
By Big Dawg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book covers everything you need to know before you build an arcade. I have thought about purchasing an arcade for my gameroom, however I could never justify the expense to me or the wife. Now I got this book to see if I can build my own, this book is complete. It will guide you through the benefits and expenses related to building one or buying one. I would have to say, if you are adventurous and have time and money to put one together, this would be the book to have.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thorough but easy to follow. 11 Jun 2011
By T. Paslay - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Project arcade is the perfect manual for any handy geek. I've often daydreamed of building my own arcade machine. With the libraries of roms and emulators out there and my experience in PC building I always think of how easy it should be. That is until I start thinking about the mechanics of the cabinet itself. How to mount joysticks and buttons, where to get the best hardware for my money and how to integrate it all together.

Project arcade takes all this guesswork and trial and error out of the equation. This is an exhaustive guide on the different types of cabinet styles and an assortment of ways to build YOUR cabinet to fit YOUR needs. This guide has tons of pictures and diagrams that are straight forward, well labeled and easy to follow. I expected complex blueprints and diagrams that would take nothing short of an electrical engineer to figure out. I was absolutely wrong. The only things I can think of that would hinder anyone from being able to make a solid cabinet using this guide would be; cost, tools and workspace.

This is a must have guide for any nerd with an empty rec room. I could even see this being a great spring board for anyone wanting to start a business selling custom cabinets.
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