The main attraction at the Arcades has been it’s video games. I’m sure a lot of you won’t forget classics like Time Pilot, Bubble Bobble and Outrun. Unfortunately these games and their Arcade cabinets have pretty much disappeared now. The hardware of PC’s are getting more and more powerful with their CPU, graphics and online gaming capabilities as well as consoles that Arcade gaming is becoming retro.
But for many of us the old Arcades are not forgotten. MAME is an emulator where one can play Arcade games. The MAME emulator is not only available for computers but also some consoles. The Arcade emulation is near perfect as the roms are dumped from the real arcade machines. Right now there are more than 2000 games that are fully playable.
There is a growing community that appreciates the possibility to play their favorite classics, almost like in the old days. Still most agree its not the same thrill with a keyboard or joy pad in front of a PC Monitor. However with a MAME Cabinet it can be a great Arcade experience. A MAME Cabinet is like a real Arcade. A cabinet with Arcade controls, marquee and coin doors. There are a large amount of frontends to choose from. A frontend is like a piece of software which helps you open the games. With the correct configuration, one can program them for other emulators as well. Maybe you want to play games for C64, Amiga and Nintendo or like to have a Jukebox with all your favorite music. The choice is up to you! Most of the time people use a PC as hardware but its well hidden inside the cabinet and there are also some ways to hide the Windows interface so it can be hard to tell the re is a PC inside. It is quite some work building a MAME cabinet.
You can try you’re luck and find an old Arcade machine to try and restore it. As it is, there are several places to buy the parts if you were to build a cabinet from scratch. Just keep an eye open. As for the display you can still use a PC monitor but even better would be to use a graphic cards s-video output and wire it to a TV. To play all the games in their native resolution you would need a real Arcade monitor. There is one exception however, if you are based in Europe where there are CRT Scart screens you can use them together with an ArcadeVGA graphics card via the Scart connector. This combination turns your TV into an Arcade monitor. In the end no matter what system you have, there is always the MAME emulator where you can load up all the Classic Arcade games.