Now that I’ve escaped from Berkeley, I have free time again. Evenings, weekends–they exist. Almost organically, my desire to do things has been recovering. So I hatched a new project: a MAME box. MAME stands for ‘multiple arcade machine emulator,’ and it’s a project to resurrect classic (and modern) arcade games by meticulously emulating the original hardware that they ran on. It can run everything from Galaga to Street Fighter. At first, I planned to do the whole shebang: a full-size arcade cabinet with a classic arcade monitor. I was inspired by Doug’s MAME cabinet that he built in college.
I couldn’t get over one serious drawback of the full cabinet: it is immobile. Done properly, it’s about 6 and a half feet tall and weighs a couple of hundred pounds. So wherever I built it would be where it stayed. Instead, I decided to build just the control panel of the cabinet, with a computer running MAME inside the control panel enclosure. The finished product would fit easily in a car, and connect via HDMI to existing A/V setups. I batted the idea around until Doug and George surprised me with a set of computer-cut wood pieces to make the box out of. From there, it all came together pretty rapidly. The finished product:
I decided to call it “The Great Wave” because I used Hokusai’s famous woodcut The Great Wave off Kanagawa as the artwork for the top surface. Here’s a description of how we (Doug, George and I) built it over about six weekends at the beginning of the year. (more…)