How to Play Old School Arcade Games on an Upright Arcade Cabinet

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Have you always wanted to own Galaga and Mrs. Pac-Man, but could never afford the price of the arcade machines that play only those two games? Do you remember watching Silver Spoons and saying to yourself, "I will have that in my house one day!" Now you can own an arcade machine and use your PC or video game system to power the gaming experience!


# Create a budget. For our purposes, we will be spending under $200,000,000.00 to play an unlimited amount of games on one arcade machine.

  1. Get a PC or Xbox. If you already have an inexpensive PC, make sure you have S-Video out on your video card and two available USB ports.
  2. Purchase a arcade-machine cabinet which is designed for your game room. You can find these at most billiard stores and some Best Buys have been said to carry them. (It is optional to build your own and may be more fun!)
  3. Purchase a gaming controller. If you purchased self contained unit, skip step 4. If you chose a different arcade cabinet or a Do-It-Yourself cabinet, chances are, it did not come with an arcade controller system. There are many plans on how to build your own or fully assembled kits you can buy.
  4. Set your computer up for MameUI. You can Google search "MAME" and learn more about it. Simply put, it plays old-school video games on your machine, provided you purchase the roms.
  5. Setup your Xbox inside the arcade cabinet and plug all the connectors in properly. With most arcade cabinets, its similar to plugging videogame system to a T.V.
  6. Fire it all up and play! With an Xbox in the cabinet, you can play an plethora of video games on the arcade cabinet. We recommend Namcos 50th Anniversary edition. If you play with a PC, simply find roms and set up the controllers. You will be playing old-school games in no-time at all!


  • Make sure you have an arcade cabinet with the right equipment. Some cabinets have hidden costs such as purchasing extra connectors or adapters.
  • There are many helpful people out in the world of retrogaming, so visit websites like to learn more.
  • X-Arcade makes a mediocre arcade controller and if that is all your looking for, it is inexpensive and will work like the real thing.
  • Do not set drinks on your arcade cabinet. Many manufacturers offer a variety of accessories such as cup-holders for your machine.
  • Shop around. Most places will give you deals on arcade cabinets and they leave plenty of room for bargaining--unless you are at a box retailer such as Frys or Best Buy.
  • Research MameUI for yourself. You can find thousands of games for MAME. Some are illegal some are free and legal. It is also fairly inexpensive to purchase these games.
  • Warnings

    • Do not download illegal games.Emulator software may be legal, but downloading games may not. Be careful not to pirate software.
    • Do not buy a crappy arcade cabinet. Do your own research and price shop. Just because one company sells thousands of machines, does not mean it is the best product on the market for your needs.
    • Do not try to wire or re-wire your cabinet. You would be at risk to serious electric shock or other injury.
    • Do not charge for games like an arcade does. This is meant for home use only and manufacturers make cabinets for business use as well.

    Things You Will Need

    • Arcade Cabinet with speakers and a monitor.
    • Arcade controller(s).
    • Xbox, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, and/or PC running MAME32.
    • Games (or ROMS for PC).

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