The ULTIMATE DIY Arcade Machine Guide

The ULTIMATE DIY Arcade Machine Guide

Hi, I’m Linus Sebastian There’s no greater source of joy in this world than a personal computer. But everyday, elderly devices, like this one, find themselves without a home. Discarded, Abandoned, Forgotten. So I’m here today to ask you, not for a donation, But just for a moment of your time to listen as we show you a path to a future, where you, and our slightly obsolete gaming PC, can pwn together once more. This is your chance to say: “I won’t sit by while a computer suffers.” *Music* EK Water Blocks’ all aluminum fluid gaming lineup offers great water cooling performance for an affordable price. Learn more at the link in the video description. So when Taran first came to me in proposed building a custom arcade box, *scoff* I immediately demanded he get back to work and stop wasting company time. A short while later, coincidentally, I independently came up with a brilliant idea. Why don’t we build our own custom arcade box? So first then, we set out to construct the computer that we would build the arcade box around. this is Linus Tech Tips so we could have easily strapped SLI Titans and an 8K monitor to a piece of plywood, and called it a day. *retro doo doo doo doo* But the hardware demands of emulating ancient software are actually very light. And besides, silly intro bit aside, we wanted the focus of this video to be on showing how you can get a little more mileage out of your components that are nearing the end of their useful life. So it was important to us, that every part of our computer was something that would be.. coming up on replacement age and readily available second hand. In the end, for a really reasonable price, we were able to put together What would have been a respectable mid-range gaming PC, circa 2011. With just one unusual requirement: We wanted a video card with an s-video output Because, we are TOTALLY going to rock a CRT in our finished build for authenticity Once all of the hardware was in place We were ready to set up our front end, the program that wraps everything together in order to use MAME, the go-to, but notoriously command line only arcade emulator that’s been around since the mid 90s the The front end allows us to peruse our vast collection of “legally” obtained software and then run it in the emulator. Our first pick was RetroArch, a front end that handles a number of different emulators, and, ah, has an… infamously… innovative menu design. While it took a little internet archaeology to assemble all the files we needed, we were actually able to get it up and running. Just not quite to our satisfaction. Without, endless tinkering, it messed with MAME’s control layouts too much to try to conform them to its own, and a lot of our legally obtained software couldn’t be detected. So we had a conundrum on our hands. we wanted to stick with open source software, but most of the purpose-built arcade front ends that met our standards… Well, they’re proprietary. So we dug deeper into the depths of the internet and discovered a relatively new front end called Attract-Mode. With a healthy community making skins and plugins, Attract-Mode gave us the perfect storm of form and function. It even supports scripting, which will be important later on in our project. Well, that’s all, fine and good but at this point… All you got Linus is a geriatric PC, running emulation software. That’s a, far cry from the full-on arcade experience that, ah, I was expecting. I mean, look at this thing So yeah, you’re right. We needed joysticks, buttons, light guns, and a big beautiful monitor to show it off on. So, I tasked my staff with scouring Craigslist and eBay for some, previously loved accessories that we could dust off and put to use again We were able to find multiple sources for everything we needed. This was actually the smoothest experience we’ve ever had buying guns off Craigslist. When it came to buttons and joysticks though, we found the secondary market to be basically non-existent. You CAN order one of the pre-built arcade decks that are out there, but we really wanted to customize our own. So we did. After some research, we reached out to Andy over at Ultimarc in the UK, which is one of the better known arcade parts suppliers for enthusiasts, and, after a couple minutes of browsing their website, found exactly, what we wanted: RGB! YESSSS! So we asked for 30 of their classic RGB buttons with seven Ultralux chrome buttons for special functions and heh heh yup, that’s right, they even have RGB sticks too. so the 2 servo sticks we went with have interchangeable handles, and, with some clever software they can automatically change from 8 way, to 4 way, which is great when you’re switching between your, completely legitimate copy of “Pac Mister”, to something like, “Street Conflict.” But what about games that use analog controls? Ah ha! well THAT’S where the ultra stick 360 comes in. It uses a Hall effect sensor in order to determine where the stick is, making it Incredibly accurate and durable. Add in their RGB trackball and a spinner, and we are covered for all of our button and stick games. But what would an arcade box be without slick shooting games? Your “House of the Recently Deceased” or “Time Conundrum?” Well, we plugged in those light guns that we bought, Expecting to be immediately putting zombies back in the ground, And that’s where we hit a MAJOR setback. Who could have guessed? While the Guncon IIs that we obtained were technically functional, the drivers they require are ANCIENT and in order to install them successfully we would have had to use composite video. Not good enough for us from a retro purist standpoint. And the other set we picked up was a used pair of Act Labs, uh, USB light guns, but we ended up running into another problem with them! They were designed specifically for PC MAME cabinets, so we would have ended up using janky USB to game port adapters, and frankly, They just felt kind of crummy anyway. so we ended up reaching out to ultra mark, “H-Hey, it’s us again!” And they sent us *shuffle* THESE bad boys! These AimTrak IR light guns worked perfectly with our system, AND they even fire SIDEWAYS BIATCHES! Which brings us then, to finding the right TV. If you want to use traditional light guns, we will need a CRT. You can learn more about why that is here. So these ones we got locally work, and the prices were definitely right, but S-video ended up being pretty disappointing, and scaling games from different eras was problematic. so back to eBay we went, and there we managed to procure a Toshiba pure flat CRT out of a Namco machine that takes both retro RGB and VGA. That’s important because this thing can take signals that range from the Chunky dots that Pac gentlemen eats, all the way up to the super fresh sprites in Street Conflict 3, and display them as they were originally intended. Okay then. So we have our hardware together. We have all the software set up. Now, we just need something to put it all into. Now our original plan was to either find a decommissioned arcade cabinet, or just build one ourselves out of scrap plywood But while both of those are valid options for sure, We wanted to make the final product as cool as possible to show you guys just how far you can go. so we reached out to Scott over at Northcoast Custom Arcades and, this is actually how it went down, basically begged him to let us use one of his Ultimate Arcade II Cabinet kits. He was happy to oblige, and actually for good measure, even threw in the classic control panel kit and all the mounts we’d need to get our display in place a major potential issue for these large and heavy CRT monitors. And the end result goes without saying, is absolutely breathtaking I mean, you don’t need to go all out like we did. and with high end CRTs no longer in production Some parts of the experience are gonna get harder, and harder to recreate as time goes on, even if you did want to go all out But we’re really glad that we took on this project. With a home arcade box, you can play your favorite games with your friends, just like you might have as a kid way back in the 80’s, 90’s or 2000’s, with the buttons and joysticks feeling exactly how you remember them. The screen and emulator’s surprising authenticity helped drive that home, and with our custom cabinet the whole thing just exudes quality, like we just put together a kit from Sega or Namco themselves for our bowling alley quarter muncher. Not that it needs to munch quarters anymore. That’s the REAL reason people invest hundreds and hundreds of dollars in these things. You just have a button! To continue! Woo! But even more than that the real reason we built it, is that a custom cabinet like this adds a touch of retro gaming class to any room. No exceptions. At all Ting is the mobile carrier that’s focused on customer service and customer satisfaction I know, what a concept. When you call ting to talk to customer support, you actually get put through directly to a person. And, you’re not paying extra for that level of TLC. The average Ting bill is just 23 bucks a month per device. and if you’re stuck in a contract and switch to Ting, they’ll even cover up to 25% of your cancellation fee up to 75 bucks they have lower mobile data rates (data is now just $10 a gig beyond the first gig) and every single Ting customer gets the benefits of any rate changes that they make. so head over to We’ve got that link below and try their savings calculator to find out if you’ll save money on Ting. When you sign up at our link you’ll also get 25 bucks and service credit or towards a shiny new device. so thanks for watching guys and coming along on this journey of resurrecting retro hardware if you disliked it. You can hit that button But if you liked it hit the like button get subscribed maybe consider checking out where to buy the stuff We see sure it’s almost vip views but whatever at the link in the video description also down there You’ll find our merch store. Which has closed shirts like this one as well as our community forum which you should totally join

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  1. They could of brought a raspberry pi and install retropie or download retroarch on pc and hook a controller or what ever u want

  2. ultimarc is just a few miles down the road from where i live. i've a couple of his light guns. i went with the ones with force feedback.

  3. I was looking into lightgun options for MAME. Apparently wiimotes can connect through bluetooth and only needs power for the sensor bar as it just emits light. I never had a wii, but would like to try it some time. Dolphin is also pretty cool

  4. Well I mean, you can't even play around 90% of these games through other means anymore, also pretty nice for broke people, I see no reason why this would be illegal for the games that were never re-released, I personally use it because it's less demanding on my crappy PC than the newer titles, so I play the classics.

  5. ANDY is freaking awesome! Got to hang out with him when I went to London for work! LOVE IT! When I was watching and you said that it was scarce I was like hell no talk to Andy, and I was so happy to see that next screen LOL

  6. Why the hell did you order trashy offbrand buttons from the uk? You can order the same offbrand shit from ali express for a fraction of the cost or you can order actually good parts from places like without paying overseas shipping

  7. Make these to go, that you can connect to your Tv and other tv's, etc seriously, I Have no more Space, lol
    Sell on Amazon as well
    Oh, Always Always make Sure to add Turbo Controls and the VS Controler separate from 1st Player for more Space PLEASE Please
    See Ya'll Later

  8. Hey Linus where did you get the monitor bezel? I have the same arcade cabinet and the bezel I have is a bit short and shows the wood around where the plastic bezel should be if you can send me a link so I can get the same one that one you have fit perfectly.

  9. Yeah that was my project a long time ago. I wonder how long it took team LINUS to make the old hardware ''see'' all those buttons, sticks, trackballs etc. That must have been a feat of its own.

    I actually went and found an old original NBA JAM 4 player cabinet that I was planning to cannibalize to fit all the extra buttons and sticks, which was up for sale for next to nothing. But when I opened it up and realized how much work I'd have to do with the harnesses to wire everything up, let alone to make one of my old CRTs fit inside, I decided to buy a PANDORA's box instead. Yeah It's not accurate and far from perfect but it gives me my old school arcade fix whenever I need it. Eventually I plan to upgrade all the buttons and sticks to SANWA and hopefully fit a RASPBERRY PI in there.

  10. The more I watch these videos the more I realize just how weird a PC guys world is. You game, hack, live an anti-social life, love to posts comments expressing your hate for Apple and couldn’t get laid with a woman that isn’t a also a weird nerdy gamer like yourself. That is of course if your getting laid at all.

    PC users: We feel sorry for Apple users
    Apple users: We don’t even think of you at all

  11. dude I am still using intel i5 2500k in 2019
    thanks to my parents being not so well off =((((((((((

  12. Which part is the ULTIMATE part? How do you play Pole Position on that? Or star wars? Road Blasters? Tron? Hard Driving, etc?

  13. lol. No copyrighted material was used here. Pack Mister and Street Conflict. lolz. House of the Recently deceased. HA HA

  14. Nice work, although conventional. I'm in the process of building mine (finally!), and even though my budget is very limited, the one thing I'm absolutely adamant is an auto-rotating monitor. Vertical games are meant to be played vertically, or not played at all.
    I have a question: I'm using a telly (through SCART). Scaling demands compromise, but I'll see if I can hack it to set the geometry on the fly by software. However, I must say that the results are fantastic, even with the scaling issue. How does your monitor look in terms of authenticity? I read from many places that those multi-frequency monitors render rather poorly at low arcade resolution (which is what you will use 99% of the time for 80's and 90's arcade classics) and are just good for 31khz VGA.

  15. fun vid, but not exactly a guide. mentions scripting, but never explains why, and glosses oner electrical interfacing

  16. pffft Linus childs play (Only one Place for Ulitmate Arcades – , But love your work dude

  17. Been using Mame for almost 20 years. My 22 year old daughter can destroy you or any in your clan at Robotron, Rally-x, or Tetris 64. My son could destroy you at Mappy, Foodfight, and Congo Bongo.Maybe I can beat you at Mr. Do. maybe.
    We use The Tank Stick by X-Arcade. Unfortunately there is no spinner.
    But I must mention that your spinner is good for Tempest but worthless for Frontline (Taito), Tron, and Commando.
    Also tell everyone to use x32 instead of x64. The best emulators use x32 with DOS command line.

  18. Sorry Alanis but you kind of suck can you just please quit being so annoying and plus my dad's wife smarter and he's just kind of better and my dad actually knows how to build a computer so you can learn a thing or two from him

  19. So, you guys have problems whit mame resolution and mame itself…
    Hahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahaha

  20. Don't need a CRT, just a 16.9 LCD and set Mame to use scanlines or other filters. For light gun, Nintendo Wii USB light bar and Wii gun. I converted my cabinet to us a Raspberry Pi 3b+ with Retro Pi and it's amazing. Can even wifi into it and dump more games/music/video. Uses virtually no power when compared to a PC and CRT.

  21. Ummm… MAME has had a full GUI for a looong time, now. It isn't fantastic, but it works. Likewise, the controls aren't hard to set up, and most don't need to be, especially if you are building arcade controls where you can define each button as one of the default keys. …and lastly, you can get (non-RGB) joystick w/buttons + USB interface kits for less than $20 from all of your usual Asian suspects.

    Methinks he doth protest too much.

  22. So the big question remains.
    How on earth did you connect the 15khz CRT tv to your graphics card if not using the s-video output?
    Pleeeeease elaborate as i am building one myself.

  23. I wish you would have touched more on how the guns were actually connected, the technology behind them which is much like Nintendo Wii, and the fact that they must be calibrated. Also it would have been nice for you to talk about the ArcadeVGA video card and the sync technology of the TV vs a multi-sync arcade monitor and how to get it all configured.

  24. Hey Linus, if it comes to assigning a fair sale price for that arcade, how much would it cost? I mean, not just all the hardware, also man hours

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