This is my Cabinet project, construction started on the 7th of November 2002 and is still under construction, though in a usable (often used) state.
The Original Plan was to build a Playstation cabinet, however after 3 failed attempts (burned the copper off the first, bridged a connection on the second and the 3rd mysteriously refused to work on the 6th button) we decided to switch to a Mega Drive control. Upon penning a partially working Mega Drive (known as the Genesis in America) control we were rather pleased to see huge copper connections, so I (Shaz had graphix interviews) wired the Mega Drive controller up and it worked beautifully, first time =)
Advantages of using a Sega Mega Drive:
+ Little or no loading time (just like arcade machines)
+ Lots of Arcade ports, especially side scrollers and vertical shooters such as Raiden, Truxton and Thunderforce.
+ Easier than PSX controller to wire up, due to less buttons and bigger copper connections.
+ Cheap games and Hardware (unless its super-rare, then its a small fortune!).
+ Ability to play Master System games (with the converter) which has a similarly good arcade port collection.
+ Use a Mega Drive and you have access to 3 and a half consoles:
Mega Drive, Mega CD , Master System and 32x
Disadvantages of using a Sega Mega Drive:
- Slightly Limited Color Palette
- No Longer Supported (obviously) , so Ebay is your best bet for parts and games.
- Not exactly the best sound in the world, but adequate.
- Most games are obviously 2D due to the technology (16-bit), but then some people (me included) see this as an advantage.
Compared to a PC based MAME:
+ Much cheaper to hack a control than to buy a keyboard encoder, and easier than a keyboard hack.
+ Arcade to Console ports, while not 100% accurate, generally have difficulty settings pre-programmed. Many arcade games are not tuned with unlimited quarters in mind, so its possible to stroll through some games first time around, which I personally find a little boring. Of course you can also emulate console game ports..
+ But emulation for playstation 32-bit consoles and beyond can be sketchy, and MAME cant emulate titles such as Virtua Fighter 4 and Tekken Tag.
How I built it:
I also added a spare set of computer speakers to the top which currently only connect to the playstation, however as soon as i find an ac adaptor for a Sega Mega Drive 1 (the original one) I will put that in instead of the Mega Drive 2. I kept the original case for 1 of the speakers so I could change the volume, it's now under the cabinet next to the Mega Drive2 (see first screen). There is no speaker in the case because we extended the cable to run it out the back and into the top (hence the 2 speakers).
In the not so distant future I plan to purchase some speaker grills, a header and buttons for player 2, from a nifty little site in Australia (where I am) called highway.net.au. Or alternatively Jaycar
UPDATE: July 4, 2003: Due to my poor cold solder job, I can no longer move right using the stick. I've decided that it is heaps easier to simply build the cabinet as partially described above, then simply buy 2 Mega Drive (or your console of choice) arcade sticks. Like this one reviewed =) on 8bitjoystick.
Not too hard to find, and there are other brands of sticks (including several 6-button ones), but the Sega ones are the best.
UPDATE: JULY 25, 2003: Went to buy some speaker grills from Jaycar, but it turns out they only have white (the web site has pictures of black and white!), so I bought some speakers that come with their own little plastic box. I attached the box to the bottom of the control panel, and now the sound is great. Getting them wired up the way I want with the TV is another story however.
Update: February 17, 2004: Shaz and I added a black header board to the cabinet, and I plan on designing a marquee and printing+laminating it, and sticking that to the top. Not pretty, but better than nothing..
Update: September 2004: A while back I bought a Battlestation II arcade stick off Ebay to replace the mega drive controller wired to arcade sick/buttons that didn't last long (see July 4 update) and the SEGA arcade sticks that weren't stable enough. Picture is the bottom right one. I also have a new TV that takes AV cables and fits in perfect.
Update: March 2008: Finally made a proper control panel using 2 playstation controllers. Learned my lessons and took much more care this time around, using terminal boards, easy to hack controls and drilled holes. No expense spared and used Cut and painted a new speaker panel and top board (the 'roof').