Scott Hanselman

Creating my own Mame Arcade Cabinet, Mame for Media Center PC, and the X-Arcade Joystick

September 27, '05 Comments [2] Posted in Nant | Gaming
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XArcade1This last week saw the release of MAME 0.100, the Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator. An amazing technological accomplishment is MAME and a nice milestone. At this rate it'll hit 1.0 in 2048. If you're using Windows, you'll find MAME32 more to your liking.

When I noticed this milestone it spurred me into action. I decided on the spot to write a MAME front-end for Media Center (hoping to put my fallow MCPC back to work). As with all good ideas, it's long ago been done - and in .NET to boot. GameEx is it's name and it's fabulous. It integrates nicely into Media Center and is totally worth the $15.

I immediately visited XGaming who is currently selling a refurbished version of their amazing Two-Player Arcade Joystick for a cool $99.95. (It also works with XBox via Adapter) I ordered it and it was here in five days. Interestingly it came "broken" in that one of the primary buttons didn't work. I assumed it was misconfiguration or something I'd done, but I fired up KeyboardTest and confirmed it from a software POV. I opened it up and traced the wires one at a time and found one slightly disconnected. Once it was reconnected I was back in business.

Mame2xarcadeThere was a little trouble initially as I found myself remapping all the buttons manually. Then I realized that a product this good and the MAME32 team being as clever as they are, I must not be taking advantage of their wisdom. MAME32 includes a "Default Game Properties" option and the "Controllers" tab include an option for XArcade. Paydirt. Once this was selected, everything fell into place.

Now I can move seamlessly from the Media Center interface (using the Joystick) into the GameEx menu and into Mame32. Took about 4 hours (while the pregnant wife napped) on a Saturday. Very slick. Now I have to figure out how to explain to her how the infant will develop fine motor skills playing PacMan in his own Arcade.

Summary:

  • MAME32 - $0 - Arcade Emulator
  • GameEx - $15 - MediaCenter Front End for MAME (and other emulators)
  • XArcade - $99.95 (limited time) - Arcade Joystick

Next I'm looking at Arcade Cabinets and Games on Craig's List, and I think I'll build an Arcade System for the home, powered by MCPC/GameEx/Mame32.

For the children.

 

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Friday, September 30, 2005 3:22:02 PM UTC
Back when Xarcade showed up the first thing i did was buy the Joystick (you got it at a better price!) anyway after playing with ideas and also being a xbox hacker i put the Xarcade with MameOX and a xbox all in a package. Minus the time effort for a full out cabinet - (side note on that look for them at rental places there is one near seattle(renton) that woudl give me one for free) jsut ask for a old broken or gutted cabinet dont buy em!

back to story, so the xbox with mameox is a AMAZING platform for the old mame set. it wont run some of the crazy big games and CHD files are not possible at all. but for 80% of the games that you want to play they are working. with the xbox interface its simply amazing.

there is also another product you should check out is the bootable mame emulator http://freshmeat.net/projects/knoppixmame/ or use BartPE to make a WindowsPE with Mame and your hardware drivers. This give you a close match to the Xbox.

the reason for this is when you, your kids, your friends want to play a xbox game they dont want to wait for something to load or click on things. it takes away from the gloss of the arcade system. also it can 'never' crash you have a read only system that just loads your rom set.

Rom sets. i'm sure you can figure this out on your own but if you need any guidence in how .... roms look me up
Monday, October 03, 2005 4:42:32 PM UTC
lol... "for the children" :)
guyincognito
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.