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