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A Friend's MAME Cabinet

posted Sep 4, 2012, 7:32 PM by Darryl Giors   [ updated Sep 6, 2012, 10:40 AM ]

February 27, 2008

Brandon's MAME Cabinet

Time for a weekend update. Here at I've focused on quality over quantity. I could write about my excellent late evening meal at Petrillo's in Glendora on Saturday night or about Dim Sum at NBC in Alhambra for lunch Sunday, instead, I'm going to tell you about an arcade cabinet and write one of the longest run-on sentences you've ever read. Come on in and let me tell you the fantastic story of this incredible MAME machine.

First of all let me explain what MAME is. Multi Arcade Machine Emulator is an ongoing open source project that emulates arcade machines spanning from the 1970's to the early 2000's. From the MAME website: MAME is strictly a non-profit project. Its main purpose is to be a reference to the inner workings of the emulated arcade machines. This is done both for educational purposes and for preservation purposes, in order to prevent many historical games from disappearing forever once the hardware they run on stops working. Of course, in order to preserve the games and demonstrate that the emulated behavior matches the original, you must also be able to actually play the games. This is considered a nice side effect, and is not MAME's primary focus.

Despite what the developers claim, most people who use MAME have one thing in mind, they want to play some of the classic arcade games they loved in the past but cannot find anywhere today.

So that brings us to the story of Brandon and Michelle. A few years ago my friend Brandon and his girlfriend Michelle (they are now married) set out to construct their own arcade cabinet. They started out by drawing up plans and purchasing arcade controllers and JAMMA PC conversion boards from the internet. Brandon's father has a well equipped woodshop in his garage so Brandon bought sheets of plywood, lumber and hardware to build the cabinet.

He salvaged an old Samsung computer monitor from his work and hobbled together parts for a Windows XP computer system. Mame was installed on the system then set aside.

After many months of preparation and hard work cutting, nailing, sanding, painting, wiring and testing they had created the cabinet you see in the gallery below.Brandon posted a nice pictorial on an internet forum when he was building the cabinet. If I can find the URL and the site is not defunct I'll post a link to it here.

The Samsung monitor mentioned earlier is mounted in the cabinet and the computer system rests recessed inside the cabinet.

It's quite a nice job they did. The MAME cabinet was always a hit at parties and during poker night at Brandon and Michelle's house.

So what does all of this have to do with my weekend?

Brandon and Michelle are moving out of their current residence and temporarily moving into a smaller place. They won't have room for the MAME cabinet after they move so they asked me if I wanted to do them a HUGE FAVOR and borrow it for a year. You read that right, I'm doing THEM a favor.

On Sunday after the delicious Dim Sum lunch with Brandon and Michelle (and mutual friend Ed), I picked up the cabinet from their house. They accompanied me to my condo to install it into the corner of my dining nook. I'm glad they were along to help because that thing is monstrously heavy. It's like lifting a refrigerator without the benefit of door handles. Alright, lifting a fridge by the door handles would probably bust it. Sadly, with the MAME cabinet you don't even have the option!

The cabinet is in working condition, however I'm furnishing an upgraded computer for the MAME emulation as a THANK YOU to Brandon and Michelle. I'm in the process of installing the software onto the newer computer so I should be able to enjoy some great arcade-perfect gaming right in my dining room shortly.

It's a joy to have what amounts to an entire arcade full of games within your house.

Now who wants to play doubles on Street Fighter II Championship Turbo Edition?  Brandon and Michelle are now married and maintain a family website. They are expecting a baby boy in June.


I should mention that a couple of weeks ago the MAME cabinet found a new home. Brandon and Michelle have moved to Lancaster with their baby boy Riley. Imagine the joy of growing up with an arcade machine that plays thousands of authentic games. Some kids have all the luck 8)
Congrats to M & B on their new home and expanded family!