Lately my posts have been pretty heavily focused on the arcade and MAME scene, but that’s because I’m inching ever so closer to the completion of my own MAME cabinet. I’ll get back to “normal” posting habits soon, but for now you’re all going to have to live with my arcade fascination.
If anybody out there is interested in either restoring an old arcade cabinet, converting a cabinet to a MAME cab, or building a cabinet from scratch, there are a few sites that you’ll want to check out beforehand and continue to visit throughout your project.
BYOAC Forums – These forums are home to the finest arcade builders/restorers/MAME wizards out there. They can answer any question that is related to arcade building, playing, or emulating. Many vendors of arcade parts are active on this forum daily and you can buy direct from trusted sellers. Do not attempt to get into this hobby without registering on this forum and visiting it at least semi-daily for quite some time. Also, before ordering from any retail websites, check to see if any BYOAC member resellers have the product in stock first.
RetroBlast! – This is a great resource for arcade building enthusiasts. You can find all sorts of product reviews, interesting write-ups, and many videos of arcade components in action. Many of your buying choices will be swayed by this site and its wealth of info.
GroovyGameGear – This site sells arcade components, encoders, accessories, and related items. RandyT, of the BYOAC forums, is one of the most helpful and trustworthy guys you’ll come across in the industry. I simply can’t express how awesome the products and service offered by GGG are. Whatever you can buy from GGG when building your cab that is available elsewhere, make sure to go with GGG.
Mame Marquees – Scott, of Mame Marquees, is a very helpful member of the arcade enthusiast community. On his site, you’ll find replicas of classic and modern arcade marquees, side art, and control panel overlays. Also, you can have your own art printing for your cab. If you are artistically challenged, Scott will also design something for you if you provide him with specifications and an idea of what you’re looking for. All products are of the highest quality and the service is excellent.
T-Molding.com – T-Molding.com sells t-molding and accessories to give your arcade cabinet a nice looking trim and to help protect your corners from dents and dings. Colors that have been matched to classic cabinets are available for restoration projects.
Ultimarc – Ultimarc, like GroovyGameGear, provides high quality products matched with great service. Andy, the site’s owner, is another active member of the BYOAC community.
Knievel Kustoms – If you want to see some truly inspirational projects, check out Brad’s (knievel of BYOAC fame) work on his website. Brad also sells control panel kits that are of the highest quality and craftsmanship you’ll find anywhere. For Brad, it’s about art as much as fun.
Local Arcade – Local Arcade has vector graphics of arcade artwork and characters. This is an extremely valuable resource when it comes time to design your control panel artwork, marquee, and side art.
SlikStik – While often criticized for slow or inconsistent customer service, SlikStik has some of the coolest arcade accessories on the market. While pricey, their products are rock-solid and will definitely turn the heads of anybody that enters the room.
Nieman Displays – Rick Nieman is one of the most passionate monitor builders out there. The customer service offered by Nieman is unmatched and they work hard to get you the best deal possible.
There are many other useful and informative sites out there that can make your arcade building project much more enjoyable. However, the most useful tool you’ll find is actually offline. Before you buy a single thing, make sure to pick the Project Arcade book, written by John St.Clair. This book provides a wealth of information and is entertaining to read. It comes with a companion CD that will also give you some free utilities, cabinet building plans, and links to lifesaving resources. You can find the book on Amazon.com and it’s well worth the money.