Arcade Games

I like old arcade games from the 70s and 80s (although I’m not good at playing them). Some of these early games generate their video display in unusual ways – by drawing vectors via X/Y control of the CRT’s electron beam, or by generating their video signal from hard-wired TTL logic.

Two projects in this section feature original circuit boards in new, smaller enclosures which showcase the boards. Also, a small MAME cabinet specializing in vertical-format arcade games from the “Golden Age”, based on a Raspberry Pi and a customized mechanical joystick.

Asteroids mini

Do you enjoy Atari’s old vector arcade games, with the unique glow of a real vector monitor? Maybe even appreciate the discrete vector drawing engine implemented on a baking-tray sized circuit board? But don’t want to install an arcade cabinet the size of a refrigerator in your living room?

I built a half-size Asteroids cabinet, using a vintage game circuit board and a real vector monitor – a small one from a broken Vectrex, a home gaming console that came out just a few years after Asteroids hit the arcades. It took an additional homebrew circuit board to drive the Vectrex monitor fast enough for the Asteroids drawing speed.


PONG

… in a picture frame

Atari’s original PONG arcade game has an interesting design: No microprocessor or program; the whole game logic and signal generation are hard-wired from sixty-some TTL chips. So, when I got my hands on an original 1972 PONG circuit board, I wanted to build a playable cabinet around it, but also display the board with its surprisingly low-integration components.


Verticade

A small MAME cabinet which specializes in arcade games from the “Golden Age” with a portrait-format screen. Powered by a Raspberry Pi, with an 8” TFT screen with the proper 4:3 aspect ratio. I modified a Sanwa joystick to allow the user to select either 4-way or 8-way joystick operation, simply by pulling and rotating the joystick shaft.