Saturday, November 11, 2006

Plan, Plan, Plan...

And now for the good stuff !

Now that I've got one of these things 90% under my belt I feel like I can be much more efficient building Bella's Arcade than I was building my first one, Knights of the Arcade Table. The first three things that anyone should do are:

1. Plan
2. Plan
3. Plan some more

If you are like me, free time is at a premium these days with responsibilities to my wife and kid (Bella!) and a demanding job that pretty much kills the week. It is a juggling act to make sure that you have all of the pieces you need when you finally find an couple of hours to work on it.

The Plans!
The first thing I had to figure out was what type of cabinet I wanted to build. Since Bella is only 2 years old I don't want to build anything too complicated. This will be her first introduction to video games so I want to keep it as simple as possible and have her mainly play the classics. I have always liked the dimensions and overall look of the original Ms. Pac-man cabinet (pictured) so that's what I'm going to build. Also, since this is for my daughter and she is about 2'-6" I am going to scale it down to be 80% of it's size so it will be more playable for her.

I got the original Ms. Pac-man plans from Jakobud's site. He's got a bunch of cabinet plans there and it's a great resource. You could build a cabinet in any style you wanted or even design your own from scratch. I just multiplied all of the dimensions on the plans by 0.8 to get the dimensions I was going to use.

The guts of the arcade cabinet will be a regular old computer loaded with probably 100 or so classic games like Mr. Do!, Pac-man, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug and of course, Ms. Pac-man. I will go into more detail on how everything works much later when I get to that point in the project.

Next I'll talk about laying out the cuts and the materials I'll be using. I'll also try and include a cost breakdown so if you decide to build one yourself you will know what you are getting into - these things can be expensive!

Thanks for looking!!

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