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:
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 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!!