I’ve always been a huge fan of arcade machines, from growing up in the 80’s and hanging out in the real arcades, to the slow development of MAME from the late 90’s onwards – the early days of Pac Man & Space Invaders emulation, right up to the modern day 3D titles.
I’m embarking on a project (like many other fans) to create my own MAME cabinet.
However this one is a little different – with only enough depth for an LCD screen and no possibility of putting a real arcade monitor in place, I am working to get the CRT image looking as good as possible with MAME’s emulation. This includes screen reflections, burn-in, discolouration and fading effects, as well as dot masks and scan lines.
I’m also working to get nice artwork surrounding the game area (given the LCD is actually quite large!) to include the feel of a game’s control panel, marquee and bezel. In many cases, my favourite games don’t seem to have any widely available MAME artwork, so I am searching for photographs of the real machine cabinets, images from those who restore cab artwork, actual arcade flyers and adverts of the time, and fan art to bring together my art.
My aim is to recreate what I remember it feeling like to play my old favourites in the flesh – but where the real artwork was poor or non-existent, to create it in a way that feels authentic and slightly modern, as if the art and game was being made today. I finish off with dirt and small bits of damage, to age the ‘cabinet’ as if it was genuinely a ‘collectors’ machine that had been released 30 years ago, and has signs of age and wear.
My whole project is for fun and not profit. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! *=o)