How to Turn an Old Arcade Machine Into a 5,000-Game Super-Machine 

How to Turn an Old Arcade Machine Into a 5,000-Game Super-Machine 

If you have some basic handyman skills and an old computer lying around, you can turn an old arcade machine into a MAME arcade machine, capable of playing nearly every arcade game ever made using free PC software. The project you’re going to see is a one-off, meaning I did it once for fun, and that was it.

If you have some basic handyman skills and an old computer lying around, you can turn an old arcade machine into a MAME arcade machine, capable of playing nearly every arcade game ever made using free PC software. The project you’re going to see is a one-off, meaning I did it once for fun, and that was it. I bought the original machine for $50 USD but sold it a few years later for $2,400. If you follow these steps, you can make a similar machine. It’s fun, and it’s really not that hard. I’ve broken the entire job down into manageable steps for you, so read on!


Step 1 — Find an old arcade machine

This step isn’t very difficult. There are loads of old arcade machines out there, and any machine will do, EVEN IF IT DOESN’T WORK AT ALL. I found one on Craigslist that was an hour away from my home for only $50. Since I owned my own pickup truck, I went and got it myself. If you don’t have a pickup truck, people will often deliver for a fee. What did I manage to get for $50, you might ask? Bask in the glory of this old Capcom Bowling game!

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Bowling! Yuck!

“Wow, what a horrible piece of garbage you picked up there, Erik!” you might be saying. Haha, you’re sort of right! That being said, I was actually very glad to find this specific machine, because this Capcom Bowling game (which is a terrible game, by the way) is actually a rethemed Centipede machine! You can see some long-ago previous owner swapped out the Centipede labels, put a different sticker on the controls and slapped some awful wooden stick-on paneling on the sides, and called it a day. Here’s what it might have looked like originally. My goal was to retheme it as the original Centipede game, but with the ability to play nearly every arcade game ever made.

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