Project Arcade - Build Your Own Arcade Machine! Logo by Thomas Van Horn

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Project Arcade - Buy this book!
Project Arcade
About this book!

Gotcha! As soon as you though about buying this book, you started a journey toward absolute game-playing Nirvana! You might be a classic-arcade loving child of the '80s, or perhaps an enthusiast of more recent, modern –arcades. Remember playing Pac-Man at the local convenience store, or Street Fighter at the mall’s arcade? Whatever caused Project Arcade to catch your eye, I’m betting that somewhere down the line the thought of owning one of these machines has crossed your mind. Wouldn’t it be great to have your favorite arcade machine in your own den or recreation room? Imagine your friends’ reactions when they encounter this treasure from their past in your home. Definitely high on the “wow” factor! The problem is, though, that it’s just one game. Sooner or later the thrill wears off, and it starts to gather dust.

No problem -- as an arcade enthusiast, you’re probably also a game player at home. If you haven’t found them on your own yet, you’ll discover through the book the joy of playing near-perfect replicas of your favorite games on your computer. The first time you play Pac-Man on your computer, the “wow” factor is back! Between commercial and shareware re-creations of classic and modern arcade games, and the thousands of unique games developed for the computer, there’s a never-ending variety to suit everyone. However, sooner or later you’ll realize that playing Pac-Man with the keyboard lacks something. It just isn’t the same as steering around the maze with a genuine ball-topped arcade joystick.

So -- you can own your own arcade machine at home (Project Arcade will give you some pointers on that), and you can play thousands of games on your computer (I’ll get you started on that, too), but both fall short of that perfect arcade experience. Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine the two? Wouldn’t it be great if you could . . . build your own arcade machine? Imagine an arcade machine with that perfect combination of joysticks, buttons and trackballs running all your favorite games. Picture it painted to match your decor, with your favorite game characters decorating the sides and a lit marquee at the top saying “My Arcade!” Wouldn’t that be awesome? The book will show you how. Congratulations -- you’ve started down the road to game-playing Nirvana!

This book is a culmination of 5 years of research into the subject of interfacing genuine arcade controls to computers. It is a more polished and portable companion to the author’s Web site, the Build Your Own Arcade Controls FAQ (BYOAC). Most of the research and information for this book came from the Web, and I refer to various sites throughout. Access to the Internet
while reading the book is useful and recommended; however it is not required. Everything you need to get started is contained right in the book.

The book is meant to be read from start to finish in order. I’ve kept the technical jargon and theory to a minimum, providing just enough background information to understand the direction I'm heading when it comes time for the hands-on material. For those who are interested in a deeper understanding of the theory behind these projects, I’ve included pointers to more information where relevant.

The book will take you step-by-step through the process of designing and building your own arcade machine. You’ll be able to begin immediately after the first chapter, providing you the gratification of watching your design take shape as you proceed through the pages. In fact, one common trap is getting to the point where the machine is playable before it’s totally finished, and getting lost in the game play. One day you’ll realize it’s been weeks since you’ve actually worked on it because you’ve spent all your time playing, even though it’s held together with string and chewing gum! That’s not a problem though -- the The book will be waiting for you when you’re ready to pick it up again.

I’ll take a couple of side trips on the way. I discuss building a stand-alone desktop arcade control panel (arcade controls minus the cabinet) for those who want the experience but don’t want to dedicate the space. I also cover hooking up game console controllers to your computer, such as the Nintendo 64 or Playstation game pads, for those who feel that they provide the best game game-playing experience. Finally, for those who think the building part is beyond them (it’s not, by the way), I’ll point out and review some of the various commercial products you can buy. There is something in this book for everyone!

Project Arcade - Buy this book!