Photos of Home Arcade Machine Area and More with Commentary

Bill Loguidice's picture

I wanted to take some decent but casual and unedited photos of my home arcade machine (from Dream Authentics, purchased several years back) and immediate surrounding area (part of the basement/den) so I can more easily refer to specific items when discussing them going forward. Also, enough has changed since last year to justify this update for January 2009. Any questions, ask away. Note, you can click on each photo and then select a larger size. Also, when you go to the Flickr area, I highlighted a few active areas on some of the photos with notes.

Establishing shots of the arcade machine. The lighted marquee area is replaceable, but I chose to put a MAME marquee in there as it seemed most appropriate.
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Close up of the right side of the machine. Note the pinball buttons by the Mario and Luigi sticker. The Space Invaders sticker is by the pinball launcher. The Act Labs USB light gun is below Mario and Luigi. To the far right of Mario and Luigi, the silverish thing, is the external volume control. There are two PC style speakers inside with a subwoofer, as well as two car audio speakers up at top that you'll see shortly. Since this is a home machine, the coin slot is inactive, but I bought a power supply to hook up to make it functional and to be able to act like standard coin buttons in MAME (it already has all the wiring). If you turn the key and open the drawer you get to the coin drop (it's a Satan's Hollow keychain by the way).
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A close up of the main control panel. I insisted on the spinner and lighted trackball. Those are two eight way joysticks near the front and a four way joystick up top for games like Pac-Man, which is playing via MAME32 on the real Wells Gardner 27" arcade monitor.
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The other side of the arcade machine. The big green button on the side shuts the system down in a quick and orderly way (it's a Windows XP-based machine). The only thing it doesn't power down (or up) is the main power, which is essentially the monitor. I have a remote control to shut that down/turn it on. It's hard to see, but just behind the main panel attached to the side is a black numeric keypad, which is used to access additional functions some programs need like ESC (escape).
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On the floor to the lower left is an external Lightscribe DVD Reader/Writer. There's an internal one, but it's easier just to use that one. Behind that is the UPS (battery backup/power cleansing) and where the other end of the remote control power switch is.
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Looking under the control panel. I attached a hidden USB hub for convenience when plugging in the dance pad and other items like USB drives when I want to read something off of them.
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Looking above the monitor are the covers for the car audio speakers, which is just below the lighted marquee.
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Opening the control panel reveals the brains of the operation, a powerful - though now dated - loaded Windows XP PC from Compaq with an ArcadeVGA card that works in conjunction with the arcade monitor to deliver a more authentic experience.
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The other side of the open control panel showing the standard wiring to make the panel work.
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The little remote is to remotely turn the power on and off. The wireless keyboard/trackball combo allows me to easily access all of the computing functions, including Internet, Media Player, Slingbox, Satellite Radio, etc. They're all on top of our infrequently updated CD collection.
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Behind the closet are some board games and what-not. That's an electric dart board.
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That's a Zizzle Marvel Heroes pinball machine. It's 3/4 size and quite inexpensive, but has real pinball machine elements. It's a shame that it looks like more machines won't be forthcoming from the company (they basically released that and an identical-except-for-the-theme Pirates of the Caribbean model). To the left is a toy slot machine for the girls to mess with. Eventually I'll get a real video skill stop slot machine, as they're pretty cheap.
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A really nice and inexpensive touch screen video poker machine.
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This was actually our old living room (sans most of the fun stuff) two houses ago, so it makes a very nice den. I have a PlayStation 2 and a XaviX XaviXPort hooked up at all times for cardio, which is a nice companion to the cardio we can do off the arcade machine. Of course our primary means of fitness is the gym area and the weights. The box of toys are of course to keep the girls busy when Christina and I are trying to work out (as is the very cool and highly functional R2-D2 robot, DVDs, cable, etc.; we need all the help we can get sometimes).
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In the bookcase are all bodybuilding and fitness-related materials.
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The gym area. I'm so happy with how this turned out as I kind of winged it, but it has everything necessary to bodybuild effectively and then some.
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The hallway as seen from the arcade/gym areas. At the end of that hall to the left is the office and to the right is the largest part of the basement where the majority of my collection is. In the wire racks are of course some of my boxed computer and videogame software. Note the upgraded Hero Jr robot in the corner. Another hit with both me and the girls.
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Comments

Calibrator
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Joined: 10/25/2006
Very handy!

I like the keyboard below the sticks and buttons! Problems with wireless devices can always happen and a direct connection sometimes is the only solution.

I also like your "robot corner"! ;-)

take care,
Calibrator

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Bill Loguidice
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Keyboards and Robots
Calibrator wrote:

I like the keyboard below the sticks and buttons! Problems with wireless devices can always happen and a direct connection sometimes is the only solution.

I also like your "robot corner"! ;-)

take care,
Calibrator

The wireless solution works surprisingly well. It's a USB dongle and there doesn't seem to be much interference down there, and I seem to have full access to that keyboard even before the OS starts up. As you say though, it's always nice to have a wired solution as a backup. There is definitely redundancy there, with less accessible internal (to the cabinet) options and more accessible external options. I also have a USB wireless N dongle which works quite well, hitting high N speeds consistently. USB is definitely used throughout the cabinet and is one technology that is most welcome for something like that. I've used up all the front and rear USB ports as well, hence the breakout hub under the control panel.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Mark Vergeer
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Your basement is excellent as always

The more photographs I see of the basement area - which is about as large as my 1st apartment - the more I appreciate it. Excellent setup you've got going there. It is more a subterranean-ultra-tech-superden/gym/office than a basement in my view ;-). Your gym is ready to go at all times without stuff cluttering it. Threshold for usage is super-low as your two daughters can be kept busy whilst you guys are working out. The need to keep an eye on younger kids is also something that can get in the way of a good work-out.

Again, love your arcade cabinet. It is as good as a cab can get in my opinion. For me a standard arcade cab is far too low - even with a chair or stool in front of it I my vision always seems to be blocked by the top part of the cab above the screen. I am looking into creating one - actually making the cabinet myself and such - but the parts are a little tough to come by here in the Netherlands.

With older Mame operating computers - Pentium III/IV - it is wise to stick to the earlier Mame versions like below .117 or so. The higher you go the more cycle exact the experience becomes but the more raw computing power is needed to get it running at 100%. Core2Duo or similar AMD cpu's above 2.0Ghz are needed to have the latest versions run 100%.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl

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Bill Loguidice
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More thoughts
Mark Vergeer wrote:

The more photographs I see of the basement area - which is about as large as my 1st apartment - the more I appreciate it. Excellent setup you've got going there. It is more a subterranean-ultra-tech-superden/gym/office than a basement in my view ;-). Your gym is ready to go at all times without stuff cluttering it. Threshold for usage is super-low as your two daughters can be kept busy whilst you guys are working out. The need to keep an eye on younger kids is also something that can get in the way of a good work-out.

It definitely helps and is not a major problem as we've gotten them used to being down there with us while we work out at an obviously early age. They can even monkey around a bit with the stuff in small doses. As long as we make it "normal" for them, they will be less likely to do foolish things with it since it won't be something particularly tempting. Even the dog gets to come down there with us now (and luckily he's a breed that doesn't shed).

Mark Vergeer wrote:

Again, love your arcade cabinet. It is as good as a cab can get in my opinion. For me a standard arcade cab is far too low - even with a chair or stool in front of it I my vision always seems to be blocked by the top part of the cab above the screen. I am looking into creating one - actually making the cabinet myself and such - but the parts are a little tough to come by here in the Netherlands.

The only downside with the setup down there are the overhead, recessed lights, whose glare is picked up on the arcade machine's glass. It's sometimes better to just shut the lights off. Still, more often than not it's not a distraction.

I imagine someone of your height would have a particular problem with the mini pinball machine. I can comfortably stand - barely - at roughly 5'9"+, but someone of your height would probably have to sit. I would think even at your height the arcade machine would probably work though as it's very large and the monitor is rather oversized. It wold be an interesting experiment if you ever made it over this way!

By the way, I was informed I placed the invader upside down! Very bone-headed on me! I'll have to address that in the future.

Mark Vergeer wrote:

With older Mame operating computers - Pentium III/IV - it is wise to stick to the earlier Mame versions like below .117 or so. The higher you go the more cycle exact the experience becomes but the more raw computing power is needed to get it running at 100%. Core2Duo or similar AMD cpu's above 2.0Ghz are needed to have the latest versions run 100%.

It is definitely a more than capable system even now, but the limiting factor is not the processor, memory or anything else, it's the use of the ArcadeVGA card and the Wells Gardner arcade monitor. They only support up to 800x600 comfortably and very specific refresh rates. So while it's perfect for implementing the exact refresh rate that arcade Pac-Man does in MAME, it's not always good at running things like the aforementioned in the other thread Microsoft Pinball Arcade. It's better to have it that way in this case though as I'd rather have it be an arcade machine first and foremost and an "everything box" like a typical PC second. And luckily I can use it for Netflix streaming, Slingbox streaming, etc., and it works beautifully for all of that.

Xbox 360: Lactobacillus P | Wii: 8151 3435 8469 3138
Armchair arcade Editor | Pixellator | www.markvergeer.nl[/quote]
Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Catatonic
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Joined: 05/20/2006
I haven't seen a Hero Jr. in

I haven't seen a Hero Jr. in well over 20 years. It actually works?

Bill Loguidice
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Hero Jr.
Catatonic wrote:

I haven't seen a Hero Jr. in well over 20 years. It actually works?

Yes, it's 100% functional. I also replaced the old BIOS chips with Y2K compatible versions. It has a recently upgraded double capacity battery (the equivalent of having two batteries in it back when it was first released). The previous owner already upgraded the drive system among several other things. I also traded in the one cartridge I had so it could be converted to a multi-cart containing all the programs ever released, which you plugged in on top. It also has the maximum 24K of RAM. I can't wait to find the time to program it from either Hyperterminal or a classic system.

I'll try to do a video feature on it at some point.

Interestingly, the R2-D2 barely visible next to the arcade machine has many of the senses and abilities that the Hero Jr does and we got it on sale for less than $60: http://www.amazon.com/Star-Interactive-Astromech-Droid-Robot/dp/B001E95S... . It's amazing the difference 25+ years can make. In any case, the girls enjoy both of them, as do I.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
All I can say is, as

All I can say is, as excellent as it looks in these images, it's ten times more impressive in person! :)

Damnit, Bill, is there any game that rig CAN'T play?? :)

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Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
Basement of dreams!

I could say so much about your basement, but I think the pics say it all! In my area, NOBODY has basements; I'm not positive, but I think it has something to do with the "water table," since the area is close to the ocean and river.

Okay, some questions:

1) where did you get all the videogame marquee billboards that adorn your walls? Are they real, or are they printouts? (Either way, they're cool!)

2) Those stools that you have in front of your machines... are they comfortable? While cool-looking, they don't look very comfortable, and I'd easily fall out of them (which is how I recently broke my rib!). Where did you get them?

3) It sounds like a "duh" question, but is the arcade cab's monitor horizontal-based or vertical-based? It's hard to tell from the pics; the monitor just looks "square." Depending on the game, it would make a difference.

4) Where do you keep all the consoles and computers you've collected?

Gym area questions:
You have a serious assortment of gym equipment!

5) What is that big blue "pill-looking" thing in the corner? Is it some sort of stretched-out medicine ball?

6) I noticed you have those "adjustable-weight" dumbbells (I forget what they're called). I once considered getting them, but a workout buddy said that they were uncomfortable and that I'm better off with regular dumbbells. What's your opinion?

7) I notice you have the "Wave Master," but do you have room to work out with it? Your gym/arcade is remarkably free of clutter, considering all that's packed in there (I hate clutter, so kudos to you guys!), but I know those things don't sit still when you contact them, and you need room to move around them.

Ok, that's too many questions as it is. When can I move in?? (Just kidding.....)

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Bill Loguidice
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Answers
Rowdy Rob wrote:

1) where did you get all the videogame marquee billboards that adorn your walls? Are they real, or are they printouts? (Either way, they're cool!)

My arch nemesis eBay. They're all real marquees except for the two miniature ones on one of the bends. You can actually get them for relatively cheap and they look awesome displayed on the wall (keep in mind that since these are originals, many are not in the best of shape, but that adds to the charm!).

Rowdy Rob wrote:

2) Those stools that you have in front of your machines... are they comfortable? While cool-looking, they don't look very comfortable, and I'd easily fall out of them (which is how I recently broke my rib!). Where did you get them?

Target. They were super cheap and look dynamite (I don't recall the price, but I think each they were around $50 or so, which is amazing). They also come in different colors (I've seen blue and black). I don't like ANY stools for seating, but that's what you need in that type of situation. We also have stools for our center island in our kitchen that are necessary evils.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

3) It sounds like a "duh" question, but is the arcade cab's monitor horizontal-based or vertical-based? It's hard to tell from the pics; the monitor just looks "square." Depending on the game, it would make a difference.

It's a Wells Gardner 27" arcade monitor, horizontal (http://www.xgaming.com/htm/wells-gardner-mame-arcade-cabinet-machine-mon...). A vertical monitor (or mounting it vertically) would have been too limiting for general use. As it is, vertical games like Pac-Man, Pooyan, etc., play awesome on that setup because it can match the refresh rate of the original games (Pac-Man is like 15kHz for instance), with real colors/timing/etc. The size of the monitor certainly helps, as it's big enough where even with a clean black border on games with unusual resolutions that are meant for either vertical or horizontal it still looks great. There's really no good way to play everything on one monitor type, so you compromise where necessary, and I must say I'm very happy with the decision.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

4) Where do you keep all the consoles and computers you've collected?

I think you saw "The Goodnight Gamer", but if not you can check that out for a general idea of how things looked back in April 2008. In that last photo with the Hero Jr, to the left is a door that leads to the office room and to the right is a door that leads to the collection/storage room with all the racks (plastic and metal shop racks). Everything else is in there except for four laptops that we use regularly, the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii, and various handhelds.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

5) What is that big blue "pill-looking" thing in the corner? Is it some sort of stretched-out medicine ball?

It's one of those inflatable swiss balls/ab balls. Instead of round, it's pill shaped to minimize rolling.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

6) I noticed you have those "adjustable-weight" dumbbells (I forget what they're called). I once considered getting them, but a workout buddy said that they were uncomfortable and that I'm better off with regular dumbbells. What's your opinion?

Depends on the brand. I believe the Gold's Gym brand from all that I've heard are the worst. Not sure about the Bowflex ones, though those look a bit more traditionally shaped. The ones I have are PowerBlocks: http://www.powerblock.com/ and they're generally considered the best of breed. It did take a little getting used to at first (as you frankly have to with any new type of dumbbell really from a feel/balance standpoint), but I can honestly say that after a short period of time I grew quite fond of them. You can actually do a few things you can't with some traditional fixed weight dumbbells, though you also have to make the occasional adjustment like for things where you would typically grab the flat end (weight end) of the dumbbell like with dumbbell pullovers. In that case you grab the bar shaft rather than the weight end. In short, it works and serves the purpose of putting a rack of dumbbells in a small space which super quick changeovers.

Rowdy Rob wrote:

7) I notice you have the "Wave Master," but do you have room to work out with it? Your gym/arcade is remarkably free of clutter, considering all that's packed in there (I hate clutter, so kudos to you guys!), but I know those things don't sit still when you contact them, and you need room to move around them.

A few things. One, I have it up against the corner, so that certainly helps. When I use the heavy bag, I only move in roughly 1/2 or semi-circle that the space allows. And finally I only occasionally punch or knee it hard. What I try to do is measure my hits where full impact just falls short of the meat of the bag so the force isn't enough to shift its position all that much. But yeah, the combination of plastic bottom and flat rug do allow it to move more than is probably desirable. I have mine filled to the brim with water rather than sand so I'm not sure that makes a difference.

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Haha, yeah, Bill's home is

Haha, yeah, Bill's home is truly amazing, and I'm not really sure how anyone could top it. I've often dreamed of having my own "media room" with a huge projection screen and what-not, and perhaps a pod or two of cubicles for LAN parties.

I have to admit, though, I hardly ever play with MAME or the like anymore. When I bought it, I had several friends who loved playing classics like 1942 and fighting games on it, but now...nada. It just isn't the same trying to solo this stuff. It's a real tragedy that we're all so far apart and can't ever get together to game.

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