This book is a culmination of five years of research into the subject of interfacing genuine arcade controls to computers. It is a polished and portable companion to the author’s Web site, the Build Your Own Arcade Controls FAQ (BYOAC), located at www.arcadecontrols.com/. Most of the research and information for this book came from the Web, and I’ll refer to various sites throughout. Access to the Internet is useful and recommended; however, it is not required. Everything you need to get started is right here.
This 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 we’re 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.
This 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; you’ll have 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 book will be waiting for you when you’re ready to pick it up again.
We’ll take a couple of side trips along the way. I discuss building a standalone 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-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!
About the Author
John St.Clair, like most children of the ‘80s, spent much of his childhood immersed in arcade games. Although he’s now a respectable network engineer, he remains an avid gamer and serves as Webmaster for www.arcadecontrols.com, the favored site of hobbyist game builders.