I'm Mike, A.K.A. Distortion.  I built an arcade machine from scratch.  At the moment, I don't have much to show.  The cabinet has not yet been painted, there is no marquee, bezel, or side art.  I just recently bought a digital camera from work (Best Buy) so I can finally show the world MAMMY.  The name MAMMY came about because I have a friend who goes by the nickname "Mumsy" and when I began to explain MAME to him, he continually and intentionally mispronounced MAME as "MAMMY."  Now he uses this as my nickname as well as the name of my arcade machine.  I'm beginning to learn that this thing is no good for picking up chicks, so I'm gonna have to trick them into thinking its very hip by getting MTV News coverage of somebody's MAME cabinet (chicks dig MTV for some reason; I hate it)  That oughtta bring em running.

My original idea was to make a Bouncing Souls themed cabinet, but I later, despite the fact that I still think the Bouncing Souls are friggin awesome, decided to dump that theme for a more generic one.  I even considered at one point theming it the same as Strong Bad's "Trogdor" cabinet.  I ditched the whole theming thing eventually.

How Does It Work?
My arcade machine is used primarily to run a program called MAME.  MAME is a program that was mostly written in the late 90's to emulate the hardware of arcade machines.  When it was originally written, it was scoffed off as some plot of insanity to emulate every arcade game ever made.  It, now, however is looked at in great respect by many programmers and gamers alike.  Instead of recognizing signals from arcade controls and displaying on an arcade machine monitor, MAME works with a keyboard and a computer monitor.  All we have to do to get back to the original arcade experience is to reverse that process.

To make the arcade experience authentic, we need to trick the computer into thinking that signals coming from a set of arcade controls are keyboard keystrokes.  This is done with a keyboard encoder, usually an IPAC or KeyWiz.  These interfaces are wired to your controls and every time the circuit is completed, it translates that signal to a keystroke, thus making MAME respond accordingly.  In order to make the screen look right, since computer monitors are much too precise to look like an arcade game, I decided to use a 27" Toshiba television with S-Video input as my screen.

Where Are All Your Gizmos?
Veteran MAMErs are going to notice that I've left out what some would consider to be essential gadgets and gizmos for a MAME cabinet.  I grew up on beat-em-ups and fighting games.  I can get by with an 8-way joystick for those games of Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Donkey Kong.  I don't really play golf games.  I don't play enough spinner games to justify getting a spinner, so there you have it.  I don't need gadgets.  I have a coin door on a non-working NBA Jam in a Nintendo cabinet (missing monitor & coin mechs, set up for mono sound, needs new power supply) that I acquired from an EBay auction that I'm considering adding to my MAME cabinet, but first, I feel I need to finish what I started.

So What Still Needs Done?

Pictures: July 2003

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Still missing the top panels and monitor.  I forgot to paint the inside strip on the right panel.  I also now have competition joysticks instead of the supers.  I don't notice much difference in the feel, but the response is much more consistent.

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Here the sides are with their second coat of black paint.

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Sides w/ primer.

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Control panel with primer.

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The control panel now painted.  I did several coats of black paint, then put an epoxy clear coat on it.  I still managed to screw it up a bit in the reconstruction process, so it'll get a touch-up job in the near future.

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The updated rats nest.  I didn't really change much in the way it was wired when I reassembled it.

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Here's my baby running Marvel Vs. Capcom.  Most definitely my favorite fighting game.



Pictures: May 2003

My button layout -great for Neo Geo, Capcom and everything in between!

An overview shot of my cab from the waist up.

A full shot of the control panel.

My rat's nest.


My interface -KeyWiz.