How to Make a Home Arcade Cabinet


Some of you will want to play arcades in 2019 and in the future. Sadly, purchasing a complete unit is rather expensive and complicated to find. On the bright side, you can make your own arcade while on a tight budget. Below is a detailed guide you should follow to the point.

1. Get the arcade shell

The case or a shell can be obtained in several options. You can make your own one which is a bit more complicated. There are detailed plans online which will guide you through this particular step only. A faster way is to find an old arcade cabinet and remove all the components from it. You need the shell only. Choose the option that suits you the best and move to the second step.

2. Find a control unit

The control unit refers to the controls such as buttons, trackball, spinners, and all the wires. It is possible to make your own one from separate components, but it will require advanced skills. Instead, you can find a complete control panel that is pre-assembled and comes in any color you prefer. It is a bit easier option that we highly recommend.

3. Obtain 23 inches TV

You can find an old 23 inches TV for a few bucks. The brand and specifications are irrelevant. You will need a bezel for the TV with 27 inches in size.

4. Get an old PC

For these games, you don’t need a lot of power so you can literally use a PC with 2.5 GHz processor, an old 128 MB graphics card and with Windows XP. Of course, you will need speakers as well. Old PC speakers work well.

5. Marquee is needed as well

Marquee should be placed on the top and can be placed in between two acrylic panels. Add vinyl to match the design and make the entire arcade look much better.

6. Install the first components to the cabinet

The first thing you will have to do is to place PC and use bolts or brackets to make it stable and don’t move in the cabinet. Connect the speakers to the PC and the TV. If you want you can install the coin door as well, but it will make the arcade more complex and you won’t use this feature ever.

Once you are done add the bezel to the TV and make sure only the screen is visible. All the rest should be completely blank. Connect the command panel to the PC also.

7. Add power strip

All the components will be connected to the power strip. What this does is allows you to press a single button and the arcade will start. For instance, you can press a power button on your PC and it will start first, but all other components will start as well. This is the main trick you can use to make the arcade realistic.

8. Download games and emulators

You don’t need a computer mouse, but you can install it if you like. In most cases using command panel will do the job just fine. There is no limit on how many games and emulators you can download and install. All of them will work perfectly well on the PC in question and you will enjoy playing classic games.

Some good recommendations are Stella for Atari 2600, Fusion for Sega Genesis and Nestopia for SNES.

9. Make front loader

This is a bit more complicated step. What you have to do is to remove the Windows Boot loader, the cursors, desktop backgrounds and all other traces of the Windows. You will create a front loader, meaning the Windows will boot into the folder with the emulators and games. It isn’t the main step here but will help you make your arcade more realistic. That’s all, you are done.


All of these steps are extremely simple and the entire project is more affordable than you may believe. You need old and simple items and gadgets that can be transferred into something beautiful. Keep in mind that you can sell this type of arcade and start a new project.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here