Project goals: Pinball Simulator

How did I get here, back in the pinball game?

We were at a family wedding. Rehearsal dinner, the night before, was at a bodega owned by the groom’s family. In the back corner was one of my all time favorite pinball machines, the Pat Lawlor project from Williams: Fun House.

Fun House Pinball Pamphlet Front
Fun House Pinball Pamphlet Back

Watching the kids play it brought back the excitement I always felt. Is Rudy alive? I must have spent $20 just watching my (then 4 yr old) daughter and her cousins just try to reach the buttons to play it. It had been years since I had sold my 1977 Bally Eight Ball project. I had the fever again.

After pricing what it would cost to find even a well worn Fun House, I looked into other pinball machines that I loved. Medieval Madness, Jurassic Park, Addams Family, Getaway: High Speed 2, Twilight Zone: they were all astronomical in price. I thought, these things are already so huge, I’ll only be able to fit one in the game room anyhow. How to choose?

Why not all of them?

I’ve got an arcade emulator, I’ve got it tweaked to as close as I can to the exact feel of the games I so miss from my youth in the noisy arcade. Why couldn’t we do that with a pinball cabinet? Luckily I found that there’s already a wonderful like-minded community for just that!

Here are a few links right off the bat that were instrumental and are absolutely mandatory resources for this journey:

TerryRed’s Youtube ChannelAmazing tutorials on Video overlays, LEDs, Toys, Building, and general inspiration.
Nailbuster SoftwarePinUp System: Amazing front end and media trigger setup
VPForumsOne of the main forums for Virtual Pinball. It’s a great community willing to help when you’ve tried, but need a push.
VP UniverseOne of the main forums for Virtual Pinball. Also a great community, some different content than vpforums.
Major Frenchy’s Youtube ChannelMore amazing tutorials on tech, builds, and other virtual pinball ideas.
Zen StudiosFun and modern remakes of classic tables and originals, you can get a free cabinet mode unlock code whenever you’re ready. Just buy the game packs and send them an email. We’ll cover this.
MJR NetPinscape controller, plug real pinball buttons, plunger, some lighting, and it’ll treat you to a great interface into the games. It also has an accelerometer to detect tilts and shakes. We’ll cover this.
Marco SpecialtiesReal pinball parts, a great source for plungers, buttons, switches, legs, hinges etc.
Discord: Virtual Pinball ChatIf you can’t find it, send me a contact, I’ll invite you. This is hands down the place to go when you need to talk something out. You can also just try searching for it on the discord channel list.

What are we doing next?

We are going to research, sketch, and plan. We’ll make a lot of mistakes, hopefully not many of them that we’re unable to recover from. See you soon!


Extra tricks for linux on your arcade machine

Want your linux arcade machine to boot right into, and shut down from your attract-mode front end?

Change to OpenBox as your window manager:

log out, select openbox above
log in

Add attract mode to autostart with openbox

vim ~/.config/openbox/autostart

paste this:

#AutoStart Attract-Mode

:wq to save and exit vim

Hide the UI even further by changing the default colors to black

sudo vim /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/openbox-autostart

change the line under
# Set a background color

and this line:
#test -z $BG || $BG -solid “#303030”
#test -z $BG || $BG -solid “#000000”

Enable shutdown directly from exiting attract-mode:

sudo visudo -f /etc/sudoers

NOTE: this has implications, it basically allows everyone to do super user commands without a password. In the case of my arcade cab, I don’t care. Be aware of the risks.



Then in attract mode:

Set: exit command

sudo shutdown now


How do I enable the attract-mode intro video?

I had a little downtime at lunch today so I made a new intro video for the quasicade.

This video will play immediately as attract mode loads, before it shows the wheel.

This is great for showing someone the machine start up for the first time. You can really build some hype before showing them the wheel interface.

Here’s the clip:

Note: the killer music here is The Algorithm.
Check him out:

Adding the clip to attract-mode is super easy.

Just upload it into your /home/USERNAME/.attract/media/video folder in mp4 format (make sure it’s owned by the user that’s running attract-mode)

Then, in attract mode, enter the menu, select INTRO:

Set Play Intro to YES
enter the path to your video intro in the Default Video section and apply.

Note: you can add other shapes of videos specifically if you wish (e.g. your screen is 9×16 vertical)

Progress and Video

You got a quarter?

Someone mentioned to me the other day that I’ve not posted on the Quasicade in a LONG TIME.

I guess I should post a little something.

Here’s a video of the current setup and operation.

I’m toying with the idea of beefing up the hardware a little, even though it runs perfectly (other than Windows).


The Front End

MAME is amazing at what it does, Emulation.

But by itself it doesn’t quite give you that “arcade machine” feel. It’s designed to be operated using a keyboard and mouse.

This is where the Front End comes in.

There are several options for front ends online:

  • Maximus Arcade
  • MameWAH
  • GameEX
  • Hyperspin

I did quite a bit of testing with the various front ends, and I chose the one that I enjoyed best.

Enter: Hyperspin.

Hyperspin is highly customizable, from themes on each system, all the way down to custom themes at the game level.

Its user interface allows for control using only the arcade sticks and buttons, which gives it a more packaged feel.

Here are some examples of what can be done using Hyperspin themes and Emumovies snaps:

For further information about this front end, please visit:

Hyperspin- FE

For info about the game preview snaps:


For Emulation info visit the devs at:



Sounds like…

The Atari primal rage cabinet featured Atari CAGE: Total Immersion Audio.

This meant it had 4″ stereo speakers above the screen and a sub-woofer in the lower cabinet next to the coin doors. This was intended to give games more impact with the extra dynamic sound. That being said, since I was working with an empty cabinet, it did not have a CAGE chip and amplifier, only the speakers.

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