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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The Brains.

This cabinet will run MAME with a front end.

Typically MAME can run on fairly wimpy hardware.

I happened upon a salvageable HP DV9700 series entertainment laptop.

I think it’ll do nicely.

Here are some details:

ManufacturerHewlett Packard
ProcessorIntel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T5550 @ 1.83GHz
Hard Drive250GB 7200RPM
MediaBluRay / DVD-RW+-
Video Memory1024MB GDDR2
Video GPUNVIDIA Corporation G86M [GeForce 8600M GS]

This is well above the “required” specs of MAME.

I’ve installed Windows XP and stripped out all unnecessary drivers and programs. It boots in about 8 seconds.

I also plan on removing the on-board LCD screen to aid in cooling, as this machine will be inside the cabinet.

Relocation of the power switch will also be necessary, these projects will be documented later.


On a diet.

This cabinet was fairly massive, as it originally had a full size CRT in it. Arcade purists will say its the only way to go to get the “feel” of an arcade game.
That being said, I’m trying to make this monster lighter, and thinner. I have no problem putting a midrange LCD screen in the cabinet, it runs cooler, and takes far less power.
The monitor install will be covered later, lets check out the cabinet.

The cabinet was originally 25″w and 38″d (from the back to the edge of the control panel). It was nearly impossible to get down the stairs to the cave.
I marked the cabinet off around the back, removing about 10 inches.

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All the Rage

Project: Quasicade

This is the first post of many, I’m building a chronicle of a conversion of a 1994 Atari Primal Rage cabinet into a slimline Multi-Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) cabinet.

A few months ago I took my old project, a restored 1977 Bally Eight Ball pinball machine to a collector and restorer downtown.

I traded him for various parts and pieces, and a full size slant-back cabinet with no monitor. As it sat, it was currently configured as a “Big Buck Huntin'” lightgun setup.

My buddy and I were woefully unprepared for how heavy the cabinet was. Alas, we stripped the gun from the unit and loaded it up.

Upon arriving in the shop and further inspection, I discovered it was originally born an Atari Primal Rage machine, built sometime in 1994.

This cabinet features a steeply slanted top-back section, making it ideal for a slimline cabinet, as the slant will allow for attic ceiling installation.

My studio is in my attic, so it’s final location plays a large part in the project.

The machine was in my dining room for the first few nights until I could clear space in the shop.

My wife was fairly unhappy about it being in the living room, and it did have a very interesting smell considering years of storage in bars/arcades.

I couldn’t resist tearing stickers off, and throwing an old PC on the tray and testing it.

Stand by for more build logs coming soon!

I’ll keep you posted.