So I've been looking around, but it seems that information on this is scarce.

If one wants to develop an arcade game (as in, coin operated), ignoring the software side, where does one start on the hardware side?

I mean, is there some kind of company that sells arcade systems with some kind of spec for you to develop things on, etc?

I suppose this question is asking a lot more about the entrepreneurial side of stuff, but it's probably still related to game development..


While Sparr is correct that there is no single standard platform, there are some hardware standards you need to know about.

If you want to sell games (i.e. a PC and hard drive) rather than entire cabinets, you'll need to make sure your hardware of choice supports JAMMA, which is the input/video port used on arcade machines.

If you don't want to spend a lot of time developing your own hardware platform or learning a new one, you might want to consider the Taito Type X series of arcade boards. These boards run hardware similar to a standard PC, and porting PC games to them is generally easy.

Note that the arcade market is dead in most countries, very competitive, and very expensive to enter. Your best bet is to get a company already in the arcade market to buy your game, and they'll probably dictate their hardware platform based on what they have experience in.

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    \$\begingroup\$ are they really dead, i still see young kids playing bike and car races on plastic arcade bikes and cars in video game centers...And also I didn't get you when you said they are highly competitive. what is the competition if you set up your own video game centre where there are no others in proximity?. \$\endgroup\$ – Vishnu Nov 1 '10 at 9:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vishnu: If you live in the US (or want a mostly US market), you can sell to Global VR (and a handful of much smaller places). If you live in Japan (or want a mostly Japanese market), you have a few more options. If you live anywhere else, or don't like those options, you have to start a company that develops, publishes, and directly distributes the games - which are huge and heavy - and that's a lot more work than just writing games. \$\endgroup\$ – user744 Nov 1 '10 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Vishnu: And if you want you want to set up your own video game center, you're going to need not just the above, but people skilled in restaurant management, bartenders, DJs, and so on, because the only video game centers that make sustainable money these days in America are FECs (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Entertainment_Center). \$\endgroup\$ – user744 Nov 1 '10 at 21:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ And finally, when all is said and done, you're going to be competing with the big flashy machines like Dance Dance Revolution or Street Fighter IV, and all the classics like Area 51, SF2, or Cruisin', and all the stupid redemption machines. Most non-FECs are going to have two or three machines at best, and they're going to pick those which are guaranteed to make money. It's not an indie-friendly environment. \$\endgroup\$ – user744 Nov 1 '10 at 21:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's a strong comment, i guess.Thanks for the reply anyways \$\endgroup\$ – Vishnu Nov 2 '10 at 4:34

You can purchase a cabinet from any number of cabinet manufacturers. I can recommend NorthCoast Custom Arcades. Then you need a screen, which is just a monitor, and an input device, which is usually a set of panel-mounted joysticks and buttons and can be had from many manufacturers (I think mameroom's controller offerings are very overkill). Finally you need a coin/token/bill/card acceptor, which is also available from numerous sources depending on exactly how you want to take payment. Once you have all that, you can just connect it to a PC installed inside the case.

Which is to say, in response to what you might have been trying to ask... No, there is no "standard" arcade cabinet "platform" that you would design for. Most companies use their own mix of hardware and software.


Just to toss this out there, you can build your own and simply stuff a standard PC inside it, Scott Hanselman did this with his Hanselcade -- http://www.hanselman.com/blog/CategoryView.aspx?category=Arcade very labor intensive, but if its for a pet-project this may be what you (or some googler down the road) is looking for.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is about developing arcade games, not building an emulator cabinet. \$\endgroup\$ – user744 Nov 2 '10 at 8:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ Understood, but my point stands that someone may find it useful. \$\endgroup\$ – Nate Nov 2 '10 at 14:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Take an emulator cabinet and replace the emulator with your game, and you have a your-game cabinet. \$\endgroup\$ – Damian Yerrick Feb 12 '19 at 18:47

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