Build Your Own Arcade Game Player and Relive the '80s!
Hacking a keyboard in four easy steps:
Take apart the keyboard, making sure not to damage the PCB.
Find the two sets of connectors on the PCB, and on a chart, label them X and Y.
Trace the very small, fine lines on the flexible plastic sheets to determine the X and Y coordinates for every key. No, really, I'm not kidding.
Solder wires onto each X and Y terminal, and use those wires to connect to the arcade controls.
Obtaining Legal ROMs
MAME ROMs are easily located for download on the Internet, but the legality of using those ROMs are questionable. There are a couple ways to ensure that you have the legal right to your ROMs.
Buy the actual motherboard from the original game. This may sound far fetched, but it's not too difficult to purchase broken arcade boards from either local coin-op vendors or on-line from eBay. Because you're just looking for the legal right to use the downloaded ROM, it doesn't really matter if the board is broken.
You can buy the X-Arcade keyboard, which comes with a handful of classic ROMs.
Check out arcadecontrols.com. There are some free, noncommercial games available for download and some more ideas regarding obtaining legal ROMs. It often is difficult to find whom to buy the rights from, even if you want to spend the cash.
MAME Arcade Emulator: www.mame.net
WahCade Front End: www.anti-particle.com
Arcade Controls (Cabinet Building Info): www.arcadecontrols.com
Happ Controls: www.happcontrols.com
Hagstrom Electronics: www.hagstromelectronics.com
Ubuntu Linux: www.ubuntulinux.com
Shawn Powers is a geeky Technology Director for a small school in northern Michigan. He did manage to find a wife to love him and has three wonderful daughters. His wife even watches Star Trek with him, but he suspects it's just because she loves him. Send him e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.