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The Diet and The Arcade Console - Jarrett Heather — LiveJournal
Jarrett Heather's Journal
The Diet and The Arcade Console
You might remember a month ago I announced I was going to change my diet. I didn't have much of a plan aside from giving up soda (and sugar in general), giving up fast food, watching my portions, and eating much less fat. Well, I'm happy to announce that I've been able to stick with it, and I'm currently on schedule to meet my goal by the end of the year. In fact, I've already lost ten pounds.

In order to track my progress, I made a chart in Photoshop. I weigh myself first thing every morning, and I mark it on the chart. I just love numbers, and I love seeing my progress so plainly illustrated.

I also made a deal with myself. If I can meet my goal on the first of each month, I will reward myself by buying something I don't need. I know what you're thinking: "Jarrett, you buy crap you don't need all the time." True, but most toys I buy can at least be written off as a business expense, or justified in some other way. I actually have a whole 'nother wishlist in my head of purchases that are hard to reconcile, even with standards as low as mine.

So, having met my goal for the first month, I get to buy myself something. And I did.

For many years, I have pondered building a MAME cabinet. What the hell is a MAME cabinet, you ask? Well, MAME is the name of a very special piece of software. It stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. You see, people have been stealing the software off of video arcade machine ROM chips. MAME usues a PC to emulate the arcade machine hardware and run the original game software. So, with a plain ol' PC running MAME, you can play practically any classic arcade game from Pac-Man to Mortal Kombat.

Well, not long after MAME hit the streets, someone had a neat idea. Let's take an arcade console, rip out the guts, and put a MAME PC inside. It's like having an entire arcade in one console. Having spent most of my childhood in arcades, this idea has been very appealing to me. However, used arcade consoles aren't real easy to come by, and I don't really have the tools, space, or knowledge to refurbish one, much less rig the control panel and display.

But lately, a new industry has been born. Companies are building brand new arcade cabinets, control panels and displays designed for this sort of project. However, the parts are expensive. So, I'm going to build a brand new arcade cabinet... one piece at a time. If I keep meeting my weightloss goals, I can keep buying new parts for the machine. It's very motivational, and I'm very excited about the project!

Today I ordered the first and most important piece: The control panel.

After exhaustive research, I settled on the SlikStik classic, with some slight modifications. It's basically the biggest, most expensive panel out there, but I really want to do this thing right. I customized mine with an additional top-fire joystick next to the spinner, so I can play TRON (my favorite classic arcade game) with an authentic feel. Check out the pic:

So, thus begins phase 1 of my MAME arcade cabinet project. While my control panel is being built, I'm going to convert one of my extra computers for use as the MAME-brain. Peddling ROMs is slightly illegal, so collecting all the ones I want is a little challenging and time-consuming as well. Also, I might try to get the machine to run a couple other emulators, like the 8-bit NES for starters.

If I stick to my new diet, hopefully I'll be able to start phase 2 of the project on October 1st.

Now, tell me... what is your favorite classic arcade game?

Current Mood: excited excited

21 comments or Leave a comment
From: chrysus Date: September 3rd, 2004 12:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Holy shit Jarrett that'd be too sick for words!! TOO SICK FOR WORDS.

So yeah, I am pro this plan.
From: chrysus Date: September 3rd, 2004 12:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh yeah, and if you need any help with this, like, you want a cabinet built for you, then let me know! (Believe or not, not everything I touch is a complete travesty. I'm good at wood working.)
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 3rd, 2004 12:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was planning on buying a cabinet from SlikStik. There's no way I could put one together as nice as this, even with plans, tools, space, and woodworking skills... none of which I have to begin with.

The plan for phase 2 isn't finalized, but this seems like the best way to go.
From: chrysus Date: September 3rd, 2004 12:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've got the tools, space, and woodworking skills. I'm sure we can come up with the plans fairly easily.

Think about it, it's the difference between paying 1400 bucks or paying just the cost of materials(wood, hinges, and finishes. Nothing at all.)
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 3rd, 2004 02:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are places that sell detailed plans and templates for like five bucks. There are places that sell all the wood panels pre-cut but unfinished.

Do you know anything about finishing the exterior surfaces? How about installing T-molding on the edges?

I'm willing to talk about it, but I'm pretty skeptical. The SlikStik cabinet is really sweet. Check out this video review.
webdiva From: webdiva Date: September 3rd, 2004 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
what are you using to chart it? or did you just make something nifty?
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 3rd, 2004 12:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I drew the chart in Photoshop.
webdiva From: webdiva Date: September 3rd, 2004 12:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
cool :)
(Deleted comment)
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 3rd, 2004 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I dug up a torrent with the complete collection. I have every NES game ever published in the whole world. What I don't have is a decent emulator. Which do you use?
(Deleted comment)
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 3rd, 2004 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll have to check those emulators out.
macklinr From: macklinr Date: September 3rd, 2004 12:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
My favorite classic arcad game would definitely be Altered Beast. It was a pretty decent game, but I think I just have fond memories of playing it as a kid that makes it seem better -- it did seem less badass when I played it a year ago via ROM (but then the ROM was kinda glitchy anyway).
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 3rd, 2004 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have that ROM. The emulation is flawless.
macklinr From: macklinr Date: September 3rd, 2004 02:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
For what system? NES? Genesis?
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 3rd, 2004 02:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, the MAME ROM. MAME supports SEGA System-16 arcade ROMs now. You get your Altered Beasts, Golden Axe, Alien Syndrom, et al.

The emulation is arcade perfect, right down to the crappy voice samples.
jesha From: jesha Date: September 3rd, 2004 01:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tetris! I loved that game! That board is awesome I didnt know they had those. Are you playing Doom 3? If so what do you think?
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 3rd, 2004 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am unbeatable at Tetris.

I do have Doom3, but I haven't played it in a week or so. I didn't finish it yet.
samslife From: samslife Date: September 7th, 2004 08:31 am (UTC) (Link)

That's so cool.

Tetris - and Slither. I can't find Slither anywhere.
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 7th, 2004 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: That's so cool.

I have the ROM for Slither. Did you want me to email it to you?
samslife From: samslife Date: September 12th, 2004 05:28 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: That's so cool.

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes kind Sir
I'd love the ROM
to be sure,

What an I offer!
I do say,
Email thy ROM, right away...

And whence, I see, it doth come hither
I'll say hello
To my ole' friend, SLITHER!

Thanks in advance Jarrett -
And congrats on your successful weight loss plan.

(I'll email you my email address.)

Sorry this response took so long. I'm backlogged on everything.
colin From: colin Date: September 8th, 2004 12:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Impressive. I hope to have the same solid results with my diet and exercise routine as you're having.
jarrett From: jarrett Date: September 8th, 2004 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's easy if you can find a way to stay motivated!

Good luck to you.
21 comments or Leave a comment