Friday, June 24, 2011

Arcade Cabinet - using original modded Xbox

Like many people, I was, and still am a big fan of video games which included console and arcades. Though arcades are pretty much dead in the US, but still popular overseas. I have always wanted to own one as it gives a nostalgic feel and feeling that you don't get when playing on a console.

Since it is not really feasible to purchase one of every arcade game that you enjoy, a MAME machine is a great alternative. When the time came that I was able to start a project of this size, I began searching for project plans to build my own cabinet and also began searching various outlets to purchase a older cabinet. By chance, I found a seller(who happened to be an arcade repair guy) on Craigslist that was selling empty shells, since he already gutted them and no longer needed them. He had 2 on sale, a Mortal Kombat 2 and War: Final Assault(which I never heard of). Contacted seller stating that I wanted both, and if he could deliver. I was then notified that MK2 was already sold and only had War left, which he could deliver.

Picture shown is what the game originally looked like(not the one I bought)

These 3 pictures show what the cab looked like when I first got it. It was in awesome condition by the way. It was basically all I needed to start the project, minus the control panel since it was for a mech game as shown in the very first pic.

I then began stripping it down to its bare and removed everything that I did not need, since the original harness and control panel wires were still inside.

I then purchased an older CRT tv($30 at pawn shop) to place into the shell, as arcade monitors are harder to come by and very pricey(around $200 for a 25"). Plus I would need to purchase another harness if I used a arcade monitor as they are usually VGA inputs, while the Xbox uses a RCA. A bit of modification was needed as the TV would not fit into original mounts.
CRT after shell was removed
CRT in the cab after a lot of modifications and some help from a couple friends

I then had to build a control panel from scratch as the original cp was for a mech game. I just purchased a sheet of MDF from Home Depot and had them cut the piece I needed with my measurements from original cp. After testing measurements for new cp, I had to then measure for a proper arrangement for the joysticks and button layout that I wanted. I went with a button layout rather than the old in-line layout that is used in games like Street Fighter 2. To drill the holes, I just used a hole saw attachment on my power drill.

**Note: The internals which include the original joysticks and buttons were taken from an X-Arcade joystick(see here) with Xbox adapter(see here) which can be found at links provided and also from**
Testing to make sure that measurements were correct

New control panel after drilling was complete
Only thing left to do was to paint the CP, put in new joysticks and buttons, and wire everything up.
Control Panel after paint and buttons installed...
under CP, lots of wires and joystick
...joysticks installed
Wiring Completed!!
Finished product!! (yellow dots are labels I used for the wires)


  1. does the controller work for nes, sega, and other emulators or just mame? How long did it take? I found my old modded xbox and was going to try and create an arcade out of it but like how Golden tee is set up now.

  2. The controller works like a xbox controller so it will work on anything you play on the xbox. I plan on doing some pad hacks for xbox/xbox 360 controllers when I add my 360 to the cab, so let me know if you are interested in my current wiring setup. My setup took about 2 weeks to complete, working on it on and off. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  3. I'm not that smart at this stuff but your setup looks awesome. How do I get mame on a modded xbox which port or mod do I use?


  4. Hello i have a outrun 2 arcade machine. Running an xbox. It was working fine but now when you turn it on the game does not load or even start. Any ideas of how to fix it? Thanks