Enter your search query in the box above ^, or use the forum search tool.

You are not logged in.

#1 2013-11-26 20:12:19

#! Die Hard
Registered: 2009-10-01
Posts: 1,020

DIY Arcade Machine with Crunchbang

Hi all,

I just found an old LCD Monitor and have a spare netbook with broken screen and no harddrive lying around and thought it would be cool to transform them into a Arcade Machine run from USB.

I remembered Puppy Arcade and downloaded it and searched the web a bit and found a video of an Arcade powered by crunchbang. Thought I share that with you..


^ that one is pretty cheap though, since joystick are not attached to the box etc.. want to make a more sturdy one with controls firmly attached & where you dont need a keyboard anymore once it is on. they used this frontend: - I once saw a linux powered Arcade about 10 years ago even with coinslots.. don't remember anymore which distro or emulator it ran.. but worked perfect. booted into a menu and you could select games with joysticks only..

Has anyone of you build something like this?

I want to make one for a local hangout. Have tons of plywood lying around and am now thinking about how to set it up so I can control everything with joysticks (or have a little door to access the keyboard when booting up)..  but I want to keep it simple and the player should be able to choose their own games etc..

here's another one..
and another one based on a laptop:

looks like a fun winter project smile

Last edited by saneks (2013-11-26 20:33:32)

eee701 user & other lap/desktops


Help fund CrunchBang, donate to the project!

#2 2013-11-26 21:47:19

#! Junkie
From: 0x000000
Registered: 2013-09-30
Posts: 382

Re: DIY Arcade Machine with Crunchbang

i built an NESpc a long time ago using a mini-itx mobo and usb controllers.
it's been a long time, and the site i made i gone. but thankfully the wayback machine still has it …

i can attest that linux emulators are great! every (console + arcade) system has a few different emulators, so you need to try a few of each a decide which runs best on your hardware. finding roms is pretty easy (torrents!)

the hardest part in the case + controls. if your planning on building a DIY arcade cabinet, there are lots of plans you can get for free on the net. (e.g. this or this)

personally i just gutted an old nes w/ a screwdriver and a dremel. and got a few usb nes/snes controllers from retrousb.

also, this article looks pretty cool.

Last edited by xero (2013-11-26 21:55:30)



#3 2013-11-30 11:24:43

Registered: 2013-10-25
Posts: 14

Re: DIY Arcade Machine with Crunchbang


Last edited by buttonmasher (2014-12-02 19:53:30)


#4 2013-11-30 12:19:01

#! Die Hard
Registered: 2009-10-01
Posts: 1,020

Re: DIY Arcade Machine with Crunchbang

aw, great. you sure love to do that. wonderful. just had a look at your "victorcade" - brilliant.  I like the metal sheet as base for the joystick and buttons. have one lying around as well.. it is the first time I do such a project. I want to make a tall free standing one sized like your asteroids one, and for 2 players.. and include emulators for classic 80/90s machines. I was delighted to find so much frontend software when doing my research. cool. do you prefer any?

I thought I will end up just buying two arcade joystick with usb and screw them into the case.. machine will be an old netbook/notebook. I am a total noob at electronics, so I thought to keep that simple. but ofcourse I want it to be sturdy and not look too ghetto..
-  I saw you take gamepads apart and solder cables with arcade buttons on them, right?
-  do you have any hints for arcade-style sturdy joystick/button parts that can be fit into an mdf board/metal-sheet like in a real arcade and end as an usb plug? that would make it a lot very easier for me

your projects are brilliant. thanks for sharing. also your plans and drawings are very useful for me. and you have many lovely details in there.. sure your kids love these.

every old pc and crt monitor should be recycled into an arcade!  8o

Last edited by saneks (2013-11-30 12:31:40)

eee701 user & other lap/desktops


#5 2013-11-30 13:52:27

Registered: 2013-10-25
Posts: 14

Re: DIY Arcade Machine with Crunchbang

One thing I'm still working on is setting up an arcade machine running Linux. I'm still new to this stuff. All my projects are running Windows. But I've been messing around with Wah!Cade for a frontend.

It's pretty lean, which I like. Busy, graphic intense, frontends are kind of blah to me. It's whatever works best for you though.

You can hack a gamepad to act as an interface between your arcade controls and computer if you want to save some money. An actual arcade interface would be a better choice since you're just starting out. Unless you want/like to tinker with electronics, then I say hack away. It's fun.

There are 2 different kinds. One that registers as a gamepad through USB or one that you plug in through PS2 and it acts as a keyboard.

The USB gamepad style sends input signals like a gaming controller. You press button 1 and MAME recognizes it as Joy 1 Button 1. You press button 2 and it's Joy 1 Button 2 and so on.

The keyboard encoder style acts like you're using a keyboard. If you wire your button 1 to the A input on the encoder, it sends the A signal when you press the button, and the computer just thinks your pressing A on the keyboard.

Either type is good. It's just up to you which style you want to use for your project. I live in the US and get all of my arcade hardware from They've got good products and have always done well by me. 100% recommend.

There's also Ultimarc which is a UK based store. 100% recommend as well.

There are more companies and ebay has good stuff too.

"every old pc and crt monitor should be recycled into an arcade! "
I couldn't have said it better myself.

Last edited by buttonmasher (2013-11-30 13:57:48)


#6 2013-11-30 15:00:26

#! Member
Registered: 2011-02-22
Posts: 94

Re: DIY Arcade Machine with Crunchbang

I have an arcade cabinet which runs windowsXP with the mala frontend, that I plan to migrate to linux at some point. I did it with my boyfriend who has no linux fu, what we did was to get a malfuctioning arcade case, take everything out and replace it with computer parts.

It works great now and I'm planning to turn it into a jukebox as well once it makes the linux switch.


Board footer

Powered by FluxBB

Copyright © 2012 CrunchBang Linux.
Proudly powered by Debian. Hosted by Linode.
Debian is a registered trademark of Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
Server: acrobat

Debian Logo