MAME seems to have revived the childhood of computing and brought back the memories of fried food, beeping sounds and coins disappearing in an endless flow in to the cabinet of the local arcade machines. Playing MAME today doesn’t absolutely require an arcade machine (hooked up to a pc), but it does feel quite the same. (from the MAME FAQ:) “MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. When used in conjunction with an arcade game’s data files (ROMs), MAME will more or less faithfully reproduce that game on a PC. MAME can currently emulate over 2600 unique (and over 4600 in total) classic arcade video games from the three decades of video games - ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and some from the current millennium.”
A few years back some friends at work bought an old arcade machine, placed a common pc with Windows 95 and mame within. They spent many evenings creating a print board and other equipment to hook up the arcade controls and screen to the pc (keep in mind this was way before the I-PAC and J-PAC exisisted). It worked for a while but then one day one circuit broke in a huge orange bundle of cables, and it seemed more feasible to replace it with a more future proof solution.
Recently I discovered an other old friend, had spend some time last year building an arcade like joystick, which seems like a rather nice solution if you don’t want the large arcade cabinet around. It looks quite amazing, and there’s a few details on how it was made and with which materials at his pacmame site.