After Hours

Add an arcade to your game room with a MAME cabinet or console

MAME cabinets and consoles

For gamers like me who grew up with arcades, having a game cabinet the basement would have been the ultimate cool toy. Even as PC and console games met and eventually surpassed arcade machines, the mystique of owning an arcade cabinet still exists. Besides, a mouse button click just isn't as viscerally satisfying and frantically smashing and arcade control panel's buttons. Unfortunately, authentic arcade machines are still fairly expensive to buy and maintain and few people have the space to accommodate more than one or two machines.

With emulation software, a little wood working knowledge, and a bit of wiring skill, retro gaming enthusiasts can now experience arcade gaming in their dens without spending their 401K. Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) software allows users to run ROMs of vintage computer games. Emulation software is available for Windows, Linux, DOS, Mac OS, Unix and even consoles like Microsoft's Xbox. In the U.S., owning emulation software is currently legal. Owning or distributing the game ROMs is another story. Most arcade games are protected under copyright law. Despite the fact that most emulated games are no longer commercially available or the originally copyright holder no longer exists, it may still be illegal to own or distribute game ROMs. Legal issues aside, many retro gamers are still looking to put the arcade thrill in their own game room.

Here are a collection of MAME cabinets and consoles that any arcade enthusiast would love.

Compiled by Bill Dewtiler

By Bill Detwiler

Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the ...