The Basics of Arcade Equipment

The Basics of Arcade Equipment

Some arcade machines come with a warranty to ensure that they are of high quality. Some also support a variety of games so that you will not get bored easily.

However, the problem with these arcade machines is that they are extremely expensive and can break very easily. They are also not portable which means that they will only be able to be used at home.

Cabinet and Side Panels

A cabinet is the base around which the controls and monitor are positioned. The cabinet shape designs can vary from the simplest symmetric perpendicular box to the more complex asymmetric ones. Upright cabinets are usually designed for two players.

Cocktail cabinets are similar to uprights but smaller, allowing them to air hockey game machine fit in bars and other venues with less space. They also tend to have a glass top for playing from a seat. Many classic arcade games have a cocktail version that is released alongside the upright. Taito arcade games that have a cocktail version will often have the game prefixed with T.T (eg. T.T Space Invaders).

Side art is usually silkscreened on the cabinet, although some companies produce large applique pieces of reproduction artwork for popular classic games. These appliques can be difficult to apply properly and are subject to bubbling or wrinkles that require careful spraying with a soapy water solution.

Upright cabinets also have a bezel surrounding the monitor that may contain instructions or artwork. Some sloping along the sides of the cabinet make it hard for non-playing patrons to see the action on the screen.

Monitor Shields

In arcade games, monitor shields protect the monitor glass from becoming damaged by the stresses of gaming. They also help gamers focus by blocking distractions such as other players, fans, lights, and cameras. Monitor shields are commonly used on top-loading cabinets but can also be found on front-loading ones as well.

A common mistake people make is trying to use a PC monitor in an arcade cabinet, but they run at different refresh rates. It’s not impossible, but it can be difficult and may require extra hardware. The best option is probably to use a CRT monitor.

While these are heavy and cumbersome, they provide a better picture quality and are easier to work on. It is important to remember that they still contain high voltages, so any attempt at working on them should be performed with extreme caution. If you are unsure how to discharge a monitor, consult a professional as doing so incorrectly could be dangerous and possibly fatal.


The marquee is a piece of art that lights up to display the game title at the top of a cabinet. Early marquees were made of glass or plexiglass, later games used acrylic stick-ons and most modern arcade games use translite backlit film. A marquee is a great way to show off your collection and attract attention to your machine.

Marquees can also be found on modern LCD arcade cabinets. They change to match the games you select in your multicade, showing custom marquee graphics matched with each game’s art package.

Marquees are available for rent at most party stores, but many people prefer to build their own lightbox and frame the artwork to give it a deluxe look. They can be as simple or as intricate as you want, but they’re a great way to add a retro flair to any room.

Coin Mechanism

The coin mechanism is the heart of a classic arcade cabinet. It is used to accept coins from customers in order to operate the game and win rewards such as tickets or balls. It is usually located behind the monitor in the center of the machine.

A high performance mechanical coin mech is capable of discerning a proper coin from other Dance Game Machine coins based on weight, magnetism, diameter and thickness. It can also reject metal forgeries and detect counterfeit coins by evaluating their magnetic fields. It can also block a false coin from entering a coin slot by pushing the front button.

A common type of coin mech uses a simple sloped slot with a microswitch in it that is triggered when the coin slides down the slope and makes contact with the switch. Another type of coin mech uses a metal drawer with various slots in it that are pre-set to accept the coins needed for a particular game. This is often preferred by commercial arcades as it requires less maintenance. These systems use a combination of low torque microswitches that are less likely to jam than their electronic counterparts.


Adding speakers to a cabinet is easy and makes a big difference in sound quality. It’s important to match the impedance of the speaker to the amplifier in the sound board, because mismatched frequencies can cause shrill noise or no sound at all. Most modern games use low wattage (8 watt or less) amplifiers, so using higher wattage speakers can overload them and sound bad.

Arcade monitors do not like to be too close to speakers because of magnetic interference, which can cause severe picture distortion or even color bleeding. For that reason, it’s good to mount the speakers away from the monitor and use shielded speakers. The 4″ 30W 8ohm Suzo Happ speakers I used are shielded and do a great job of delivering high quality sound.

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