Maintaining an Arcade Game Machine

Maintaining an Arcade Game Machine

From the frantic dogfights of Defender to the neon-drenched streets of Cruis’n, arcade games have long been aligned with American culture and a certain kind of fun. While game consoles have largely taken the place of these old machines, there’s still nothing quite like an arcade game machine.

Learn more about arcade game machines and what makes them work. This article will cover everything from the cabinet and side panels to the electronics and controls.

Cabinet and Side Panels

The cabinet is the overall structure of an arcade game machine. It varies in size and weight, but can be upright, cocktail, or tabletop, depending on its application. Upright cabinets are tall and have a control panel set perpendicular to the monitor at waist level, while cocktail and tabletop machines stand on one or more legs.

The side panels of a cabinet are the areas visible to the player and may contain artwork or instructions for playing the game. Upright and cocktail cabinets often have a bezel around the monitor that contains a marquee. Many older games have large side art appliques. These can be silkscreened or produced as decals of varying quality and can be applied to the sides of an existing cabinet using a spray paint that allows them to be quickly repositioned if bubbles or wrinkles develop.

Upright cabinets may have a coin door (also known as a service door) at the front of the cabinet that accepts coins or tokens to play the game. The door usually has lights that illuminate the price of the game and a coin mechanism designed to verify that the correct coins are being used. A speaker grill can also be found on a cabinet and is used to produce sound for the game. Many old cabinets have been converted to host a different game title and these are often configured to use JAMMA connectors which make the conversion process relatively simple.


Before home video gaming consoles came along, arcade games were the pinnacle of electronic entertainment. Pouring quarter after quarter in a machine to 9d vr cinema chair try and beat your friends’ high scores was an experience like no other.

During the arcade heyday of the 1980s, companies rushed to release new games and grab a slice of the industry’s enormous revenues. Unfortunately, many of the biggest hits are a bit hard to find today (revenue numbers were a lot harder to come by back then).

Pac-Man was one of the biggies. This iconic game, where the player controls a yellow circle through a maze eating dots and avoiding ghosts, set the standard for arcade games. The brash, colorful graphics were a departure from the stark black and white lines that had previously defined video games, and the catchy chip-tune music really put gamers in the mood to chase a high score.

Other notable games during the era of the arcade include Konami’s Scramble, which introduced digitized sprites to the world of arcade games; and Konami’s Donkey Kong, which featured the first-ever three-dimensional graphics. Another big hit was a rail shooter called Metal Slug, which pushed the boundaries of arcade graphics and gameplay. It was an immersive and exhilarating experience that left players’ arms tingling from all the button-pushing and joystick wagging.


Arcade games differ from standard video game consoles or PCs by incorporating a variety of electronics and controllers that often correspond to the specific genres of the games. This hardware includes the standard joysticks and buttons setup; light-gun controllers which shoot at enemies in a specific world or universe; steering wheels with seats, pedals and gear shifters for racing games; trackballs which you can roll; and replicas of bikes, motoroboats, rowboats and snow skis for sports games.

Most of the hardware in an arcade machine is connected to a single PCB that contains software and programming for the specific game. These PCBs use reprogrammable chips, called Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA), to allow for the addition of new features without replacing the entire board.

The PCB also provides the connectors for various other components in the cabinet. These include a monitor, coin mechanism and power supply. The monitor is typically plugged into the cabinet through a VGA cable with a female connection on the motherboard. The coin mechanism has a bill validator and a coin hopper, and the power supply provides DC power for the circuitry in the machine.

Most cabinets since the 1980s comply with the JAMMA wiring standard. This standard allows 9D VR 2 Seats Chair for the addition of low voltage lighting for lighted buttons and coin slots, as well as a marquee to display the game title.


If you operate your own arcade game machines in a bar, diner, or restaurant, regular maintenance tasks will keep your games in great shape. These maintenance tasks include routine cleaning and preventative maintenance. These tasks help keep your games looking aesthetically pleasing, which can promote repeat visits and increase revenue.

Regular Cleaning: Dust can damage electronic components and lead to overheating. Ensure your arcade machine is protected by regularly cleaning the cabinet, marquee, and control panel with a damp cloth. For particularly stubborn grime, you can use a mild detergent solution.

Monitor Calibration: Regularly calibrating the monitor can optimize color accuracy and brightness, creating a more immersive gaming experience. Follow manufacturer guidelines or consult professional technicians for assistance.

Button and Joystick Inputs

Over time, buttons, joysticks, and trackballs may lose their responsiveness or become stuck. Using high-quality replacement parts can ensure a consistent, positive input experience for your patrons.

Software Updates: Many modern arcade games feature software that requires periodic updates to fix bugs and improve performance. Consult the manufacturers’ instructions or website for guidance on performing these updates safely and effectively.

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