What’s Inside an Arcade Game Machine?

What’s Inside an Arcade Game Machine?

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During the video game craze of the 1970s, arcade machines filled up mall recreation centers and grocery stores. They also appeared in doctor’s offices and schools.

Cabinet and Side Panels

The cabinet is the overall enclosure within which the arcade game’s electronic hardware resides. Cabinets can vary from one machine to another, but most comply with the JAMMA standard. Most cabinets are built from wood and may be covered in a variety of finishes. The cabinets also contain a marquee, a bezel, and side art. The marquee is a piece of glass that displays the name of the game and related artwork. The bezel is a border around the monitor that can contain artwork as well. The side art is artwork that adorns the sides of the cabinet.

Arcade games require quick reactions and fine-eye coordination to be played successfully. The cognitive skills honed in these games are helpful to children as they grow up, as they learn to process information quickly and make decisions. Teamwork is also a key part of playing arcade games, as they teach kids how to work together.

Some older cabinets have the option to play multiple games at once, often called a multicade. These are larger than other arcade machines and have multiple screens connected to a single system. They are sometimes used for trivia or gambling-type games. They can be found in bars and pubs, as they are usually installed vr on a table or bar top. Cocktail cabinet versions of arcade games have a smaller size than upright cabinets and are generally only large enough to house their monitors and control panels.

Coin Mechanism

The coin mechanism is a key part of an arcade game that allows players to play for a certain amount of time or for credits. This is typically indicated by a digital display or other visual cues. The coin mechanism uses various sensors to detect the size, weight and metal composition of a coin to determine whether it’s valid for the machine.

Once the coin is inserted, it registers a credit to start the game. Depending on the design of the game, this may signal that the player can launch a steel ball onto a slanted table to score points or simply activate a video screen to begin playing the game.

The basic coin mechanism has been around for decades. Modern machines may also include advanced features such as digital displays, card readers and network connectivity for remote monitoring and management. Despite their declining popularity compared to video consoles and PC games, arcade machines are still used in some environments to provide an exciting and interactive experience.


An arcade game machine would not be complete without the bleeps and bloops that accompany your game play. Speakers are located at the back of the cabinet and can be full-range or subwoofers.

An audio system on a PCB generates the sound signals that are sent to the speakers. The audio chips in older games used monaural (one-channel) sound, but modern games use stereo sound. The PCB also contains RAM, which stores temporary data, such as the player’s score. A power supply converts AC power from a wall socket into DC power for the PCB.

The sound systems in arcade machines vary from simple to complex depending on the game genre and hardware technology that was VR Motion Chair available at a particular time. Arcade games have come a long way since the early 70’s with some having graphics that rival gaming consoles.

The most common types of arcade games are pinball machines, video games and electromechanical (EM) games. EM games combine some electronic circuitry with mechanical actions from the player to move objects within the cabinet, such as the early light gun games using sensors that registered hits. Other EM games include merchandising machines, such as claw cranes or coin pushers, which allow players to win prizes by physically manipulating the machine’s mechanisms. Some merchandising games incorporate a touchscreen display to interact with the user.


When it comes to the arcade cabinet, the controls are one of its most important components. After all, these are the rods with knobby bits that players use to kick and punch their in-game avatar. While to the untrained eye, arcade joysticks and buttons all look the same – gleaming rods with knobby bits that let you move and shoot your character – there is a world of small differences that separate various types of joysticks and buttons.

For example, classic American arcade sticks used concave 1 1/8’’ push-buttons while modern Japanese joysticks generally use 30mm convex ones. Some of these are even available with lighted ball tops for added bling! And while the default joystick typically has a incredibly large throw (the distance the stick travels from its starting position to its end point), modding enthusiasts can upgrade the original joystick by applying different restrictor gates. The most popular choice is the octagonal gate which allows for smooth motion along the diagonals rather than the abrupt movements of a square gate.

The JAMMA interface is the most common way to connect the hardware to the computer inside an arcade machine. Interfacing to a JAMMA board is as easy as connecting the proper buttons and joystick to the proper pins on the connector. This can be a great option for people looking to convert an old PC or console into an arcade machine but don’t want the hassle of putting together a custom cabinet.

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