About this project
Last year, for my son's 5th birthday, I designed and built a custom arcade; the American Ace. It's loads of fun to play, sounds great, and looks insane sitting in the game room! Fast forward almost a year, and this is his only gift that still gets played almost daily.
This Kickstarter project will produce an arcade cabinet kit, based on my son’s one-off arcade, that can be assembled by anyone with nothing more than a screwdriver.
When I sat down to design the American Ace, I wanted to create something that captured the look and feel of an 80's arcade. Handheld controllers rule the home gaming scene, but some games just demand genuine arcade controls with a big stick and fat buttons.
Not long into the design process, my wife and I agreed on one thing; we didn't want a refrigerator sized toy in our house. So, I took my design, and scaled everything down just a bit.
The results were great! The arcade stands just over four feet tall, so my son and his friends are able to walk right up and play. Plus, the control panel is the perfect height for adults to play while seated.
What games are you going to play on your arcade? Well, the American Ace is designed to be completely open ended so you can add a PC, a PS3, or just about any gaming console out there... past or present.
One common gaming system for an arcade like this is a PC running emulator software like MAME which allows you to play thousands of older titles. Never heard of MAME or emulators? Well, keep reading... there are some helpful links at the bottom of this page.
So, what are the rewards? Well, there's something for everyone... from buttons and t-shirts, to a full blown arcade cabinet kit, finished out with artwork and working control panel.
Your choice.. pin backed, or magnet backed 1" buttons; wear them, or stick them on the fridge. Since the American Ace was originally built for my son, he and I are going to design one of the buttons together.
Designed to improve your game and keep you looking good at the same time.
You're a DIY rock star and want to scratch build your own arcade cabinet! This complete set of printed plans leave nothing to chance. Besides the plans and construction notes, you're also getting FULL SIZED templates. These plans won't leave you scratching your head!
If you decide to build your arcade cabinet from plans, these precut panels will really help speed up your project. They're made from 3/4 inch MDF and have the t-molding slots already cut. Plus they save you the cost of a slotting bit and router if you don't already have one!
The following kits allow you to build your own American Ace with little fuss. Aside from the cabinet itself, there are three other kits that have been designed and assembled specifically for the American Ace. You won't have to worry about how to build an arcade, finding parts that fit, or just making sure everything "looks right" together.
The American Ace is a 3/4 scale arcade cabinet kit designed to accept your favorite gaming system. The smaller size means you won't have to struggle to find a place for it in your home. Plus, the control panel height is perfect for adults to play while seated.
This kit includes everything you need to build your own cabinet... and no woodworking is required! A screwdriver is all you need to assemble the cabinet using the hardware provided.
Check out these other features:
- Convenient size... just over 4ft tall.
- All panels are covered in black laminate so no painting is required, and artwork can be applied easily.
- Slot for t-molding is precut in side panels.
- Fitted control panel provided for you to create your own custom stick and button layout.
- Monitor (up to 19" wide) can be mounted either vertically or horizontally using the provided VESA mount (not shown above).
When it comes to trimming out your arcade, the Deluxe Accessories kit has everything you need to give your arcade the professional look.
The Deluxe Accessories kit includes all the following:
- Decorative t-molding in your choice of Black, Red, Blue, Green, or Yellow
- Super bright marquee light (power supply included)
- Monitor plexiglass fits the American Ace perfectly
- Marquee plexiglass (sandwich your marquee artwork between these sheets.
- Custom aluminum marquee retainers made exclusively for the American Ace. Slim profile to match the size of your arcade.
Based on the original American Ace control panel, this kit has everything you need to build a PC or PS3 compatible controller... and no soldering is required!
The control panel includes all the following:
- Sanwa joystick
- Happ style genuine arcade pushbuttons
- Predrilled panel
- Electronic control board (PC and PS3 compatable)
- Wiring harness
- USB cable
The right artwork can take a good arcade and turn it into a really awesome arcade! With an original World War II fighter theme, this artwork has been designed specifically for the American Ace cabinet, and includes everything you need to fully decorate your arcade:
- Personalized Full Side Art
- Backlit Marquee
- Control Panel Overlay
Pilots have a tradition of placing their names and callsigns on their planes, and you can do the same. Make this artwork your very own by personalizing it with the rank, name, and callsign of your choice! Left and right side art is printed on durable adhesive backed vinyl and laminated for protection.
Printed on professional backlight material, these marquees have a diffuse ultra white backing for even lighting. When sandwiched between two sheets of plexiglass and backlit, your marquee will look as nice as those found in any modern arcade.
Control panels are where all the action happens, and this overlay is one tough customer! Printed on adhesive backed material, and then protected with a polycarbonate laminate, this overlay has a nice micro-textured feel. This is the same thing I used on my son's arcade, and after nearly a year of hard play, his control panel looks as good as day one!
Got the fever? Check out some of these links:
- Some more eye candy of the original American Ace! http://www.flickr.com/photos/78627006@N04/sets/72157629359257204/
- Find out about the MAME emulator engine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAME
- Great article on putting together a MAME brain on the cheap! http://www.retrothing.com/2008/03/diy-build-a-mam.html
- Great site with plenty of arcade reviews! http://mamezach.blogspot.com/
- Another good arcade review site. This one is dedicated to 2D scrolling shoot-em-up games. http://www.shmups.com/index.html
You will need to add your own game system, monitor, and speakers to complete your arcade.
It can be if you like. The American Ace is an open ended design, so you can certainly put a PC running MAME into the Ace. But your not restricted, you could also add a JAMMA multi-game board, or a home gaming console.
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