RetroBox Arcade with LED illuminated buttons

Today I finished yet another arcade build. Even though it’s quite similar to my previous one, this version has LED illuminated buttons and improved joystick restrictors.

After a lot of work, I’ve finally managed to finish yet another bartop arcade build. This time the main feature are the LED illuminated buttons which shows you which buttons are in use for a particular MAME game or console platform. This makes it a lot easier to figure out what buttons are actually in use.

Take a look at my YouTube video in order to get a proper demonstration on how this arcade works.

Improved joystick restrictor

The probably most important modification on this build is the customized joystick restrictor plate. While I like the joysticks a lot, the original restrictor is basically useless. The round shape makes it almost impossible to feel the difference between up and up-left or up-right. This is a huge problem, especially in fighting games where you have to press up-right in order to jump forward or execute different combos.

3D printed joystick restrictor plate

In order to fix this issue I’ve 3D printed my own, octagon-shaped restrictor which fits perfectly onto the bottom of the joysticks. This makes it a lot easier to feel the eight different directions and makes playing fighting games a lot easier. If you wan’t to test your own joysticks for this issue, I recommend connecting them to a Windows PC, open the control panel and navigating to “Devices and Printers”. From here you should be able to find your game controller and open the calibration properties. Now try to move your joystick in a circular motion and watch the cross in the “Axes” pane travel along the border of the square. If you have a good joystick it shouldn’t be a problem, but in my case I had a hard time to hit all edges.

Windows Gamepad

Future plans

If I’m going to build another arcade in the future I’m probably going to add a coin acceptor to it similar to my Windows-based arcade. I’m also looking into switching to RetroFE in order to improve boot times, increasing the rom collection and adding video-support. If you have other ideas or suggestions, please let me know by using the comment field below!


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Isaiah Gillenwater

Love the build! I’m building my own project with a raspberry pi 3 and I also noticed the performance improvement by not plugging usb speakers into the pi.
Are you still powering the buttons through the pi?

Also something I might suggest for easier access to the other usb ports if you want to plug in a usb controller externally:

Again, love the build, particularly the tweaked software.

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