Over the years, I have used my XBox for gaming and media center needs. I recently sold many of my older gaming consoles because they were sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Despite the other systems meeting the end of their shelf life in my house, my XBox was still being used. However, it’s no longer my primary media center device. Even still, the XBox has much potential, so I decided to keep it for my next project: My Home Arcade Machine.
This project was 2 years in the making. I originally purchased an old beaten down solid black Tetris arcade cabinet about 2 years ago from a garage sale for $100. The cabinet sat in my garage for a year before I was even able to begin working on it. First, I gutted the cabinet, then refinished the wood and painted the whole thing black. I then put all the molding pieces back on (those that didn’t need to be replaced) and purchased the additional parts I needed: LCD, Control Deck, new T-molding, and additional wood/brackets to mount everything. All-in-all the project cost me roughly $450, with the majority of the money spent on the X-Arcade Dual Joystick and the adapter to connect the joystick to the XBox. You can pick up an original XBox on Ebay for about $40 and a 19″ LCD will run about $100 on EBay.
The XBox component was the easiest part of this whole process. Simply softmod the XBox, install XBMC4XBOX, and then install the emulators/games of your choosing. I found that running MAME games made after 1991 in an emulator on the XBox to be a bit problematic. For instance, the original Mortal Kombat echoed in the sound, Mortal Kombat 2 was very shaky, and NHL 2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge would run out of memory at the time of launch. After some searching, I did come across a forum post that suggested turning off the sound would allow you to run the game, which wasn’t what I was looking for. I spent countless hours playing these games in the arcade and they were the primary catalyst for me building my own MAME Arcade. So, instead of using an emulator, I decided to run the games natively on the XBox using a known Arcade-to-XBox gaming compilation, such as Midway Treasures 1 2 or 3, Namco Museum or 50th Anniversary Edition, Capcom Classics 1 or Volume 2, or Atari Anthology. You can find most of these titles on Ebay for $5 each.
Midway Treasures 2 has Mortal Kombat 2 and 3, which was an absolute necessity for me to keep going with the XBox. As for NHL 2 on 2 Open Ice Challenge, Midway never made a version of that game for the XBox. However, Midway did make a very similar series of games for the XBox called NHL Hitz (20-02, 20-03, and Pro). Instead of 2 on 2, the game play is 3 on 3, but has a very similar arcade feel to it. I’ve always described these games as the NBA Jam or NFL Blitz of Hockey (which by the way, both also made by Midway and ported to the XBox).
So, to review:
1.) Cheap cabinet found on Craigslist for $100 (or build your own)
2.) 19″ LCD on EBay for just under $100
3.) XBox on Ebay for $40 – Loaded with XBMC
4.) X-Arcade Dual Joystick and XBox Adapter = $160
5.) Sandpaper, Paint, Additional Supplies ~ $50
I would also recommend installing a new hard drive in the XBox (especially if you are running off the original hard drive) – Instructions here. You can find one for about $50. I pulled mine from an older machine that I wasn’t using anymore. Make sure you buy an IDE drive, not SATA.
Here’s a few images of my finished cabinet:
I now have my own personal Home Arcade Machine Powered by an Original XBox running XBMC.
The next thing I would like to figure out is how to get Golden Tee working on XBMC. Any help would be greatly appreciated!