Build a Classic Video Game Console from MAKE Volume 28

Fun & Games
Build a Classic Video Game Console from MAKE Volume 28

MAKE Volume 28 MAME Console shot by Cody Pickens

We’re super excited about our new issue, MAKE Volume 28, which just hit newsstands last week. The issue theme is Toys and Games, and naturally, our entire focus was on fun, from the playful 8-bit graphics style of the cover design by eBoy to the 176 pages of projects and profiles that give you permission to play. One of my favorite projects in this issue is by our own John Baichtal in collaboration with Adam Wolf: the Coffee Table MAME Console.

From the intro:

In 1997, Italian software developer Nicola Salmoria released the first iteration of MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator), a free software platform that lets standard PCs play classic arcade video games. Since then, other emulators (sometimes incorrectly called MAMEs) have come out for old game consoles like Super NES, ColecoVision, PlayStation, and others. For each of these emulators, countless game programs, or game ROMs, are widely available.

This means anyone with a computer can play a plethora of classic old video games, which is great. But the hard(ware) reality is, these timeless challenges, which fuse bare-essential graphics with great 8-bit soundtracks, just aren’t as fun with delicate controls like keyboards, mice, or trackpads. Arcade games were designed for button-pounding, joystick-jamming physical action.

So true! Baichtal and Wolf show you how to make your own stripped down version of an arcade machine, where you use your TV as the monitor and the console connects to your computer via Bluetooth. The enclosure is made of black-painted plywood base, clear acrylic top sheet, giant buttons and joysticks, and red and blue LEDs that flash and dance while you play. We’ve shared the how-to in its entirety with you on Make: Projects so you can get your build on right away, but be sure to pick up the full Volume 28 for a good time guaranteed.

MAKE Volume 28 Mame Console

From the Pages of MAKE

MAKE 28MAKE Volume 28: Toys and Games!
MAKE Volume 28 hits makers’ passion for play head-on with a 28-page special section devoted to Toys and Games, including a toy “pop-pop” steamboat made from a mint tin, an R/C helicopter eye-in-the-sky, and a classic video game console. You’ll also build a gravity-powered catapult, a plush toy that interacts with objects around it, and a machine that blows giant soap bubbles. Play time is a hallmark of more intelligent species — so go have some fun!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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