Doc's Modular MAME

"One MAME to Play Them All"
Brew Beer at Home - A favorite hobby that goes very well with old video games!


A fully modular control panel in a compact MAME cabinet built from scratch in about three weeks. Originally it had a fixed layout two player control panel, but was converted a little over a month later to a  panel. Galaga has always been one of my favorite games - so it seemed an obvious choice for artwork. 

Doc's Modular MAME

How to Build a Cabinet
What's a Modular Control Panel
How the Panels are Mounted
All of the Controls
How the System is Wired Up
Featured in Hall of Fame
Winner of a 2006 Mamey, Controls Category


Fully modular MAME control panel - allows you to swap controls in seconds.


I recently made several modifications after my old 2GHz Athlon motherboard kicked the bucket after several years of continuous use.  I upgraded the core computer to a 2GHz Core 2 Duo Intel processor with a NVidia 8600 video card.  My ancient 21" monitor was swapped for a 22" Viewsonic monitor.  I also bought an external DVD ROM and installed it in the keyboard tray so you can change out PC game disks, or watch movies without having to go behind the cabinet.  I added a bluetooth adapter which works great with the Wii controllers and Wii guitar using Glovepie for playing classic games or guitar games like Frets on Fire.  Finally, the update allowed me to install a great set of recent PC games as well as newer emulators like Future Pinball.

The modular panel is perhaps the most unique feature - see some pictures below...

An array of weapons!

These are some of the modular panels created for the cabinet.

Top row: Driving panel and pedals, dual USB game controllers.

Second row: 2-Happs Competition, 2-Four Way and Two top-fire joysticks

Third row: 2 - Six Button Panels, 1-Four button panel, Imperial/Betson 3" Trackball

Fourth row: 8-way "Tron" style stick, Analog joystick, Oscar Spinner and Q-bert diagonal mounted stick.

Bottom row: Spacers of 8", 6", 4" and 2" size.

Not shown: New P360 joysticks, Defender button panel, 2 way vertical joystick and new Pole Position 360 steering wheel and pedals.

They can be assembled in any order to create the desired layout for a particular game.

Scroll down a bit for some examples.


Doc's Modular Control Panel

Dual four-way joysticks - one is a Wico leaf and one is a Ms Pacman/Galaga reunion.


Dual tank layout - each player has two joysticks.  The second top-fire joystick was added recently.


New Atari Pole Position Steering Wheel - a 360 degree steering wheel that is great for many classic games.

New P-360 Optical Joysticks! Simply the finest 8-way joysticks available on the market today.  They have a very short throw, optical sensors (no microswitch) and great 8-way action.


Tron-Style - Spinner on left, 8 way trigger joystick on the right.

Note - I sometimes use a 4 way joystick as an alternate (as shown to right above) for light-cycles to avoid zig-zagging.


Vindicators layout - Topfire on left and 3 button joystick on the right allows for rotation and firing.

Four player games anyone?  With JoyToKey you can map players 3 and 4 to these USB gamepads for four player action!


Dual Act-Labs Light Guns - slide into the oversize keyboard tray behind the keyboard when not in use.


Analog Joystick - Converted USB Saitek joystick panel for flying and motorcycle games.


Tank style layout - Dual top-fires for left and right handed play.

Two player fighter with spinner in middle. This duplicates the layout of my original non-modular control panel

Trackball Configuration with 3" Imperial Trackball


Driving Wheel Panel - this is good for 270 degree driving games, and the analog pedals can also be used on 360 games with my separate Pole Position driving wheel panel.

Look closely - the sticks are on the right and not the left.

I actually have a friend who prefers to play this way.  Amazingly he is right handed.


4 Way WICO Leaf Joystick in the middle for playing classic arcade games.

I also have a diagonally mounted 4-way joystick for Q-Bert and Congo Bongo style games.


Panels just snap into place under the bezel.

A tray I built into the back of the cabinet to hold extra parts while not in use.  The cabinet is on sliders and can be pulled out very easily to grab needed panels.


Empty Rails - you can insert panels in any order to build your preferred layout.  Panels plug into the RJ45 wall outlets and a 4 port USB hub.



Some Statistics

Fully modular control panel - any layout! Pull Out Keyboard tray
2 Act-Labs Light Guns - two player shooting action Two Perfect 360 Joystick panels
3" Imperial Trackball Oscar Spinner panel
Two button panels - six buttons each (7 with joysticks) Full set of control buttons
Shelf in back for extra modular panels Custom made "classic" size 24" wide cabinet
22" PC  Viewsonic monitor Core 2 Duo Processor
Stereo sound system with woofer, remote 4-way Wico Leaf joystick panel
Top fire joystick panel Cross mount 4 way "Q-bert" joystick
IPAC2 programmable USB controller Two RJ45 outlets for hot swapping controls
Remote power switch and master power Separate switch for sound, monitor, marquee
Custom "Galaga" style marquee, side panels Sidewinder steering wheel panel - with pedals
4 Port USB hub for analog panels Custom black player 1-2 buttons
Two pinball "flipper" buttons and a plunger button Gamepads for 4 player mode
Pole Position 360 Steering wheel Digital Driving Pedals
Special Defender/Stargate button panel Two-way joystick