Design Review: Desktop Arcade

For the final project, I will be trying to capture the aesthetic of an arcade in a single desktop sized arcade machine. The purpose of this is to try to contain the aesthetic in a single desktop ornament, and not create a miniature functional game.

This project will contain an outer shell, as well as inner electrical components that provide lights and sound that would fit into an arcade. The plan is to have the shell made out of laser cut acrylic and then add details onto the outside with paint, using the bright colors that can be found on old arcade machines.


Above is a rough sketch of the proposed design, with an overall size of just a couple inches. The current construction plan is to laser cut out panels and assemble them into the final form that is seem, leaving the inside hollow for the necessary components and wiring. The acrylic will be some opaque color, but the panel that is acting as the screen, will be more translucent so the lights may be seen. A rough layout of the paneling can be seen below, this is just a general idea and will be updated as the design comes together.


Inside this case will be an arduino, with a piezo buzzer that will create the sound, having more of an 8-bitish quality to it than a higher end buzzer would. The plan for what sounds will be made is the theme song of some popular arcade game, the top contenders are currently Pac-Man or Galaga. These songs will play at the push of a button, and start a light show with it.


The arduino will be set up similar to this circuit, just with more lights, this being a test circuit. There will likely be 9 lights that are set up in a grid and have different patterns of turning off and on, mimicking the flashing lights of the old arcade machines.

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8 Comments. Leave new

  • Conrad Trybus
    March 18, 2019 1:45 pm

    This is an awesome idea. I have seen similar sorts of things in catalogs and stuff, but they always have inane price tags attached, so d.i.y. is the way to go!

  • Very cool idea! My family actually owns a few old arcade games and pinball machines and I always used to love those as a kid. It would be awesome to see one of these actually be built out and playable.

  • Jared Campbell
    March 15, 2019 1:32 pm

    Stickers could also be utilized to achieve your aesthetic. I would recommend using as clear of a panel as possible to let the lights really shine through.

  • Ellie Pearson
    March 15, 2019 1:24 pm

    I like this idea and the aesthetic is cool as well! I think that it would be cool to laser cut the acrylic so that it can be slotted together.

  • Hussam Alzahrani
    March 15, 2019 1:20 pm

    This is such a great idea! It would look very great on a desk. Good job on using arduino to make it dynamic. My only comment is be careful when painting.

  • Nicholas Degenhart
    March 15, 2019 1:19 pm

    This is a really unique idea. Have you given any thought t what the lights will look like? I think you could really make some unique lighting features using the Arduino.

  • The see through concept of the game is awesome! Since the size of the game is a small chihuahua are you going to trace your designs or try to create your own?

  • Unless you are already a skilled painter, I recommend you make a collage of images you can print in color to put on the outside. Painting is harder than you might expect!


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