Final Report pt 1: Arcade


This project started with memories of arcade games, the lights, the music, and the joy that has come from experiencing a classic arcade. The idea was to capture these memories in a desktop sized piece. This pointed to the plan to create a scaled down arcade machine, that somehow encapsulated the aesthetic of an arcade.


This sketch is what started the process. The goal was to look like an arcade machine and have designs on the outside of it that called back to some of my favorite arcade games, such as Pac-Man and Galaga. Given the size, and the style of the design, laser cutting pieces that fit together made the most sense for the manufacturing. This allowed them to fit together, real arcade games have a similar look to an acrylic construction, and it leaves a hollow interior to fit any required components.


This is the design that was created in Solidworks, fully assembled, as well as the individual panels. The panel layout is what was given to the laser cutter to create these pieces. With the pieces cut they needed to be decorated like an arcade machine.



These are the final decorated panels, accomplished with simple paint pens, having Pac-Man and Dig Dug on one panel [5]. On the opposite side there is Galaga and Q*bert, [6]. The front is meant to represent a generic arcade front, with a the price, a place to accept the money, a return button, and the controls used to play, [7]. With the button activating the internal electronics. The top panel is usually where the name of the game is found, since this is meant to represent general arcade games and not a specific one, it reads ARCADE. The final back panel is my own personal design, which is my way of signing my own work, adapted to the bright arcade aesthetic [8].

Having just a fancy looking box that resembles an arcade wasn’t enough, I wanted to have some other component the rounded out the arcade feel. While I do not have the ability to make a functional arcade game, I have had some experience with arduino and wanted to integrate it to the internals of the machine. The way that I came up with to accomplish this was to have it play one of the theme songs of the games represented, and have a little light show associated with it.


Using a series of LEDs and the included buzzer with an arduino in something similar to the circuit seen in [10] this was accomplished. The process started with a print out of the sheet music for the Galaga theme, [9]. This was translated to arduino code, with the frequency values of the notes that were required and the built in tone function. The lights were then wired up with red, white, and yellow lights, in a pattern to resemble a ship exploding, as you would see in Galaga. This was then all controlled with the button that is seen on the front of the machine, press the button, the music plays, and the light sequence goes.

The overall budget of this project was much less than expected. The acrylic was really the only cost at about $20. Going into this I was expecting to have to purchase my own arduino to utilize, however my roommate Ryan had one and was willing to let me borrow it for the duration of the project, greatly decreasing the cost.

[1] –

[2]-[10] taken by me

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13 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Max,
    Your arcade project is so cool it shows you have put lots of effort in it. The overall deisgn process is very professional. I hope you have included a video of how the actual music and light sequence works. One thing I think you could think about is to print the graphics on decals and then apply them to the arcade surfaces because they provide more details than hand paitning just my 2 cents. Can’t wait to see the project during Final Show on Monday!

  • Danielle Glanville
    Danielle Glanville
    April 29, 2019 1:40 pm

    I like that the art was done by hand rather than printed. It makes it really personal and goes hand-in-hand with your aesthetic. It’s also really cool you got the song to play because that completes the arcade experience.

  • Awesome! This turned out really well. I wonder if you could get a screen for the Arduino and install it in the screen section of the arcade. You could probably find a lot of games to download from people who make Arduino projects, that way you wouldn’t have to spend forever programing games for it. And then you could actually play games on this cool arcade!

  • William Benson
    William Benson
    April 24, 2019 1:19 pm

    It is really impressive how you found the frequency of each note then were able to program that to the Arduino. The detail of the paint is very detailed. Nicely done!

  • Yousef Alqattan
    Yousef Alqattan
    April 24, 2019 1:19 pm

    The fact that you took the time to find the frequencies of all the notes in the Galaga song is amazing. Great choice making the arcade box in solid works. Overall great project, but I would tweak the song to remove the extra note in there.

  • Andrew Lapham
    Andrew Lapham
    April 24, 2019 1:19 pm

    Very unique project and I like the soundtrack. It would be interesting to see the schematics of the inner circuit. Great Job!

  • Eleanor Pearson
    Eleanor Pearson
    April 24, 2019 1:19 pm

    The final product is super cool and I love that it is functional. The process of getting the Arduino to play the theme song is super interesting! I think it’s so cool that you had the sheet music and transferred it to the frequencies.

  • Conrad Trybus
    Conrad Trybus
    April 24, 2019 1:19 pm

    I like the art that you’ve decorated the sides with. Nice, vibrant colors. If I would change anything about it I would probably just amp up the lights, but overall it is quite impressive.

  • You put a lot of thought and work into this game. Are you planning on adding more theme songs and possibly expanding the mini arcade to include a game in the future?

  • Very impressed with the scope and turnout of this project! Didn’t expect you to add any circuitry or internals to this machine so that just adds an extra level of excitement overall. Also love the decor on the outside. Really gives the sense of the correct aesthetic that you were going for.

  • Hussam Alzahrani
    Hussam Alzahrani
    April 24, 2019 1:17 pm

    You really exceeded expectations with this project. I really liked seeing you write out the notes for the theme song. How was the painting process like? did you have a template or did you just freely draw what you felt like?

  • Nicholas Degenhart
    Nicholas Degenhart
    April 24, 2019 1:17 pm

    It’s really cool that you were able to produce an actual song using the Arduino. Now that you have the experience under your belt have you thought of writing code for other songs?

  • Jared Campbell
    Jared Campbell
    April 24, 2019 1:17 pm

    It would be nice if the artwork was a little more even, but it does give it a personal touch. It would be cool if the activation of the sounds was incorporated in the fake quarter slots, is there anyway to make the music louder?


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