I've always been an arcade junkie since I played my first game back in 1983. The game was
"Burnin' Rubber" and was in an upright cabinet. It was also the only game I remember being 10
cents per play. I spent a whole dollar in about half an hour and was in trouble when I
got home for spending all my pocket-money (oops!).
I remember playing most of the 20 cent (closest denomination to US quarters) classics, such
as 1941/1942, Arkanoid, Bubble Bobble (my all time favourite), Elevator Action, Gyruss & Galaga.
I missed out on the all-time greatests such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man and Donkey Kong as
the local shops weren't that big. I did get some of them on cartridge for the Atari 8-bit
computers a few years later though.
I stopped playing coin-ops in around mid-1990 as I got my first 'real' computer (an Atari 1040 STfm).
The next time I was around arcade machines, they'd shot up to $1 for 2 games, and all the old classics
had disappeard from sight. *sobs* The leading reasons were loss of popularity (fighting such as
Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat were all the rage) and hardware failure. Old cabinets were thrown out
int the trash, or had their PCBs thrown out to be replaced with newer games...
Thanks to the initial efforts of Nicola Salmoria and now countless others, these classic games will be
preserved for the foreseeable future. MAME is free, world-wide
software project that now emulates (the hardware) for over 3000 arcade games. The first version of
MAME I saw was 0.24, and I think it only supported a few hundred games (anyone have an exact figure?).
So the reason for the cabinet? To preserve a bit of computing history & to enjoy the nostalgia of
playing old arcade games in as close to their original environment as possible. Plus, you have to
admit, it'll make a rather impressive and unique coffee-table! :)