It all started as a dream when I found the Arcade@Home website and front-end. I discovered MAME in early 1998 and was thrilled just playing the old classics on my keyboard. Then when I saw Tim's site I figured it would be a long time before I could do this. One day I was looking at the examples on Arcade@Home and my soon to be wife saw it and thought it was really a cool idea. I wanted to build it but was finally convinced to gut a dead cabinet. Great! Now we can work on this together, I could do the construction and technical work and Mad could do the painting and design this really cool marquee you see at the top of this page as well as extensive testing and picture taking. We are still waiting to get pictures of the finished product. So after the wedding (September 25, 1999) we planned on going to the arcade Auction in early October. So one Saturday morning in October, my wife (Mad), my brother and myself went to the arcade auction in Pennsauken, NJ.
We saw a few potential cabs we figured would be good for this project. Then we ended up bidding on and getting a Tempest cab that had been converted to Mat Mania for $30. The cab itself is in pretty good shape it has its original Tempest side art though there was a piece of the art chipped off and filled in with plaster and also some scratches in the vinyl. Then we had to pay $50 to get it home since we didn't have a truck.
When we got home it and plugged it in, the marquee and coin lights came on as did the monitor, but the game didn't start. It looked as if someone tried to restore it back to an original Tempest, some wires were cut and others missing between the main board and the monitor. Most of the original Tempest hardware seemed to be intact in the cab. I had no intensions of using the monitor plus the Mat Mania images were burned in pretty badly. Now it was time to start to take it apart.
First I removed the marquee and went down from there. I got the monitor discharged and removed. I took out the power supplies and main board as well as the coin doors. Then I dismantled the control panel. The Mat Mania controls and vinyl overlay were intact over the original Tempest decals and holes from the buttons. My original plan was to make a wooden control panel, but that would have required me to modify the shape of the cabinet. So I started to try to figure out how to use the existing control panel. My next project was to duplicate the tray that holds the marquee backlight and speakers. I just made an exact duplicate out of particle board as the original. I did this to put in a light I could plug in to a power strip and speaker I could easily plug into a sound card. I know I could have used these but I happened to have some speakers and I bought a cheap fluorescent fixture at Home Depot.