Text by John Lampard
There’s little doubt games machines are a test of anyone’s determination. Who hasn’t gamed away the hours in the hope of reaching the next level, attaining some sort of special power or status, or just maybe, winning the game?
For Jeremy Bogan, of Sydney hosting and development company Segment Publishing, games machines presented a slightly different challenge. Unable to find the machine he was looking for, he decided to do the next best thing; build one himself.
“It all started back in November 2003, my fiancé and I were at an auction house nearby where we live and they had a cocktail style PacMan machine. It wasn’t in great condition but I thought it would be a great idea to put a bid on it and restore it,” says Jeremy.
“In the end I decided not to, as it would probably cost too much to get it up to scratch. The fake wood panel was peeling off and the joysticks needed replacing. As we were leaving the auction house she asked why I don’t build one myself. Being someone who loves a good challenge it all started from here.”
Drawing on inspiration that ranged from a fascination with industrial design, to the work of Jonathan Ives, Jeremy spent the next 12 months planning and designing his ideal games machine. During this time he considered various ideas, including one whereby the arcade game would be concealed in a coffee table, cocktail style.
“I looked at what was around but I didn’t like the idea of some of the monster machines out there with four players and all sorts of other things,” he says.
“I did a lot of measuring to determine the perfect height for someone to play at the machine whether they were standing or sitting. Scale and balance was important, as the machine would most probably be getting a thrashing it had to stand up to the challenge.”
With planning complete, Jeremy went into his father–in–law’s workshop and constructed the machine’s cabinet over a four week period, using materials that included pine and MDF. The next step was to find a suitable computer system. This involved some trial and error, but in the end Jeremy decided to go with what he knew best.
“I was playing around originally trying to get it working on PC hardware under Linux/BSD but it just wouldn’t work how I wanted it without a lot of effort. I then thought about the spare Macs I had lying around and thought I’d give it a go on my iMac,” he says.
“It ran exceptionally well, so I decided it was going to be the simplest to do it that way. The machine I have in the cabinet is probably way overkill – it’s a Dual 500Mhz G4 with 1.25GB RAM!”
As a result of this experience, Jeremy decided to establish MAMEintosh, a company that provides a way to both connect with fellow games enthusiasts, specifically Mac users, and also make the machines available to those who do not have the facilities to build their own.
MAMEintosh will manufacture kits that are shipped flat packed, ready to go, and can be assembled with just a Phillips head screwdriver.
“The cabinet will be supplied with pre-routed/finished edges, but the idea is you paint the whole thing yourself however you like. The kit will include everything you need including joysticks, buttons, wiring, coin mechanism and keyboard encoder,” says Jeremy.