Modder brings portable arcade cabinet dreams to life

A single modder has constructed a series of portable, full-sized arcade cabinets using customized laptops powered by Raspberry Pi 4.

Kian Ryan, a skilled modder and enthusiast of Raspberry Pi, has designed a series of personalized arcade cabinets that not only allow for nostalgic gaming but also offer convenient portability.

The custom-built laptops powering the portable arcade cabinets consist of a combination of Cooler Master GA241 gaming monitors connected to Raspberry Pi 4’s. These Raspberry Pi’s run RetroArch, an open-source emulator.

To complete the arcade cabinet design, Ryan utilized customized Sanwa JLF arcade sticks with Link EX Groove Quick Release and a total of 10 buttons. The electronic components were then securely housed inside hand-crafted folding cases.

Image of the custom arcade cabinet built by Kian Ryan of Leigh Hackspace.
Kian Ryan/Leigh Hackspace

A full-size image of the custom arcade cabinet built by Kian Ryan of Leigh Hackspace.

Ryan designed the main cabinet of the project using Fusion360. The cabinet was then constructed by cutting pieces from MDF sheets and later painted to achieve a more authentic appearance. According to a report by Tom’s Hardware, the hand-made Pi-powered laptops are easily removable from the MDF-based arcade cabinet, making the end result highly portable and perfect for conventions.

Kian Ryan’s custom-built cabinets offer a convenient solution for transporting arcade machines to events and conventions. Unlike traditional full-sized machines, these cabinets can be easily disassembled and flat-packed, allowing for easy transport.

Despite already being impressive, the portable arcade cabinets received some minor upgrades following their initial big event. Ryan incorporated a trackball and an additional set of buttons to allow for 2-player gameplay.

For those interested in getting a better view of these cabinets that evoke feelings of nostalgia, they will be showcased at the International Discworld Convention 2024.

In addition to the event, a spare ticket will also be required for Birmingham in the UK, where the classic Discworld point-and-click adventure games will be on display.

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