ArcadeSD Quick Links
Arcadeshop Multi-PCB Quick Links
ArcadeSD is a JAMMA board that faithfully emulates dozens of classic 80's video games. All of the great ones are present including a few home brew games like Donkey Kong II and Donkey Kong Foundry. If you ever wanted to own several or more video games from your childhood but didn't have the room all of them then this is perfect for you. Might as well jump!
What makes the ArcadeSD nice is that its a small all in one board (only 3.5" x 4.5") that is a general purpose personal (single user) computer. It can do all sorts of things in theory - it has a nice quick JAMMA test suite built in, an original MP3 Jukebox game, emulation capabilities, etc. ArcadeSD platform is nearly identical to Arcadeshops Multi-PCB but with enhancements. Both were designed by Clay Cowgill and party. Over time the Multi-PCB was reversed engineered and pirated so support for that board was understandingly dropped by Arcadeshop. Clay is a game enthusiast and collector and is dedicated to making games play as authentically as possible.
The SD in the name stands for San Disk and can support up to 2 Gigabytes of storage for game ROMs and MP3 music. That is a lot of storage considering that all the ROMs currently available are about 7.2 Megabytes uncompressed. There is also a simple MP3 Jukebox feature that will even play music.
The ArcadeSD game interface is attractive and intuitive than other emulation boards use. It can be set to a game marquee and screen shot or game marquee and animated icon. The board also has a lot of nifty features that allow you to easily customize the front end and games. There's support for different hardware configurations for controls and displays. You can specify free play for home use or Arcade if being commercially operated.
The ArcadeSD application allows you to make updates the board, SD card and configuration. Once updated with game ROMs the marquees and animated icons are automatically updated for you - another nice feature. The board is programmed by removing the SD card and using a card reader and your PC. There are free updates for the firmware to correct bugs and new games. The app and ROM's are available from a few locations to download but the "go to" place is ArcadeSD - ROMs, Application & Support. It's up to date and most importantly, the ROMs all the correct versions that work with the ArcadeSD.
You can buy a complete cabinet or build a MAME arcade cabinet on your own. Sites such as Build Your Own Controls have a plethora of helpful information. If you are going the route of building your own cabinet, you'll have to decide how to lay out the control panel and the orientation of the display. Depending on the display orientation will also limit which games you will be able to play. Clay has managed to tweak a few games play on both. A final consideration will be cabinet artwork for your cabinet.
I've rehabbed a Burgertime and Midway style cabinets in the past using Arcadeshops Multi-PCB. I didn't want to bother tracking down a suitable donor cab to fix up this time around. I opted for a pre-built cabinet from Arcadeshop with vertical mounted LCD. The cabinet comes ready to accept an ArcadeSD or JAMMA board. The control panel came with 4-way joystick, three buttons and trackball which plays a majority of games. A lot of games that make use of 8-way and 49-way joysticks that are unplayable with a 4-way joystick. I ended up installing a Happ 49-way joystick which I really like and worth the investment. The 49-Way Joystick is automatically translated to 4-Way, 8-Way, and Diagonal for games.
The cabinet artwork for my Multicade is from Arcadeshop however there are other really nice art packages available. Darrin at Phoenix Arcade has a Multicade "Arcade Classics" line of artwork that is incredible. They are printed with 6 color (4 V-Glo) ink that are black light reactive to make the artwork pop. Another notable art set is the "Time Out Tunnel" available at This Old Game. This is a dedication to the popular arcade room chain - Time-Out Family Amusement Center and done to their style. All are awesome which makes deciding on just one difficult.