I’m Making an Arcade Game #1: Overview & Index

I’m building a DIY version of one of the greatest arcade games I’ve ever played. It’s equal parts old-school and awesome—made only of switches, motors, lights, wood & glass.

Why Am I Building An Arcade Game?

We were celebrating my girlfriend Jenna’s birthday at Fremont’s Add-A-Ball bar-cade when we came across an old electro-mechanical game called Zeke’s Peak. The game was captivating in its simplicity—I knew I had to steal the idea and remake it in a new and slightly more maker-esque way.

Zekes-Peak-Header

The premise: Get a ball bearing into the right holes; avoid the wrong holes.

Using left and right joysticks to control two independent motors, you manipulate the position of the horizontal rail to control the path of the ball.

I was pretty sure the game was simple enough to be built with an Arduino Mega, and it would be utterly badass to make a slightly smaller version for living room or workplace enjoyment.

How I Plan To Document This Project

Rather than waiting for everything to be perfect, I’m writing these DIY Arcade posts in real-time as I develop the project. This means they’re all works-in-progress and will evolve thru (3) phases:

Phase 1: General Outline


This is where every project starts, as rough outlines of where I expect things will go. These posts are also where I’ll start dumping information as I prepare to start building my prototypes.

Phase 2: Progress Log


Once the idea is in motion and work is being done, I’ll update posts to track my efforts & build a current(-ish) progress log. These posts may appear incomplete and may be revised often.

Phase 3: Final Post


Once the ideas have been fully explored, I’ll cull the nonsense, consolidate formats, and collate all of the useful details, files, templates and budgets into something useful.

High-Level Project Goals

At least seven things are needed to make this dream happen:

1. Define objectives & collect information, something I’ve already started below.
2. Design circuitry & physical systems.
3. Add awesome bits: Maybe split-flap score reels, or an attractive/flashy top-piece/beacon?
4. Figure out the programming: mostly relays, switches, and steppers. Probably A-OK?
5. Design the cabinet for CNC: Hopefully prototyped on my X-Carve and cut professionally!
6. Design the graphics: maybe with a little help from r/graphicdesign or r/cade for something epic?
7. Actually build the thing.

463. Figure out a way to capitalize on its awesomeness. Anybody got friends over at Colossal?!

Game History & Research

As it turns out, these old games are INCREDIBLY well documented, and a speedy bit of Google searching turned up all sorts of goodies, including:

Complete Project Index

Part 1
Project Introduction (This page)
Part 2
Story & Design Inspiration
Part 3
Power Systems
Part 4
Arduino Layout
Part 5
Controls & Inputs
Part 6
Scoring Mechanisms
Part 7
Arduino Program & Sequences
Part 8
Cabinet & Art Templates
Part 9
Costs, Conclusions, Odds & Ends

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