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.
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
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
Did I Mention I Have A Mailing List?
About every every three months, only four times a year, I send out a brief email with only the best updates from this site. It's a great way to follow projects without clogging your inbox, and it'll always be effortless to unsubscribe!