Many years ago, I inherited an old piece of yellow plastic from a company at which I used to work. I had intended to turn it into a touch-screen kiosk for controlling, and reporting, on my home automation system. Alas, that never happened. So, instead, I turned it into a games console... which is much more productive!

For software I'm running Puppy Arcade. It was mostly a plug-n-play distro. I'm booting from USB, so there's a trick online (Google it!) to let it install itself (i.e. a live distro) back to the same memory stick for more a permanent install. This is necessary so that keyboard/joystick configurations don't get lost.

Originally I tried using DOS! Why? For the craic!

  • Use Rufus to install FreeDOS on USB stick
  • Find an old version of MAME, for DOS. Still do-able, but less easy.
  • Install a soundblaster device drive (from
  • See the error "xms services not detected" and get flashbacks to my 21 year old self!
  • Find an old emm386.sys
  • Install it, get it running, but see some issues and realize it's not worth it!

Cutting the holes was fairly straight forward. Mark the centre of the holes with sharpie, and use the electric drill and hole set.
The gaming hardware is a basic Mini ITX board with four USBs (all essential), and a sensible BIOS allowing it:
  • Boot from USB
  • Boot without a keyboard
  • Work with TV out, should I switch to a traditional CRT display
There is a keypad which, unfortunately, no longer works. The USB sockets handle the memory stick (for boot), the joystick and buttons (see image), and two USB extension cables. These are necessary, as there's one for the keyboard, and another for a supplementary USB memory stick which is used to transfer new games into the device, without opening it up.
The buttons come in two sizes. 2 small, and 8 large. I hadn't realized, and drilled all the holes the same size. Stupid me! Connecting the joystick (and buttons) to the ITX is simple, since there's a circuit board which converts their signals to USB. (And Puppy Arcade has a nice joystick configuration tool to map each button to a key.)
The display is just an LCD screen, screen onto a wooden base, and screwed to the main unit.
The ITX is in the base, as is the audio amplifier. The stem carries the cables between display and speakers, to the units in the base. So, just put it all together, and voila!.