PactoTech's Impressive Arcade Cabinet Has No Fewer Than Six Arduino Boards Inside

Designed for emulating a range of arcade and console games — and playing PC games natively — this hefty build impresses.

Gareth Halfacree
2 years agoGaming

Pseudonymous maker "PactoTech" has shown off an impressive four-player arcade cabinet build that uses not one but a total of six Arduino boards for handling various features.

Designed for emulating a range of classic arcade and console games, PactoTech's build Super Smash Bros. Ultimate-themed arcade cabinet features four player control via arcade sticks and illuminated colour-coded buttons, a single trackball, and more traditional gamepad controllers — plus a wireless keyboard and mouse, handily accessible on a storage shelf above the main controls and below the screen.

Inside the base is an off-the-shelf Windows 10 PC based on an Intel Core i5-11400 processor, NVIDIA GTX 1060, 16GB of RAM, and two solid-state storage drives, running the LaunchBox emulator front-end.

It's not the PC that's of the most interest, though — but how PactoTech has interfaced various features with the machine, using a total of six Arduino boards.

"[One board] for each arcade controller (emulating Xbox 360 with [the] xinput library)," PactoTech explains of the total number of microcontroller boards, "one which powers up the players in order so that Windows gets order right, [and] also can turn on and off Xbox controller receiver for games that need gamepad."

"[That] one also reads buttons from [the] panel for volume, exiting games etc. ([It] Emulate[s a] keyboard). One for RGB control of the trackball. The Arduinos I am using as encoders are setup to put out left stick analog xinput. It works OK. This seems to work best for most applications so far. I could program it to switch to D-pad, but I haven't found [a] need yet.

"I have some modern PC games like [Mortal Kombat 11], Gang Beasts, Spice Rice and Dice (one of my new favs). [It also] emulates almost everything really well: Xbox 360, Yuzu [Nintendo Switch emulator]. [The] Intel 11400 is AWESOME for [the] price."

More details on the build are available in PactoTech's Reddit thread.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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