Last week was the SAS Forum Belux. This year the aim was to get some visibility by entertaining the visitors with a small funny arcade game. My part of the challenge was the hardware side of the story... from the arcade cabinet to the electronics inside.

The main topic of the SAS Forum is the SAS software of course. As such every SAS partner in Belux is trying to get some visibility… This can be challenging as SAS has quite a few partners around here. For the last few years I’ve been working in partnership with SBI Consulting, this year is no exception.

So our common challenge was to find a way to be visible and if possible entertain people a little bit. We decided to build a small arcade cabinet (vintage style) and write a simple game that our visitors would play. Each time a game was played we could gather some statistics based on information provided by the player and on information generated by the game itself (like the score). The presentation of those stats was done using SAS Visual Analytics.

As I said at the beginning, my part of the challenge was the hardware. That meant creating a small desktop size arcade cabinet, making it look nice and funny and fill it with some computing power to run the simple game that the other guys in the team would develop.

After some research on the web, I settled for something inspired by Picade. But hey I really wanted to build it myself.

So the plan got clearer… build a small cabinet in MDF, put a Raspberry PI 3 inside, add a nice little screen, buttons, light, sound, …

So I made a few drawings and built a simple MDF cabinet with panel cut on the X-Carve. This worked out to be easy once I had my ideas in place. Once the cabinet was built, it was painting time. After discussions with a few people (and advice from the kids), I decided to go with a black/white/colored stars look.

After the paint had dryed, the electronics could fit in, so I added a nice 10in screen from Adafruit, a joystick and a few arcade buttons. The joystick and buttons were all wired to a Picade PCB to ease things a little bit. Finally everything got linked together on the Raspberry Pi 3.

Well, told like this it sounds like it was an easy challenge, but it took quite a lot of time and patience. But hey, the reward was up to the challenge, as we really had a blast at the SAS Forum with a lot of players throughout the day.

I have added some more pictures of the different steps in a dedicated page here

In the mean time here is the final result Arcade