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Gaming Hacks by Simon Carless

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Configure Your Arcade Controls, Connectors, and Cartridges

All you need to know about hardware and software arcade controls.

Now that you know about the basic hardware setup and system choice for arcade cabinets ( [Hack #58] ), and you have an arcade machine within your sweaty grasp, you probably want to configure it for games. Configuration options include monitor orientation, control panel and connector setup, and even the actual games themselves. The following sections describe how to do it.

Arcade Control Panel Variations

Unfortunately, arcade life isn’t as easy as buying a JAMMA cabinet, finding any JAMMA game, and just playing it. To play some of the best JAMMA games, including more recent Capcom fighting titles and several of SNK’s great Neo Geo carts, you need to deal with specific hardware variations, sometimes referred to as JAMMA+.

As usual, you plug your JAMMA board into your cabinet. Control-specific signals travel through the connector and up into the control panel. There are also other standard signals such as video, sound, and coin insertion. Unfortunately, each of these major JAMMA types has different control needs for dealing with extra buttons.

Basic, default three-button JAMMA

The standard JAMMA connector configuration provides the obvious audio and video throughputs, a joystick and three buttons for each of the two players, and a Start button. All JAMMA boards, even those with JAMMA+ functionality, should work with this configuration; you’ll just be missing extra ...

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