Raspberry Pi Coffee Table Arcade

Raspberry Pi powered MAME machine in an IKEA coffee table.

I probably wouldn’t recommend trying to build this unless you have a bit of experience with electronics. This is only a basic run through of how I went about building my Raspberry Pi arcade and hopefully that is enough to give you the ideas and/or inspiration for you to make your own 🙂

NOTE: I found this works best with the older generation games like space invaders, pac-man and frogger ect.

More modern (if I can call the early 90’s modern) arcade games such as Mortal Kombat and NBA Jam seem a bit much for the pi to run in my experience, I’m not saying they won’t work, I’m just saying I wasn’t able to get them to work, but with newer versions of the Pi and emulators you may have more luck.

I have about 20 “classic generation” games loaded on mine all working great.Raspberry Pi Coffee Table Arcade

Step 1: Materials and Tools


Coffee table – One with a glass top looks best IMO

LCD monitor – The older squarer screens are better due to the aspect ratio. I picked up one second hand for $10. Also a HDMI or DVI port will make connecting to it a lot easier.

Raspberry Pi – I used a B+ but any model could work.

Micro USB Power Supply, SD Card, HDMI/DVI lead

A USB Keyboard – One you don’t mind destroying

Arcade Joysticks and Buttons – You can find them on online easily enough.

Computer Speakers

Coin Mechanism (optional)

Decal (optional)




18mm spade bit or hole saw

Soldering Iron

Step 2: Install PiPLAY Emulator

Set up your Pi with PiPLAY and get a few games working on it. PiPLAY is MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) software made for the Raspberry Pi. It is easy to set up by downloading a ready made image file and even includes a FTP server for managing your ROMs. I’m not going to go through how to do the install, setup and run PiPLAY because all the information is readily available from PiPLAY. The link to their site is http://piplay.org/Raspberry Pi Coffee Table Arcade schematic

Step 3: Start Building

Once you have your Pi set up with PiPLAY and have tried a few games. It’s time to start building.

Use a router to carve out a nest for your monitor.

Add some metal strapping to hold it in place.

Use a spade bit or hole saw for the mounting holes for the arcade joysticks and buttons.

Use a jigsaw for cutting a mounting hole for the coin mechanism.


For more detail: Raspberry Pi Coffee Table Arcade

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