Hide a huge arcade machine in plain sight with Raspberry Pi

Problem: I really want an arcade machine at home, but I don’t have the space for it.

Solution: Build Alexandre Chappel’s giant two-player machine, which is sleek and hidden in plain sight on your wall.

Subscribe to Alexandre’s YouTube channel

Alexandre’s goal was to build something that looks like an ordinary piece of furniture, and that you’d have no idea is an arcade machine until you flip it open. It’s a fully functional two-player device and it requires no coding skills to set up.

Big build

It’s a big piece of furniture, so you’ll need a big space and a good table saw to get all the wood cut. Alexandre made the whole thing out of just one piece of oak plywood. He’s a woodwork perfectionist, and didn’t want any visible screws on the finished product, so he had to get fancy with biscuit joints. He also ironed on edge banding, to give an extra-smooth finish to the rough cuts of plywood.

Maker cutting large piece of wood for the project
Master carpenter in his giant workshop

Hardware

The electronics for the build arrived by way of a complete kit containing everything needed to make the joysticks and buttons. The kit came with a little circuit board which all the buttons and joysticks plug into, and the output is a simple USB which connects to the Raspberry Pi brain of the system.

Back end of the arcade structure with raspberry pi and speakers and wires for buttons
Raspberry Pi and wiring for buttons and joystick all tucked away in the back of the wooden frame

Parts list

(These are all links to the actual products used in this project)

Software

Alexandre had never used a Raspberry Pi before, but still found the electronics the easiest part of this build.

finished hidden arcade mounted on wall
Retro gaming easily accessible in your home

This tutorial video made it easy to load up RetroPie software on the Raspberry Pi’s SD card and get some games onto a USB stick. And this video showed him how to run games from a USB device.

Sleek design

Everything is so neatly tucked away in this design. A slot for the USB cable and a Raspberry Pi reset switch are built into the wooden frame, so absolutely none of the electronics are on show.

Alexandre’s beautiful online shop allows you to buy full woodworking plans to recreate his projects. You can buy the design files for this project for $15.

10 comments

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That is an interesting build and concept! I’ve been thinking about building an arcade machine, but haven’t gotten around to doing it. I’ve got the hardware, just need to make one. I’m thinking about a functional piece of furniture, though. Maybe a table with a folding section, or I may just build it into a wall of shelving. There’s definitely some places I could use more shelving.

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Alex’s build is great.
As usual he thought it all off long time before starting an actual build and executed perfectly.
If I remember well, unlike his other builds he didn’t used any of 3D printed parts.

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I use others successful projects and still it’s exciting to see skillful diy people sharing the process, from pencil and paper to an actual functional and great looking, 1 of a kind device to enjoy for years to come even if I must live vicariously through others because I’m a lumber piles worst nightmare because I cant cut a straight line even if I use gadgets, lasers, or the top of the line power tools…. Thank You for sharing…You Rock!

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I find it interesting that the gaming buttons seem connected through a USB adapter rather than to the GPIO. Is there a reason for not using the GPIO for this? I thought connecting buttons and lights is what the GPIO was good at.

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This is brilliant, the wooden box make it extra beautiful. I would love to play in this arcade machine

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Looking great, mabey a nice project for me and my son in our new home

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This is nice Wooden game system frame, I just want same as for my PC.

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The wooden design is so cool and nostalgic, how can i have one?

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I have a Ms Pac-Man plug and play (MSI) and I was wondering if a raspberry pi would work to add more games onto it, and if it does, what pi to get.

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Clean setup. The wooden enclosure makes it really beautiful and everything is organized well.

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