Saturday, June 8, 2013

MAME Guitars

I have not posted in awhile, and it has mainly been because life has gotten in the way of my arcade hobby.  I have found time to work on a few additions to the arcade though.

Guitar Freaks

  Guitar Freaks is an arcade game that was released only in Japan, and was the basis of the Guitar Hero and subsequently Rock Band, Band Hero, etc. line of games.  The novelty of playing a guitar controller has already gone through its 15 minutes of fame, and now not many people care for the rhythm based rock star role-playing genre anymore.  It is still fun to pick up and "belt out" a few tunes, especially if they are the crazy J-Pop ones I have on Guitar Freaks and Guitar Freaks 2.  Since the Guitar Freaks arcades never saw their way to western shores, they never went through the "Americanization" process of changing out all the J-Pop songs with American rock songs.  I for one, like this, as I think the games have a fresh appeal to them, in the sense that I am not playing through the classic hits of the 70's, 80's and 90's like so many radio stations seem to put on repeat in this day in age.

How to Play
  Guitar Freaks controls just like all the other guitar based games, although there are only 3 buttons to press instead of the US standard of 5.

Now, this can be done with the buttons I have on the control panel of my Arcade, but that would not be fitting for such a game.

Making the Controllers
I went down to Goodwill and found some PS2 Guitar Hero guitars ($3 each) and also bought a PS2 to USB converter for the MAME computer.

This converter can take in 2 PS2 plugs, so it is perfect for the 2 guitars I have.

A simple hook up and I am ready to play.  The MAME computer recognized the guitars as controller. After that it was a simple configuration in MAME for each Guitar Freaks game, and I was good to go, but there was a problem.

Guitar Freaks game color layout for buttons 1,2, and 3, are red, green, and blue respectively.

The Guitar Hero controller layout is green, red, yellow. blue, and orange.  This presents a problem if you are picking up the controller for the first time, and do not know the difference in layout.  To fix this I took apart each guitar and moved the buttons so they correlated correctly.

After that I just reassembled the red guitar, but my "problem" didn't stop there.

 I want a universal feel to my arcade, and one of the main things I want to keep consistent is color. Right now, 1 player is blue, 2 player is red, 3 player is green, and 4 player is yellow.

 I kept this up with the arcade guns I bought with blue and red being 1 player and 2 player respectively.

To keep this up I disassembled the other guitar controller.

Took the red portions, and spray painted them blue with a plastic coating spray paint.  I used Rust-Oleum Gloss Protective Enamel spray paint.  It has held up with the plastic so far.

With the controllers ready to go, I needed a way to hold them, and what better way than...

Guitar Hangers!

These were a cheap eBay find, about $6 total, and they were a simple assembly onto the side of the Arcade.

Well, now the Arcade has guitars to play any Guitar Freaks games I need to.  Next, I think I want to add a steering wheel :)  Until next time, thanks for tuning in!