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Author Topic: Recreating the Game and Watch Tabletop  (Read 659 times)

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meyer980

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Recreating the Game and Watch Tabletop
« on: January 19, 2019, 07:47:02 pm »
After finishing a previous small build, I had so much fun I decided to continue! I'm actually knee deep in two projects. (watch for a post on the other soon)

Wanting to learn more about 3d modeling, I took on a project to create something completely from scratch. Whoís familiar with the Nintendo Game and Watch Tabletop games? The most famous is definitely Donkey Kong Jr. by Coleco.



Nintendo made a bunch of others, though. Snoopy and Popeye are pretty neat. Theyíre all LCD games, but these tabletop games needed ambient light Ė otherwise you couldnít see anything! No backlight built in.

First thing I had to do was get one. I scoured ebay for a long time, these things can be expensive! Eventually a bought a pretty good one though for a very reasonable price. My model is Marioís Cement Factory.




I needed a real version so that I could 3d model it. I started by taking a profile shot, drawing that outline, and then extruding out the basic shape. Then, came hours and hours of shaping. I had never really used a professional 3d modeling program before (just Tinkercad) so it took a long time to learn. I also needed it to be easy to take apart and assemble, not one solid item. It will be a total of 5 pieces.






You can see in some shots how I built in a screen holder. Iím planning to use a 5″ lcd. It will also all hold together with small 3d printed pins.

Next Steps
First, I'll do some test prints to make sure my pieces all fit as planned. Then comes the game-playing bits.

Even though Iíve gone full-pc for a previous miniature build, this time Iíll probably go with a Raspberry Pi. I just want this to be MAME compatible, so Windows isnít necessary. I also have to decide on a theme. Iíve actually decided that already but saving that for a surprise! The project probably won't finish until Spring, Winter in Minnesota makes it very hard to paint, so updates might be sporadic. More photos and small updates will be on my blog: http://sergiostuff.com/category/gw-tabletop-arcade/

Alejo I

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Re: Recreating the Game and Watch Tabletop
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2019, 03:35:19 am »
That looks *insanely* cool. Such a classy little machine to recreate.

meyer980

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Re: Recreating the Game and Watch Tabletop
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2019, 07:09:24 pm »
I got my 3D prints today and they really turned out quite nice! Very close to the real model, which means I mustíve done something right. I just need to make a few modifications.

The pins Iím using to hold the thing together are a little small. They work, but itís quite difficult to handle them and Iím afraid they could pop out at any point. So, Iíll make those a little bit longer. Iím also going to add a couple more pins to prevent flexing near the back corners.

Additionally, the piece holding the screen is a little too snug Ė so snug it almost bends my screen. Some modifications with my dremel fixed this but Iím still going to make an update to my files.

Compare my 3D printed Game and Watch Tabletop to an original below (with screen inserted, too).






Ignore the gaps, I didn't have the pins all inserted at this point. It's actually almost flush.

jdbailey1206

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Re: Recreating the Game and Watch Tabletop
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 08:29:08 am »
This is great meyer.  About 4 years ago I was trying to figure out how to make a multi game Game and Watch emulator contained in the DKII unit I still have.  I only thought they came in the actual hand held versions.  I never knew the table tops existed.  I will definitley be watching this and may make one once you have done all the heavy lifting.   :D

meyer980

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Re: Recreating the Game and Watch Tabletop
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 02:07:26 pm »
Yep, I plan on sharing the files once it's all finished. The Tabletop games actually had slightly better "graphics"

Your idea would be awesome though. And I bet it'd be possible for someone skilled enough. Maybe use a raspberry pi zero, which is much smaller, and some good soldering.

meyer980

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Re: Recreating the Game and Watch Tabletop
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2019, 11:53:38 am »
For my Game and Watch Tabletop build, Iím using a Raspberry Pi, running Retropie, like all the cool kids. It works slick but there are a few issues. The older versions of MAME that that pi uses canít play newer ROMs that have been recently added. That means all the cool handheld games recently added in the past year or two are out. Real bummer!

But, I can use Madrigalís Simulators which do have most of the G&W Tabletop games. Thatís important! MAME doesnít yet have Colecoís DK Jr., or Snoopy or Popeye for instance, which are all tabletop games. Those are the most important games I want to work since thatís what my cabinet will look like.

Additionally, a pi is super cheap, has plenty of support, and is so small it fits super well.

Control Interface
I was a little worried about how to get controls connected though. I prefer my controls to replicate a keyboard, I think that works best with MAME. The raspberry pi works great with USB joysticks or wireless gamepads (which are also good for libretro, the frontend/emulator interface) but they all act as gamepads Ė not keyboards. I could use something like a minipac, as Iíve done in other builds, but honestly thatís a little overkill for this.

Thatís when I stumbled upon the arcade bonnet by Adafruit. Why do I love this thing? Let me explain. It connects directly to the pi, emulates a keyboard, has 6 inputs with easy JST connectors, an 8-joystick connection, analog joystick connection, AND has a built in mono audio amp. That really cinched the deal. Not only will it make connecting controls easy, but I wonít have to buy a separate amp Ė saving me both a USB connection (or the audio plug) and power.

You do have to solder the thing together a bit, but that was no problem. I also took the time to solder some of the small buttons to the JST quick connect wires. These tiny little buttons will go where the small alarm and other buttons on the tabletops were. They wonít be used in gameplay, but will have admin functions.

  
 

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