Arcade Collecting > Miscellaneous Arcade Talk

Midway Arcade Cabinet by Big Electronic Games

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I own a Midway Arcade Cabinet by Big Electronic Games. I know, I know... gee what a loser and what a POS - right?

Well, don't pass judgement too soon. I have made some pretty good upgrades to the cabinet and have significantly improved it and probably still not invested over 100 dollars.

I am the individual who submited the "An Insider's View (Internals)" to the Retroblast article on this machine: Midway Arcade Cabinet by Big Electronic Games -

I am also the author of the mods articles at Retroblast: "You Just Bought a Big Electronic Games Midway Arcade Cabinet. Now What?" -

Well I have several exciting updates... a newly discovered un-documented mode/menu, a new control panel, and Playstation compatibility.

I have discovered a secret undocumented mode/menu while working on a control panel update for my arcade.

If you simultaneously press and hold down; one player, two player, and forward (on joystick 1) for about 5 seconds - a special menu pops up on the screen. You have 3 options... Settings, Hardware Tests, and Exit.

Under settings, you can adjust various variables that effect gameplay. There is a custom tailored settings screen for each game and the options available vary from game to game... some common examples are; level of dificulty, number of initial ships or men, bonus level, high score reset, and many other options depending on the game. Button 1 on player 1 side scrolls forward thru the options, and button 2 scrolls backward through the available options for each setting.

I discovered this while pursuing the addition of Playstation capability to my Midway cab. I have a BUNCH of games for Playstation (including classic arcade compilations) and I want to play them thru the cab. On the Midway cab, there is a switch to change the video and audio inputs to another device, but there is no way to use the arcades controls with your game system.

Well, I have discovered a cheap and easy way to do this. Rather than use expensive solutions from Ultimarc which would require the purchase of multiple pieces, and entail extra expense and probably not fit within the small area available under the control panel, I went a cheaper route and hacked and gutted the adapter circuitry from a cheap Arcade controller I already have for the Playstation - it is one that used to be aviailable from, but I imagine you could use many others or even hack a old playstation controller.

All you have to do is run a single wire to the common ground on the Midway that goes to each and every switch (including each one on the joysticks), and also run a wire to each "positive" pin/wire on each switch.

I'm also upgraded the controls for my Midway cab... I made a new board, drilled holes (1 1/8") and placed new controls I purchased from X-gaming: in the Midway cab. This is a VERY good deal, you get 2 joysticks, 20 switches, and a 12 game arcade bundle for your PC - all for 29.95!

I highly recommmend these controls, they are WAY WAY better than what comes with the biggames arcades yet WAY WAY cheaper than what is available from all the other vendors.

I also drilled a couple 1/4" holes and mounted a LED I had laying around and also one for a momentary switch for the re-set function. I used a radioshack SPST mini momentary push button switch - P/N 275-1547. This allowed me to keep my complete original control panel intact for returning it to that condition (can't imagine) or for selling on e-bay as a spare!

While making the control panel upgrade I noticed that only buttons 1 and 2 were utilized on the player 2 side of the board, buttons 3-6 were totally unused. This gave me an idea... I ended up connecting up these buttons in parallel with the player 2 joystick in the familiar Playstation x,o,triangle,square, configuration. This allows me to use either the buttons or the joystick to control the player 2 directions. IOW, it allows you to play with 2 sticks, so games like BattleZone or other versions of Robotron, or simulation games can be played much more naturally - even if the are not written for analog joystick control - I LIKE that. I also got rid of the diagonal mounting on the player 1 side of the board - it's just 2 rows of three. And I switched the wiring on buttons 5 and 6 to make it similar to how the buttons are on a real Defender II/Stargate arcade.

I used a terminal block for the connections from the board to the switches and used spade connectors on the switches themselves - so it is real easy to change things.

Here is a view of the new controls wiring with the small front skirt panel removed. 

Here is the view from the top with everything buttoned up. Note Tempest running via Atari's Anniversary Edition Compilation on Playstation.

I am REAL happy now, especially considering how few dollars I have invested.

Below you will find a crude (not to scale) layout of the new control panel, as well as a wiring schematic/breakout depicting the ribbon cabeling and a breakout of the circuit board that crosses the ribbon cable wiring to individual wires that run to each switch.

Here is the layout

Here is the breakout

Hope this information is of use to someone "out there" looking for help in bettering the Midway cab!


Look at you!

Thats some good hack'n. Hopefully someone finds all your hard work useful.

Ken Layton:
So the actual gameboard in this cabinet is NOT a JAMMA one then?

Wow.  Really good  digging out that undocumented setup screen for that cab.   Good work in updating the controls and getting the info published on Retroblast.  The cab is definately not one of the favourites on this board but you have gone a long way in making it more arcade like.

Good Work :applaud:


Ken Layton:
It sure takes a looonnnggg time to see anything on the retroblast site. I get frustrated after waiting a half hour (I'm on a 28k dialup connection) and looking at a blue screen then it asks me if I want to install Flash. No way do I want Flash on my computer.  :angry:

I'd like to be able to read and print the information about the mods to that game, but geez that Flash crap is irritating and frustrating.


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