I've seen a lot of arcade enthusiast people pull this off, and wanted to try this myself.
I started with a gutted Galaga cabinet we found on craigslist for about 50 bucks. The game board was removed and the existing CRT monitor was shot, so early on, it was looking like replacing original parts was gonna be too pricey.
So I got creative.
For the controls, I dusted off my old i-Pac board that I got for Christmas a few years ago. These handy little gizmos can take inputs from a joystick, button-presses - just low-voltage switches in general - and map them out to USB keystrokes in a Windows environment.
I like cold cathodes and case lighting in general, so I took the big honkin' flourescent fixture out from behind the marquee and installed a DC inverter with a blue cathode bar.
The results? A pretty cool nightlight.
Thus concludes the perfect supplement to my nerd mancave:
That is pretty cool. My young son has no idea what I'm talking about when I tell him about the old arcade games. He gets mad when he loses online or on his WII and I tell him "in my day, you were out a quarter when you lost so you should be grateful."