Get started with vertical cabinets here. Find out where to buy a vertical cabinet and more.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS A VERTICAL CABINET?
Vertical MAME overlays can be used on any kind of setup running emulated arcade games with a widescreen 16:9 monitor mounted vertically (in portrait mode), including a PC or Raspberry Pi with a monitor mounted or rotated vertically. A vertical cabinet mounts the monitor permanently within a cabinet of some kind, usually with a control panel directly beneath it. The intended effect is to replace what would be the entire front of a traditional arcade cabinet with a screen, displaying the game surrounded by all the art that would normally be seen on an arcade cabinet (including the marquee and screen bezel, wood cabinet elements such as speakers, and sometimes the control panel, coin doors or other elements.
WHERE TO BUY A VERTICAL CABINET
There is no one type of vertical cabinet, and plenty of gamers have created their own. However, if you're interested in buying a commercially-available vertical cabinet, there are a few options you may consider. Below are some of the best options currently available – this list is not inclusive and we haven't used most of these, but they're worth a look.
Based in Lawrenceville, GA, Rec Room Masters is one of the relatively few manufacturers of vertical cabinets for use with MAME and similar software. Their cabinets are well-built, primarily out of 3/4" melamine, and are shipped flat for self-assembly. RRM builds solid control panels with numerous control panel configurations, including the ability to add custom artwork. RRM currently offers two vertical cabinet options:
XTENSION VERTICAL ARCADE MACHINE The larger of RRM's two cabinets consists of a freestanding pedestal with controls that houses your PC or Raspberry Pi, and a detachable monitor component. This version uses a 40" TV or monitor, and is not small at 32.5" wide and 74.5" tall, but provides ample screen real estate and can also include pinball side buttons.
XTENSION ALPHA-CADE 3/4 SCALE CABINET This more compact version looks a bit more like a traditional arcade cabinet, but is designed for sit-down use (if you're feeling industrious, you could build a riser platform to raise it). The upper monitor area houses a 32" TV or monitor, and is wider than the screen, filling the extra space with decals you can apply to the included plexiglass.
Another popular creator of commercial cabinets for emulation, Game Room Solutions offers a wide variety of configurations, including standup cabinets, bartops, virtual pinball tables and more, and can add custom graphics to just about anything they sell. Like RRM, GRS makes cabinet kits you assemble, much like IKEA furniture. GRS recently added its first vertical cabinet, and it's quite different from anything else on the market:
24" TABLE TOP VEWLIX VERTICAL CABINET The Vewlix vertical cabinet is a bartop-style cabinet that is both compact and portable, providing another option for enjoying your favorite games with all the art you love. Though the effect wouldn't be the same, it's a great option for people who don't have the floor space for a full-size cabinet.
VCabinet, the vertical cabinet project by Antolin Aguirre, has offered several designs for vertical cabinets, and his current set is available as a free DIY project for download. Unlike the aforementioned options, this is only for the true DIY hobbyist, as you will need to cut MDF with a CNC machine using his provided files and assemble it yourself. The images he shows appear to be CNC-cut MDF, which could be covered in a vinyl wrap or other covering of your choice.
WALL-MOUNTED CABINETThe wall-mounted style is an intriguing option that saves space while also making your games into a conversation piece.
UPRIGHT CABINETSVCabinet currently offers two versions of an upright cabinet, which differ somewhat in form but are both slim and attractive.
Know of other vertical cabinet options? Let us know! (Visit the About page for contact info)