Who they are
Turnarcades are an arcade build company based in the West Midlands, England. Founded in 2004, they offer customised cabinets and arcade projects for people who have more specific ideas of what they want from an arcade machine. They are currently a 'home-build' setup, hand-building each project as the customer requests. Due to the projects not being machine-cut, the cost is kept down way below the prices of other cabinet builders. Quality is still superb and rivals that of mass-produced cabinets. This makes them suitable for both those on a budget and those with specific gaming tendencies. They are one of the few dedicated arcade builders in the UK, and the only one offering custom machines and modifications to the UK and more recently; Europe.
Turnarcades machines run a licenced, ready-to-run, customised build of the popular lightweight arcade front-end Mamewah on all of their custom-built arcade machines. This version of the front-end features customised Turnarcades themed skins, pre-configured key mappings to the arcade controls installed on the machine, and pre-written .ini files to allow easy addition of arcade and console emulators, including MAME. This means that most of the complex software configuration is already done, and every machine will load straight into a game menu. This feature makes the machines more appealing to software novices and makes software customisation easier for more skilled individuals.
A new workshop has recently been built at their base in the West Midlands enabling them to increase the number of projects undertaken simultaneously and reduce the average construction time needed for each cabinet. They are currently planning to create an interactive showroom where potential customers can come and view the cabinet range, discuss their requirements and play-test a machine before placing an order.
What they do
Turnarcades offers a range of set cabinet designs at set prices, ranging from bar-top machines to large showcase cabinets, from which the customer ambiguates on the design and pays accordingly. Every set design is priced as a 'turn-key machine', with a high-end Pentium 4 PC (installed with a heavily optimised operating system+software plus the customised Mamewah setup), speakers, set size CRT monitor, appropriate interface/keyboard encoder (usually I-Pac), a set control layout and a choice of colour scheme and marquee artwork. Cabinet finishing is primarily black, but the customer can also specify many modificatons for the finish. This includes:
- Joystick brands and colours
- Button colours
- Display size and type (CRT or LCD/TFT)
- Marquee/artwork design and lighting
- PC specification
- Coin door addition
- Sound system
- Control layout/additional controls
- Cabinet dimensions/custom shell work
Customers can also request customised projects, such as stand-alone control panels, 'Box Arcades' (a control panel housing a complete PC system), jukeboxes and other such games room entertainment. Many of these custom machines are shown on the 'examples' page of the Turnarcades website, in their BYOAC build thread or from links on their ebay listings, and original ideas can be discussed directly by e-mail. Designs are not limited to variations of common commercial machines so all concepts for bespoke projects will be considered.
Examples of set designs
Other custom work
Turnarcades also offers a range of other custom work, such as stand-alone control panels, one-off machines, console integration and self-contained control panel/PC units as mentioned above. Again pricing varies dependant on the parts and labour required for each build. Requests for custom builds and quotes can be made by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
New projects are being undertaken all the time, and as of January 2008 the range now includes 'slimline' models of most of these designs, 3 types of racing cabinet, a dance-mat incorporated machine, and 2 different light-gun cabinet designs. Several examples of their regular cabinet line-up as well as some custom work can be viewed on their website www.turnarcades.co.uk. The website is currently being re-developed so may be down at certain times, but the new site will feature most of the documented builds undertaken so far.
They also have an on-going thread on the BYOAC forums showcasing new concepts and completed projects. Rather than detailing every build, this thread highlights some of the more unique custom builds and construction processes. The thread also features pictures of cabinets not yet shown on their website and can be viewed here.
Turnarcades has an official website found at www.turnarcades.co.uk though the website is currently under development. They also advertise and sell through ebay uk periodically and enquiries/orders can always be made by e-mail to either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. BYOAC members can also post questions direct to Craig through his user ID: Turnarcades or by posting responses on their build thread.