That was all of them; five control panels, plus a pedal, to play games in MAME. They were not the prettiest of control panels, but they did the job pretty good for a while. Sadly circumstances came about where they had to go away. Partly due to room constraints; mainly due to the fact that, though they were functional, they were not ideal in my mind. All of them could have been done better, and that always nagged me in the back of my head. I would get irritated from the buttons not being spaced correctly on one panel, the rub of the wood from most of them, and other things. I ended up breaking them all down a couple years later. The wood got recycled. The parts I did not think I needed to keep went for sale on eBay. I kept the Star Wars yoke and Pole Position pedal. (For clarification; it was actually a ROTJ yoke). I figured I would find a way to use them at some point down the road
Good thing I kept it. At the end of 2004, Dave from West Controls, at that time an up and coming arcade hobbyist website, contacted me asking permission to use the MAME Control Panel pics on his page as reference to what kinds of controls different games used. I had no problem with it, as I have always considered them free to use for anybody.
We got to talking some more, and he mentioned that he was planning a new type of Star Wars control panel box from his company. Coincidentally, I was looking for a new box for my yoke. He offered to do a prototype box for me at cost. I supplied him the design I was looking for, mailed him my yoke and other parts, and he went to work. The final product, as you can see below, came out very nice. Everything was very professionally done, right down to the T-molding. The box was solid.
I did not take exact measurements, but the angle of the yoke felt the same as the original arcade Star Wars. I played a real Star Wars at an arcade a few weeks after the finished box arrived, and after comparing the real thing to the new control panel, it felt great. On the left are the buttons for Start, Coin, and Pause. The shifter is for driving games, including a button on the shifter for games that use turbo boost. The two red buttons below it were added for future use if necessary.
In the pic above, you can see everything is very clean inside. To the bottom left is an Aki Analog Interface from Dave's Page of Electronics (different Dave). This little interface worked like a charm. It includes inputs for up to 5 axis and fourteen buttons. Plenty enough for this controller. Unseen, there is also a DIN-connection for the external Pole Position pedal I still had.
I fired up a few of my favorites in MAME soon after it arrived. Star Wars, S.T.U.N. Runner, Spy Hunter, Afterburner, and Outrun all played and controlled wonderfully. Space Harrier was especially fun with this controller. The box fit just right on my desk and weighed enough so that it did not move around too much when dodging fireballs down the trench, and I had complete control thanks to the AKI interface. I was a happy camper. As someone who excels at electronics but is not so well versed at woodworking, buying the box was the perfect option.
Again, circumstances necessitated having to give up this wonderful control panel later on. It went to the caring home of a BYOAC member in late 2007. I have other controllers I use today, but first, I am going to need to add another section to this site.