Hello, this is a blog that will cover a lot of my journey in attempting to build a full size, functional, arcade cabinet, using nothing but LEGO® brick as the enclosure.
At the time of my writing this, I’ve all ready got a good amount of the work done on the project because I didn’t quite plan to start a blog right in the beginning. However, I’ve decided to put one together now, so over the next few weeks I hope to add quite a few posts to catch everyone up with where I’m at in my progress now. So hang tight, and enjoy the ride! And thanks for your interest!
One last, and very important, bit to know going forward. I want to make this very clear, LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site.
I’ve had a special fondness of LEGO® my entire life. My grandmother bought my very first sets for me when I was 6 years old.
Set 4010 – Police Rescue Boat
Set 4020 – Fire Fighter
Set 4030 – Cargo Carrier
At that age, having three large brown boxes show up for me was an extremely cool feeling, and is a memory that stuck with me to this day. I recall how colorful and playful the product boxes looked. I remember opening the product boxes and pulling out that plastic container that all the pieces sat in for the first time. The fun instruction pamphlets that I used to build the boats and then of course, the final product and their unique feature of being able to float! I was unaware of LEGO® brick until this moment of my childhood and since that time, I’ve had a strong passion for collecting as many LEGO® sets as I possibly could!
Fast forward three decades and that same passion still remains. However, I’ve moved a lot, and a lot of has happened in life since that time where bricks got either lost, stolen, or damaged. I never had the space to put the bricks together again, so they remained all commingled together in boxes and tubs.
Today, I’ve finally been able to dedicate an entire room in my house to this LEGO® passion! I call this my Game Room, versus the LEGO® Room, as I want it to be more than just LEGO® in this room. The Game Room is meant to house anything “fun”, whether that’s board games, video games, or, most importantly, LEGO®.
So I furnished this room with some simple, and purposefully “blocky” looking, shelving units and started to work on converting the room into more of a showcase area.
Now that most of my collection is displayed within my display cabinets, it’s time to expand, and the sky is the limit! So let’s head to space!
The Lego Group has come a long way since the 80’s and 90’s, and today they have a new line of products called Modular Buildings https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lego_Modular_Buildings. I love these sets and so I’ve started to collect and display these as well.
A close friend decided to donate their bricks to my collection. Thank you!
I didn’t really know what all my friend had in their collection. So I carefully sorted through the brick and made a HUGE discovery.
Let’s back up a little bit first, in my collection of sets, I owned two very cool sets. Actually these sets have a very special fondness for me and are some of the most sought-after sets made by LEGO®. There were only ever three sets of their kind released (and, from what I hear, supposedly a fourth set that never got released). Some of you may have guessed it, the Monorail System!
These futuristic trains were featured in a mere three sets, from 1987 to 1994. In 1987, the first set to be introduced was the 6990: Monorail Transport System. This was part of the Futuron Space theme and was basically just an oval track with a pair of ramps and two monoswitches. Three years later, in 1990, the set 6399: Airport Shuttle was released as part of the Town theme. Four years after this, The Lego Group released their final Monorail System set 6991: Monorail Transport Base which was part of the Unitron Space theme. From what I’ve read, there was also an unreleased fourth monorail planned for an unreleased theme, Sea-Tron.
So growing up, I was fortunate enough to have been able to obtain two of these three unique sets and rare sets; and of course, that always left me wanting the last and final set released that I was missing, 6991: Monorail Transport Base.
So in the collection of LEGO® brick that I got from my friend, the discovery!
More space-themed sets require more space-themed shelving right?
Time to go around the entire room!
The last part go even trickier because now I had to connect the track to the start. So measurements had to be exact so that the track would line up properly.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the completed space-themed monorail!
And of course, I also couldn’t just collect modular buildings either, I had to light them up!
All right, I’ve done a bit with the room I have, but this is supposed to be a Game Room, NOT a LEGO® Room, right? So why only LEGO®?!
This became much more apparent to me when I received this amazing set as a gift, 71374: Nintendo Entertainment System.
Here’s the speed build and product in action.
This set was cool, but I realized that in order to make this a true Game Room, I should probably add some video gaming items to it as well and a LEGO® set just simulating a video game just wasn’t good enough for me. So I thought, “What if I could stick a small computer inside of this thing and actually make this set playable?
Something called a Raspberry Pi seemed perfect for the task. So I purchased one, and attempted to fit it inside. It didn’t, I would need to get more creative if I wanted this to work.
I also discovered that while the Raspberry Pi seemed like a good fit for earlier generation console emulation, it was not able to handle pretty much anything released after 1996, and I wanted more. The Sony PlayStation 2 was in fact a console that I very much wanted to be able to emulate. Not only was the PlayStation 2 the best selling game console of all time, selling over 155 million units worldwide; it also had the longest lifespan of any other console after having 12 years of production.
So this meant that I needed a real computer, and with a dedicated graphics card, I could likely emulate any video game system I wanted. Of course, using the Nintendo LEGO® set was now clearly out of the question, so I needed something bigger … much bigger.
Can this be done with LEGO® brick?