Version 1 was a very simple and quick project. I bought the cabinet on ebay, and only had to make a new top piece for the control panel. This was back in 2004, before I had any of the woodworking or electronics tools. My friend Rob did the actual cutting on this one. Once the top board was finished, I took it home and installed the shiny new controls that I bought for it. I built a computer and installed MAME. There was a great frontend back then called ULtrastyle that I used for the game selection.
This first version worked pretty well, but I didn’t like it. The joysticks I used are meant for fighting games, and they just don’t feel right to me for other games. While I initially played games on this cabinet pretty often, it gradually tapered off to never. By the time I started on version 2, it had been collecting dust for over a year. A lot of people don’t care about the controls, but I really prefer to play a game with the correct joystick. Games with unique controllers are even worse to try to play with a standard control layout.