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Cocktail Cabinet - 2 or 4 player


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I've been debating whether to build (or buy) a 2 player or 4 player Cocktail cabinet-- I like how the 2 player is a little less bulky but 4 player gives me a bit more game flexibility-- the horizontal option is nice but then again I already have a mame stand-up arcade machine and bartop.  Any advantages I might be missing to owning a 4 player cocktail unit?  Is it harder to configure with a mame vertical set-up than a 2-player is?  Are there 4-player cocktail cabinet games worth owning it for?  I was thinking Gauntlet and Super Off Road would be fun...


Anyway, I was just hoping others that have these machines could weigh in and help me decide before I begin the project.  Thanks so much!



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I would only do a 4-player if you were going to make it very low and use it as your coffee table in the living room at a couch that wraps around the outside of it.

For example my couch is like that so when guests are over and we sit in there, we're already sitting basically one at each end of the table and two on the side.

If the coffee table was also a 4-player machine it's possible it would be played that way.

If it's just to be a standalone, and not doubling as a table in some way, I'd say just make it 2-player.

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Awesome, thanks for the input, Metalzoic! I wouldn't be using my cocktail machine as a coffee table --strictly a table to sit at for having a few drinks and playing some games.  So maybe the 2 player is the better bet for me.  Anyone have any other thoughts? Are there any 4-player cocktail advantages that I'm missing?  Thanks for the help!

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you really need to post the designs of what you are actually trying to make.  ( I had to google the 4 player gauntlet cabinet  but only found custom ones)



I have a cocktail (Ms. Pacman CLone)  with a 3rd control panel similar to this.




my 3d control panel is similar to the one in the picture  1 joystick + 6 buttons (per player)

each cocktail side  has 1 joystick + 3 buttons.  (don't know any cocktail compatible games with more than 3 buttons)


I'm currently trying to make this a plug and play track ball.

(bought one in a yard sale for $5,  I"m retrofiring a serial mouse and an arduino mini  for the buttons (ALT CTRL  NOT MOUSE buttons)





I only play the cocktail compatible games on the cocktail joysticks.  All the vertical (2 player games) Cave and other games and systems are played in landscape mode with the 3rd controller.

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Thanks 32assassin,  that Ms Pacman clone is it exactly.  Still on the fence about the 2 player vs 4 -- I may just end up doing 2 to keep it simple.  The more options I sometimes give myself, the less I actually play. Having the unit strictly for vertical games may end up suiting me better.  Tempted to try Gauntlet, Warlords and Super Off Road 4 player though! I thought maybe if that 3rd control panel would be a good addition if I were to play horizontal games but maybe I'll just save those for the upright system. 

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I'm not sure what you consider to be  a 4 player cocktail cabinet.


I can tell you for a fact,  that playing 4 player games on a cocktail cabinet sucks!!!!!.  the viewing angle   on the cocktail side controllers sucks for games such as, Simpsons TMNT, Avengers ect.

the only 4 player game you can play with out terrible viewing angles  is Demolition Derby (on MAME)  And you still don't have the correct view on player 3-4


if you are planing to build a cocktail cab to play Upright games such  Contra,  Most of the Shooter Games found in Cave or MAME such as the 14xx series.

You can pretty much throw out that Idea.  If you still think its a good idea, You will have to use the split screen for all the 2 player Upright games.





Standard 4:3  = all your Standard screen games found in MAME or other systems,  they will be controlled by the 3rd control panel.  


Rotate and Cocktail Mame : all your Upright 2 Player Games (you can't have player 2 looking at an inverted screen)

I did not rotate any of this games and they are controlled with the 3rd control panel. The un-rotated screen is bigger than the spit screen.

from the image  MK game,  you can see the problem with not adding the 3rd control panel. 2 payer games will not work on a cocktail cab. Unless you use the split screen.

and as far as I know only MAME supports the Split Screen video mode. ALL other 4:3 systems will be unplayable without a 3rd control panel.


Rotated MAME =  Cocktail supported games (games that support flip screen)


my joysticks are numbered as following

3rd Control Panel = Player 1 and PLayer 2 -->  this supports all the 4:3 games found in MAME or any other system.

Cocktail Left Controller = Joystick 3 -->   this ONLY supports all the Player 1 MAME cocktail (Flip screen) supported games 

Cocktail Right Controller = joystick 4 --> this ONLY supports all the Player 2 MAME cocktail (Flip screen) supported games


by default all the cocktail games will be mapped to joystick 1 (P1) and joystick 2 (P2)

,you will have to manually remap all the cocktail games to the Joystick3-Joystick4 controls or the keyboard keys you assigned to those buttons (don't use the default MAME P3-4 keys).

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