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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0..9


  • Analog, Analog data is data considered to be continuously variable -- that is, data that is not simply on or off (see digital). Temperature is a good example of analog data.
  • Arcade Authenticity, A measure of how accurately a game visually compares to it's original arcade version (i.e. the original game PCB playing on the arcade monitor it was intended to).


  • Bemani, synonymous with the rythm and dance game genre. Originally from BeatMania - the first rythm game in the genre.
  • Bezel, A shroud surrounding the monitor of an arcade cabinet so as to frame the monitor and hide the inner workings of the arcade cabinet.
  • Bucking magnet, A magnet that is glued to the back of a speaker magnet to counteract the magnetic field the speaker produces. Normally used to allow placement of speakers close to monitors without the speaker's magnetic field distorting the monitor's picture.
  • BYOAC short for "Build Your Own Arcade Controls". Also the name of the website and community that spawned this Wiki.
  • BYOACer a member of the Build Your Own Arcade Controls community.
  • Breakout Cable A VGA Cable that you can make or purchase to hook up you Regular VGA/SVGA Pc Video Card to an Arcade Monitor. You also need to use a special software to drive your Video card to the level of the Arcade Monitor. In the FREE Section, there is a small diagram of how to make this Breakout Cables (4th post down).


  • Cab Short for "Arcade cabinet".
  • Cabfriendly software Software that is easily operated on an arcade cabinet.
  • Cap-kit, Capacitor Kit - The capacitors (electronic components) on monitor circuit boards tend to go bad after a while, causing color and picture distortion. Replacing the capacitors (and other related electronic components) will often fix such problems. The collection of capacitors and other components that are needed to repair the monitor are referred to as a "cap-kit."
  • CMYK CMYK is a color description scheme used in printing, and stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and blacK. Mixing various amounts of these four colors produces the other colors needed in the printing process.
  • Cockpit cabinet An arcade cabinet that is enclosed. The player sits inside the cabinet to play the game.
  • Cocktail cabinet An arcade machine that is shaped like a small table. Players sit at the table and play the game looking down on the monitor. The monitor is oriented so that it is facing upwards.
  • Coin door A metal door on an arcade cabinet where players insert money or tokens to be able to play the game.
  • COM Common - a connector on a microswitch that is always used, regardless of whether the other connector used is NC or NO.
  • Control panel The panel of wood or metal on an arcade cabinet or desktop arcade controller that is the home for the pushbuttons, joysticks, and other arcade controls used by the arcade machine.
  • Console can have different meanings dependant of the context it is used in:
  1. short for "Game console" (see glossary G: Game console)
  2. The keyboard/screen combination from which a (remote) computer is operated
  3. The commandline interface to directly issue basic commands to the computer's operating system (example: The DOS version of MAME is lauched from a DOS-console).
  • CP Short for "Control panel"
  • CPO Acronym for "Control Panel Overlay." A CPO is a piece of vinyl or similar material originally used to cover the metal or wood control panel, display control instructions and branded game art.
  • CRT Cathode Ray Tube - a type of monitor with a glass tube. You are probably most familiar with a CRT monitor in the form of older televisions and computer monitors (non-LCD based).


  • DDR Dance Dance Revolution. A series of dance arcade games made by Konami. The series is named Dancing Stage in Europe, however many Europeans refer to the games by the DDR name.
  • Degaussing The process of demagnetizing (removing the magnetic field) of a monitor that can build up over time or occur from external sources, to remove the color or picture distortion caused by the field.
  • Desktop arcade controller A box that holds arcade controls use to play video games. The box is usually somewhere around 3 feet in width and 1.5 feet deep, and is designed to sit on a desktop when played. Unlike a full arcade cabinet, a desktop arcade controller only holds the arcade controls and internal electronics. No monitors, speakers, or computer are part of a desktop arcade controller. Some people have designed a complete "arcade-in-a-box" that goes beyond this definition, including the computer inside the controller, but this is rare.
  • Digital Digital data is data that is either on or off, one or zero, high or low. A pushbutton is a good example of data that is represented digitally. The button is either pressed, or not pressed. The amount that the pushbutton is pressed is not measured. A pushbutton that is pressed half-way down is still considered to be "off" until it makes final contact with the microswitch beneath it, at which point it is considered "on." Compare to Analog.
  • Diode A diode is a device that in simplest terms only allows electricity to flow in one direction. A diode has two ends: a cathode (-) and an anode (+). Current can only flow from the anode to the cathode, but not the other direction. Diodes are sometimes used in keyboard hacks.
  • DIY Do It Yourself.
  • DPI Dots Per Inch. Printing term used to describe the resolution of an image. For digital files, it may be better to think of DPI as pixels per inch.


  • Emulator A piece of software designed to make one computer act as another computer or arcade hardware. See also Emulators.
  • Encoder An electronic component, usually a microchip, that takes analog or digital signals from a device and encodes it in a format that the computer is able to understand. See encoders.


  • Front End Software GUI used to launch game roms in one or more emulators


  • Game console A video game system designed for home play with a TV (or occasionally a computer monitor). Systems such as the Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation are game consoles.
  • Game console controller The unit that plugs into a game console to control the game play. These are usually handheld pads with an analog mini-joystick that controls direction, a digital flat control wheel that serves the same function, and pushbuttons.
  • Ground Wire The Ground Wire will carry electricity from the Encoder to each Microswitch. People usually use black wire for the Ground Wire.
  • GUI Acronym for "Graphic User Interface". A front end is an example of a GUI for MAME. The basic MAME is without a GUI, MAME32 is a version with a GUI.


  • Hack As used here, modifying a device to use it in a way that is different than originally intended. For instance, using the electronics of a mouse to connect an arcade trackball.
  • High resolution A monitor with a refresh rate of 31.5kHz.
  • Hot Wire A wire that carries electricity from a Microswitch to an Encoder. In our case, this usually only occurs when the button for the Microswitch is pressed.


  • Isolation transformer A transformer that sits between the building electrical outlet and the monitor, isolating the monitor from the building electrical system.


  • JAMMA - Japanese Amusement Machine Manufacturers' Association

A trade association based in Japan; it also the namesake of a trade show hosted in Japan; additionally, JAMMA is a wiring standard for arcade machines that allows for interchangability of video game PCBs without having to re-wire the arcade machine.

  • Joystick Any of a large variety of devices used to control arcade machines. The joystick has a shaft that extends above the control panel that is manipulated by the player, activating switches (microswitch or leaf switch) at the base of the joystick beneath the control panel, thereby controlling game play.


  • Keyboard blocking A technique used by keyboard manufacturers to prevent ghosting problems. After a certain number of keys are pressed at the same time, further keypresses are blocked.
  • Keyboard Encoder - A device used to interpret signals from arcade buttons and joysticks into standard keystroke signals. See encoders.
  • Keyboard ghosting A problem that occurs in older keyboards that do not feature keyboard blocking in which phantom keystrokes are generated when too many keys are pressed at the same time. For instance, pressing "A" and "C" and "E" at the same time may generate a fourth phantom "T" keystroke.
  • Keyboard matrix The grid in which a keyboard encoder maps keystrokes. The grid corresponds to the physical electronic traces on the keyboard circuit. A keyboard encoder that has a total of 20 keyboard traces can be arranged in a 10 x 10 matrix, allowing 100 total keystrokes. It can also be arranged in a 12 x 8 matrix, allowing 96 total keystrokes, or any other combination. The manner and method in which a keyboard matrix is designed varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
  • Kill switch A switch that is designed to turn off a circuit when the button is released. Usually used as a precaution on the back door of arcade machines. When the back door is opened, the button is released, killing the power inside the arcade cabinet.
  • KLOV The Killer List of Video Games website.


  • LCD Screen - Liquid Crystal Display. Some front ends support small LCDs, typically connected to one of the computer's serial ports, to display the name of the game that is currently running.
  • Leaf Switch - A switch type commonly used on older buttons and joysticks. It consisted of two metal contacts, that when united, completed a circuit.
  • Leafs - Short form for leaf switch
  • Lexan An acrylic plastic used to protect control panels and occasionally as a protective barrier in front of a monitor, available in both clear and smoked varieties. See Plexiglas.
  • Light gun An amusement gun with optical electronics. The spot that is aimed at is determined optically by the gun electronics. Contrast with positional guns.
  • Low resolution A monitor with a refresh rate of 15.75 kHz. Usually referred to as standard resolution.


  • MAME Acronym for "Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator". See also Arcade emulators.
  • Mame32 Windows version of MAME with built in GUI
  • Marquee Usually located at the top of an arcade machine, this is normally a back-lit colorful sign displaying the name of the video game. Marquees are designed to draw attention to the game.
  • Medium resolution A monitor with a refresh rate of 25 kHz.
  • Microswitch A switch with three contacts, two of which are used at any one time. When the small button at the top of the switch is pressed (or released), a circuit is completed between the two contacts in use, activating the button. The three contacts are NC, NO, and COM. NO and COM are primarily used in arcade machine applications.
  • Multimeter A multimeter is an electronic measuring instrument that combines several functions in one unit. The most basic instruments include an ammeter, voltmeter, and ohmmeter. See the Multimeter Wikipedia entry


  • NC Normally Closed - a connector on a microswitch used when a button is considered idle when it is pressed, and activated when it is not pressed. A kill-switch that disables an arcade machine when the back door is opened, releasing the pressure on the switch, is an example of a situation in which you would want to use the NC connector instead of the NO connector.
  • NO Normally Open - a connector on a microswitch used when a button is considered idle when it is not pressed.
  • NOS Acronym for "New Old-Stock." This term is most commonly used to describe original, unused vintage items for sale or auction. Many times unused stock may be found stored away untouched for years. NOS items are not reproductions, they were manufactured by the original manufacturer and should be close to perfect condition.
  • NTSC A television standard mainly used in the US and Japan. It uses 525 lines and 60-fields (interlaced) per second giving 30fps. NTSC stands for National Television System Committee who set the TV standards in the US. It has a some colour issues which were corrected when PAL was developed, and TV engineers will refer to NTSC as "Never Twice the Same Colour".


  • OEM Acronym for "Original Equipment Manufacturer." An OEM was the originator of a specific part. Parts from an OEM should be more accurate than reproduction parts made for the aftermarket. Reproduction parts are usually not considered 100% fully interchangeable with parts from the OEM.
  • Optical encoder The encoder that is the heart of a mouse or other optical device. It takes the data from the detector and sends the information to the computer.


  • PAL A television standard widely used in Europe and Australia. PAL is based on the US NTSC standard, but unlike NTSC (used in the US and Japan) it uses 625 lines and 50-fields (interlaced) per second giving 25fps. Also, PAL stands for Phase Alternate Line, because the phase of the color carrier is alternated from line to line. This alternation helps cancel out phase errors, and gives a superior colour reproduction compared to NTSC ('hue' control is not needed on a PAL TV set) even though both are composite colour signals.
  • PCB Printed Circuit Board - the circuit boards at the heart of an arcade machine.
  • Plexiglas An acrylic plastic used to protect control panels and occasionally as a protective barrier in front of a monitor, available in both clear and smoked varieties. Plexiglas is a brand name that is often used as a generic term. Lexan is another brand of acrylic plastic that is often used.
  • Positional gun An amusement gun with analog electronics, whose aim is determined by the position of two potentiometers (pots) at the base of the gun. As the gun is aimed, the potentiometers are moved, translating into horizontal and vertical positioning of the gun's aim.
  • POT Short for potentiometer, a variable resistor whose resistance changes as a shaft is turned. A volume knob is an example of a potentiometer.
  • Port A port can be either a connection on a computer circuit board or a remake of a game/application on another system than the first release. For example the arcade game Pac-Man was ported from the Arcade to various home computer systems.


  • Quick disconnects Small connectors used as method to connect wires to microswitches without the need to solder the wire directly to the microswitch. Usually abbreviated as QDs or MQDs (male quick disconnects) and FQDs (female quick disconnects).


  • Raster graphics A raster-based graphic, such as a JPEG file, is composed of tiny dots, or pixels. Contrast it with vector graphics.
  • Raster monitor A monitor that draws images on screen as a series of dots. Contrast it with vector monitor.
  • Refresh rate The rate at which a monitor re-draws the images on the screen, broken into horizontal refresh rates and vertical refresh rates. Phosphors on the screen begin to lose their charge quickly and have to be refreshed to keep the image on the screen.
  • Resolution The size of the screen display on a monitor. Most PC users will be familiar with 640x480, 800x600, and 1024x768 resolutions, although many other resolutions are possible. Arcade machine typically used much lower resolutions.
  • Restrictor plate A metal plate that fits over a joystick, restricting its movement so that an eight-way joystick functions like a four-way joystick.
  • RGB RGB is a color description scheme used for monitors and sometimes in printing, and stands for Red, Green, and Blue. Mixing various amounts of these three colors produces the other colors needed. Contrast with CMYK.
  • RGVAC Acronym for the usenet newsgroup This is a newsgroup for arcade collectors and those interested in restoring arcade cabinets to their original form. Regulars to the newsgroup aren't too fond of people that convert rarer arcade cabinets into ermulator cabinets.
  • ROM Acronym for "Read Only Memory". ROMs contain program code, graphics and sound data that is used by the arcade hardware to run the games. Think of it as a CD on a chip. Many emulators require ROM image files to work. See Also ROMs.


  • SCART A connector found primarily on European televisions providing stereo sound and video inputs.
  • Spinner An optical device used to control on-screen movement along a single axis, usually the X axis. As the spinner is turned the on-screen cursor (or arcade game image) is moved correspondingly.
  • Standard resolution A monitor with a refresh rate of 15.75 kHz.


  • T-Molding A plastic strip placed around the edges of an arcade cabinet for protective and decorative purposes. The strip is shaped like a T, with the long part of the T fitting in a groove in the edges of the cabinet.
  • Trackball An optical device used to control on-screen movement along the X and Y axes. As the ball is rolled the on-screen cursor (or arcade game image) is moved correspondingly.
  • Trigger-grip joystick A joystick that has a fire button in the shaft.


  • Upright cabinet An arcade machine that stands approximately six feet tall with the monitor facing the players while the player stands at the machine.


  • Vector graphics A vector-based graphic is composed of a series of mathematically described lines that form shapes.
  • Vector monitor A monitor that draws images on screen as a series of lines.
  • VOM Acronym for Volt-Ohm-Milliemmeter. See multimeter entry.


Wrapper additional applications that allow certain emulators to work properly with a frontend or arcade setup.


-No entries yet-


  • YMMV Acronym for "Your Mileage May Vary," an idiom meaning: "if you attempt this procedure, your results may differ from my results." Common to message boards.
  • Yoke Two meanings:
  1. A flight yoke used to control flying games.
  2. Part of a monitor's electronics resting behind the picture tube.


-No entries yet-


  • 2-way joystick A joystick that only moves in 2 directions, left-right or up-down. Very few games used a 2-way joystick. Space Invaders (KLOV link) is one such game.
  • 4-way joystick A joystick that moves in 4 directions, normally up-down-left-right. Some games, such as Qbert (KLOV entry), used a 4-way joystick rotated 45 degrees such that they movement was to the diagonals instead of straight up/down/left/right. Playing a 4-way based game with an 8-way joystick can be extremely frustrating.
  • 8-way joystick A joystick that moves in the 4 cardinal directions (up-down-left-right) and the diagonals as well. Playing an 8-way based game with a 4-way joystick can be extremely frustrating.
  • 49-way joystick A joystick that has 3 possible positions in each cardinal direction, plus a center position, allowing for a total of 49-different possible positions (7 on the X axis, 7 on the Y axis, 7*7=49).