Retro Arcade Games on Android

Saw this post and thought I could contribute as I have built, tested, and verified that a custom USB control panel can follow my progress (pics/ videos/ details) at:

The Arcade
@pretypetythief : I've been debating whether to make a controller like that since I could also use it on my Linux Media Center that has some MAME games on it, or if I'd want to build a smaller one more along the lines of the iCade cabinet - only for my 7" Haipad.

Of more interest is probably the MAME4droid app since TigerArcade and Android Arcade have both been pulled from Market.
hey thanks for responding!

yeah, i tested out my platform using Jrioni Arcade (Jarcade) v.3.0.0 which plays the MAME .37b5 rom set; the only issue i ran into was that the layer that Jrioni lay on top of the MAME did not recognize some of the default pinout/ keycode assignments that the i-PAC2 uses. furthermore, once you mess with key mapping in MAME via the menu, typically on a PC, you would just delete the default.cfg file to reset everything... i had no way to do this using Jarcade... i had to completely uninstall the apk and reinstall to reset the keymapping - which sucks!

an example of the keycode issue was, for instance, button 1 (called switch 1 or "sw1") on the i-PAC2 keycode is the "Left Control" button on standard keyboard but for some reason, Jarcade did not recognize that - it would return a "?", as in it could not 'understand' the assignment.

so to get it to work properly, i have to pull my wires and and place them into pinouts assigned to keyboard commands that Jarcade 'understands' like "a", "z" etc and then use the button assignment in the 'options' of Jarcade to assign the physical pushbuttons to the the corresponding keys that i call out via software...

if that makes sense.

i haven't downloaded and installed MAME4DROID but i am curious if it 'understands' the default keycode for the i-PAC2.

did you check out my blog, it shows everything:
if you want a tiny controller, that is about the width of a 10" tablet, you need to use sanwa and seimitsu arcade parts - they are much smaller and standard on japanese arcade units. i found a guy on ebay that imports and sells at great prices, i have a mock up of a control panel that is completely made of lexan and is about 60% the footprint of my Happ-based controller. if you want pics, i can post...

MAME4Droid seems to accept new key assignments from a USB keyboard attached to my tablet. There is also a "Restore Keys" option that puts the key assignments back to default. Also, if you go to "Manage Applications" the app data can be cleared, which should get rid of any changes to any of the settings.

If I ever get the money (and time) to build an arcade controller (or two) I was looking at using Sanwa parts because of their smaller size. I don't particularly need a coffee table sized controller sitting around.
I installed and tested out MAME4DROID last night; button 1 (sw1) has the same issue that I encountered using Jarcade, apparently tablets do not have a "left control" equivalent (?); when I tried to map button 1 to "x" in the MAME4DROID options, it returned an "unknown" which is akin to Jarcade's "?". Then I had an 'AHA' moment - or in this case, a 'duh' moment; apparently I misunderstood Jaracde's "?" to literally be the "?" key which is not the case, I verified button operation/ mapping using the X-Arcade, web-based test utility at

Side note: the xgaming web-based utility (also available as a program on Windows-based machines) is a great item to have in your control-panel building toolkit as it works for any usb-based device.

Since I am using an i-PAC2 (which is made for 2-player) the hardware workaround for this issue is to simply lift the button 1 (sw 1) wire from the interface and use another input that the tablet/MAME4DROID/JARCADE "likes"... keymap for the i-PAC2 is available at - then click on "keycodes"; then to map button 1 to that new assignment in the emulator (Jarcade/ MAME4DOID, etc).

I have enough sanwa parts to built (2) control panels (8-button layouts). Will definitely be doing that for this project, the test of my original controller (the larger Happ-based one) was just to test out functionality.

Hope this info helps anyone looking to do something similar.

Would be nice to be able map via the MAME menu/ default.cfg file though... this way I wouldn't have to mess with the i-PAC2 default loadout - which is MAME-based to begin with.
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