YTI York students build old-school arcade machine

Junior Gonzalez

Some YTI Career Institute students decided take a class assignment and turn it into a passion project in honor of their love of video games.

YTI Students built a fully-functional arcade machine as part of a project management course at the school

The students in the  Computer Systems Specialist (CSS) program, under the instruction of program director Jeremy Smith, collaborated to make an arcade machine with classic Nintendo titles such as Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.

“They really took this project and ran with it,” Smith said.

The students spent three months dividing the work that went into creating the machine, which included obtaining the right parts, designing a body, logo and wiring and programming the system.

The machine, called Error 404 Arcade, is named after a common error message given on disconnected or “broken” websites. Error 404 has the ability to play more than a dozen titles, according to Smith.

Student Taylor Blevin said his idea to make his own machine at home spurred the class project.

“I mentioned it, and they said, ‘Oh, maybe it’s not the best idea,’ but then (Smith) said it was a great idea and we came back to it,”  he said.

Blevin said he is now close to creating his own arcade system.

“I have everything I need except the wood,” he said.

The console  sits in the CSS classroom at YTI’s York campus, where students regularly play the machine, equipped with large, solid buttons and joysticks, along with the classic 8-bit video game music and sound effects gamers have come to love.

Students programmed a small, credit card-sized $35 computer known as Raspberry Pi to load emulation software to play the Nintendo titles on the console.

The class collaborated with YTI’s Computer-Aided Design (CAD) program to come up with a 3D logo with a bright red, retro font to house the machine.

“We really stress the hands-on here,” Smith said of the program and of YTI York in general, which has about 400 students.

Smith said he hopes to periodically take the console to the student lounge to have students play before or after classes.

“We have to be careful, though,” Smith joked. “These games are addictive.”