Papilio Arcade Platform

Table of Contents Papilio Arcade WikiHardware HackersGame EnthusiastsArcade Cabinet HobbyistsDemo VideoDemosceneHomebrew/ Indie Game DevelopersArcade MegaWingPapilio One 500KResourcesSupportPurchaseRequirementsLicenseImages Papilio Arcade Wiki Welcome to Gadget Factory’s Papilio Arcade Wiki – the ultimate hardware for arcade game hacking. Whether you’re a classic game enthusiast or developer, an arcade cabinet hobbyist, a demoscener, or […]

Papilio Arcade Wiki

Welcome to Gadget Factory’s Papilio Arcade Wiki – the ultimate hardware for arcade game hacking. Whether you’re a classic game enthusiast or developer, an arcade cabinet hobbyist, a demoscener, or hardware hacker, the Papilio Arcade is rife with possibilities for you to explore. Hack away, and learn through your own experimentation and study using the motherboards from arcade classics like Pac-Man, Frogger, Galaxian, Space Invaders, and more – all in one place, on one board – the Papilio Arcade. Only from Gadget Factory, your source for Hackable Hardware > Hack|Ware.

Hardware Hackers

Hardware hackers will appreciate that all of the game hardware definitions are completely open source. Full VHDL code is available and can be studied to learn more about classic Arcade hardware. Changes can be hacked into the hardware without any modification to physical motherboards. One single hardware board can become different classic motherboards.

Game Enthusiasts

The Papilio Arcade is based on an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) which allows the user to tell the hardware what to be – not just what to do. In addition to the Papilio Arcade’s ability to become an actual motherboard for classic games like Pac-Man and others, since it is FPGA-based it provides endless potential for other classic arcade and homebrew games to be added! There are several games that run now and we anticipate many more games to come. The Papilio Arcade Blaster App makes it easy to load games onto the hardware. The current games supported are:

Arcade Cabinet Hobbyists

The Papilio Arcade hardware does not have the overhead associated with running MAME on a computer. We designed the Papilio Arcade to eliminate the fuss of having to have a PC hooked up to, or be housed inside of, your arcade cabinet. Ours is a hardware solution – meaning no worries about keymapping, OS problems, or waiting during boot-up. A game is loaded to the Papilio Arcade hardware, and when power is applied it starts up just like the original game motherboard did at the arcades. Just plug in your cabinet and you’re ready to play.

Demo Video

Take a tour of the Arcade MegaWing and see it in action with Zetris, PacMan, and Frogger.


For demoscene enthusiasts the FPGA provides the ultimate in flexibility that allows you to create unique demos that have never been seen before. Full source code lets you hack together hardware that has never existed before, use the graphics from Pac-man and the audio from a C64 SID chip.

Homebrew/ Indie Game Developers

The Papilio Arcade is hackable arcade hardware, meaning that what you do with it is up to you. The possibilities are virtually limitless for homebrew and independent game development. Since the Papilio Arcade can be any of the four different hardware motherboards (or any combination of them) the sky really is the limit for the homebrew and indie crowds to develop original games using throwback hardware. We are currently working on a toolchain and “hello world” examples for the different hardware types.
Creating new and unique games is possible with ZPUino – a capable soft processor with everything you need to start writing games using the Arduino IDE. The ZPUino has an integrated VGA controller, YM2149 sound chip, VGA libraries, and code examples to get you started.

Arcade MegaWing

The Arcade MegaWing provides all of the arcade hardware in one convenient and easy to connect circuit board. It snaps into the Papilio One and gives it the necessary hardware resources to communicate with the outside world.

  • VGA Port – DB15 Female VGA connector capable of generating 4096 colors.
  • Stereo Audio Jack – 1/8″ Stereo jack with low pass filter is ready for CD quality Delta-Sigma audio output.
  • Joystick Ports – Two DB9 Male joystick ports accept Atari, Commodore, and classic arcade joysticks.
  • PS/2 Ports – Two PS/2 ports accept a keyboard and mouse.
  • 4 Way Buttons – 4 buttons in a plus configuration for user input.
  • 4 LED’s – 4 LED’s for user feedback.
  • Reset Button – A single reset button.

Papilio One 500K

The Open Source Papilio One 500K FPGA board is a powerful and flexible platform that provides the core for exciting projects such as the Papilio Arcade. It acts as the empty canvas that classic arcade motherboards can be recreated on. Its flexible nature means that it can be re-used with future Papilio projects by simply purchasing the MegaWing portion of a project.





  • The Arcade MegaWing does not include a VGA monitor or joystick.
  • A VGA monitor that can be turned sideways is recommended since many classic arcade games are hardcoded for a display mounted in a cabinet that is turned sideways. We are working on methods to rotate displays but as of now the arcade hardware faithfully recreates the sideways output.
  • The Arcade MegaWing requires the Papilio One 500K board. There are currently no games that fit on the Papilio One 250K board.


License for Papilio Arcade MegaWing is Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike Non-Commercial.


Papilio Arcade MegaWing

Click the images for full size hi-resolution views of the Papilio Arcade MegaWing.

Arcade MegaWing Schematic

Click the image to load a PDF version of the Arcade MegaWing Schematic

Assembly View

Click the image for a full size view of the boards part layout.

Source Article

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