For the truly hardcore gamer, a do-it-yourself arcade cabinet is the ultimate expression of fandom; other people, it seems, are willing to settle for cardboard boxes and packing tape.

A Street Fighter fan by the name of James was recently given one of the swankest-looking DIY arcade cabinets I’ve ever seen, put together by a pair of his friends for his birthday. The unit took about 4.5 hours to build over a five-day stretch and includes a Street Fighter IV FightStick and plenty of awesome cabinet art.

“[We] handsawed several panels of wood, then nailed in about 100 nails and we come up with this ugly, ugly POS,” co-builder Steve Sy told Kotaku, describing the cabinet’s inauspicious beginning. But after picking up a FightStick he’d found on Craigslist, Sy returned to find considerable progress had been made on turning the cabinet into a work of art.

“[I] come back to our apartment to see [co-builder Michael] Figge putting the finishing touches on a now-pretty-amazing looking arcade,” he continued. “It took four people to carry to Figge’s car when we encountered the biggest failblog moment of the whole adventure. The cabinet wouldn’t fit in Figge’s car.” Fortunately, they were able to borrow a station wagon from another friend and successfully deliver the cabinet in time for their friend’s birthday.

Not everyone has the skills to build such a fantastic case, of course, or friends they care about enough to make the effort worthwhile. For them, something like the TrashCade might be more appropriate: A home-built arcade cabinet made from cardboard boxes and tape. TechEBlog describes it as a one-time-use cabinet, noting, “The X-Arcade joystick seems to be crushing the box it’s sitting on, ensuring the cabinet’s inevitable collapse.”

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