Thank you for the input. I totally understand your comments and the options that you described. I'm still digging into it a bit and trying to understand how all that works. I looked up the Hyperspin hard drives that you suggested and got a little more out of it. I'll explain my logic with my initial thoughts on the topic. Here comes another long post ...
I'm a pinball geek, not a video arcade geek. My interest and heart just would not be in to building my own multicade as I would rather spend that time working on pinball, my game room build, and whatever kind of cool technology I can add/build into my game room. I'm a 100% pinball guy. My wife is a 90% pinball girl, but likes to play (and sometimes drags me to play) some of the popular mame style arcade games (centipede, pacman, donkey kong, etc.) My kids, nieces and nephews are probably about 50-50. Some friends that have come over are not too into pinball and have said that they like arcade games. I can't force people to like pinball just because I love it so much, so I want those that like video arcade style games to have fun while they are over too. I would play a few mame games a week in the "arranged marriage honeymoon" with a multicade if I got one. Maybe that interest would increase once I own one with all those options, but I'm not counting on it - especially if it is just a mame gaming system.
My son, nephews and nieces think that Nintendo, game boy, playstation, etc are their nostalgic era game platforms. I understand the point that it is not the same to play those in a multicade. I've seen that this particular model that I am interested in can adapt to have those old game controllers for control too. I have to investigate that because that would help solve the "not the same" kind of issues. I hope I can do that. Bar stools will be provided for that, but would need to determine the right height to buy for those once I get it (if I get this model).
I have played Golden Tee with some golf friends. That would be a definite plus with this system for me. I would occasionally play that or the similar copycat games with those friends.
I'm really interested in the visual pinball and here's why. My wife wants to travel the country in a motorhome on occasional trips when we retire. My thoughts are that by then, they may have a fold up "virtual pinball" game setup that I can safely take with me on trips. Camping ... meh. Camping and having 100 different virtual pinball games to play with me when I get bored ... better ... maybe. Having a multicade with visual pinball would help determine if that is a interest option for me for the future.
Sound quality is important to me. With the 2.1 sound system in this particular one, I hope it sounds good. I know junk in = junk out though too, so hopefully the sound quality in the program on the popular games is pretty good. If I made one myself, I'm guessing the sound quality would not be all that great.
For me, I would rather put the money towards another pin. Heck, I saw this multicade over a year ago and think it is the best I've seen so far, but have not seen it "in-person". Since that year and a half ago, we have bought 4 pins in the meantime. But ... I do want to think of others and their gaming interests, so I think it is time for a multicade. Some of my friends would really like it and enjoy their visit better. The one with all the extra gaming on it that I pointed out and interested me might be a winner.
In the end, my interest is not there to build one. I'd rather work on my game room and just buy a multicade from someone that does love them and build many of them ... and that have already learned from their mistakes. Trying a demo of one of these in person will help "us" to make the decision. That being said, I want to also investigate if I can upgrade the software in the future with updated new games. I see that they keep adding more games to virtual pinball, so in a couple years, I may want to upgrade that software. Hopefully that is possible. Even if it is just buying another one of those hyperspin preloaded hard drives and plugging it in.
Question ... do multicades keep track of high scores on various games? Or are those stats lost in a multicade?