So first off - that’s COOL! Gives me lots of ideas for a future build based on a 1 player station.
Second - I built this about a year ago, I didn’t paint it, used baltic birch plywood and poly’d it - looks AWESOME.
Here’s a pic at nearly the end of the build - yes those are pocket screws used to hold the whole thing together - HIGHLY recommended!
With the controls - I followed his layout exactly but now I’m in the process of developing a different controls layout based on games / playability over the past year. Obviously this was setup with many games in mind - there are a few that would use upward of 8 buttons, but a VERY few. Some use 6 buttons (my kids LOVE the fighting games, so this is a must) but most use 1 to 2 buttons. Adding things like a twist joystick (TRON uses this), a spinner (Tempest / Arkanoid) and possibly a trackball (many games) makes sense, but you’re obviously limited by space unless you build a huge control panel with all options.
Right now, I’m focused on rebuilding the panel with 6 buttons, a spinner and switchable 4 / 8 way joysticks (mine are 8 way right now and aren’t switchable) because a LOT of games really need a 4 way joystick or they’re unplayable, or unplayable if you want to actually do well at the game (Donkey Kong, PacMan come to mind).
One thing to note - many games require button mashing. One that comes to mind is Track and Field - my son LOVES that game. I built my panel out of 3/4 baltic birch ply because of this - I wanted it to be able to take the abuse. When I re-build this new panel, I want to ensure it’ll hold up, so I’ll probably build it out of 3 layers of 1/4 something. I do like how you reinforced the middle, just remember the button mashing problem!