Monday, September 04, 2006

Stage 13: Labour of Love

** Note: I'll try and get some photos of all this up ASAP - my digital camera is on the fritz, so I may have to resort to my cell phone camera. Meep.**

It figures it'd take me all the way till fucking Labour Day weekend to do any "real" work on this blasted contraption, but there you have it.

Sticking to my resolution re: the disposal of most of the antiquated arcade cab and monitor pieces, I spent a good deal of time on Saturday emptying the spare room (now dubbed "The Laboratory" courtesy of Speedbag) of all non-essential arcade pieces.

It was definitely a lot easier getting this shit out of the house than it was getting it in, a happenstance I attribute to the fact that everything wasn't soaking fucking wet and I wasn't nearing the edge of my sanity due to exhaustion.

As I continued to pile pieces of these two machines in front of my house, the usual funkadelic hipsters that inhabit my neighborhood were quick to arrive and poke through the rubble in search of kitchsy treasure. My new downstairs neighbor was surely pleased by the sight of a bandana-clad me dumping what looked to be the remnants of some kind of arcade explosion outside the house.

With the purging complete, I was left with the bare-bones of what I needed to get this sumbitch off the ground:

* Tetris arcade cabinet, gutted out to the hull
* X-Arcade Dual Joystick
* Beater PC to use as MAME brain
* Set of speakers to churn out sound
* Some extra wood & plastic, just in case

There was only one thing I needed now - a TV. Luckily for me, the Canadian Tire around the corner had one that was 99.9% exactly what I needed, and was a steal at under $100.

It had the curved CRT I wanted and was the size I craved, but the video inputs are int he front instead of in the rear, which will pose a cosmetic problem later but that was neither here nor there.

Arriving home with my new prize on my head, I immediately unpacked it and decided to try and "wedge" the new TV into the cab to see how it might fit once secured.

Imagine my surprise when I came to realize that the TV was a near glass-slipper fit, resting snugly and firmly on the brackets that had up until an hour ago been holding that old RCA arcade monitor. It was so nice a fit that all the plans I had been forging in my head about building a small shelf or constructing some kind of restraint system for the TV set were immediately made moot. This was a good omen indeed, given my legendary carpentry skills.

Next up was mounting the control sticks into the cab. I had spent considerable time trying to dream up a way to attack these things to the front of the cabinet without destroying the chassis or extensive woodwork.

Truly, the Arcade Gods were smiling on me at this point - the X-Arcade Dual slid directly into the hole left vacant by the now curbside Tetris controllers. There's a little bit of wiggle room on the right and left, and I had to gouge a hole in the square-frame of the cab to make room for the adapters in the back of the console, but all told this was another near perfect fit. A pair of bracket clamps is really all this would need to be firmly and securely in place, which all things considered is fucking great news.

Having completed these tasks, I finally wired in the PC (now retrofitted with the old TV-Out video card), and cranked the whole juggernaut to life. I stood back and watched as Galaga sprung to life before me on the TV. The resolution was a little fuzzy, but after some tweaking with the Video menu on the TV, I got the colors and crispness to what I though was the best this unit could offer.

Total time elapsed for the day: about five hours combined work. That sounds like a lot, but I easily spent double that just trying to make the old arcade monitors work, so really this was a great afternoon spent. Without jinxing this project, I'm literally on the homestretch now. It's a good feeling, to say the least.

Invigorated and flush with success, I moved onto my next task - fixing up the MAME Front End so that gamers could more easily navigate the game selections.


Blogger Jonathan Zinck said...

Wicked stuff! It's like reading "The Iliad"...without all the people dying, that is.


5:10 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

Clearly you didn't read the post about "Stage 3: So Many Corpses, So Little Time". That's the last time I use a non wetvac to try and clean up that much blood, let me assure you!


5:29 PM  

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