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The DIY Road to Retro Gaming – Part 1

I have been a lifelong video game player, and when I played my first game of Combat on the Atari (the term “gamer didn’t even exist at the time). I was 4 or 5 years old, and I remember being captivated and amazed. Growing up, I remember going to the grocery store or laundromat and seeing the arcade machines they had in there: PacMan, Galaga, Donkey Kong, and I also remember begging my mom and dad for quarters so I could take my turn. It was then that “I knew”. WHEN I GROW UP, I HAVE TO HAVE ONE OF THESE IN MY HOUSE (do we ever really grow up?)!

One other little detail about myself; growing up, my family and those of my closest friends didn’t have a whole lot of money, so as children, we didn’t always have the latest and greatest clothes or toys. Most of the time, we made do with hand-me-downs from older siblings or relatives, or we made our own with the common found objects we had lying around, which, as I look back on my life, gave me a strong (much to the chagrin of many others around me) “DIY” attitude.

Fast forward and, while I had accomplished many things in my life, I still had not fulfilled my life-long dream of having my own arcade machine in my house. I had, like many of you, who have the same desires as me, a variety of home consoles, starting with the NES, SNES, N64, PC, Xbox, Xbox 360, and finally Xbox One. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all my home consoles, there was always something missing. If you are like me, you know exactly what I mean. There is no better feeling than playing a game with a joystick and mashing arcade buttons.

So about a year ago, I came across a YouTube video on how to build your own arcade:

Credit: The Wood Whisperer

What?! Build your own?! How can this be? It has to cost tons of money, right? It has be so hard as to border on the impossible. All these things were running through my mind. Now mind you, I have built a ton of DIY projects: tables, patio furniture, book cases, Halloween costumes, even my own Star Wars-style lightsaber that I can duel with (actually, I built 4 or 5 so my friends and I could live out our Jedi/Sith LARPing fantasies), but it had never occurred to me that I might actually be able to build my own arcade machine.

As I started to research and devise my master plan, I started to answer these questions and ask many others. Yes, you can build your very own arcade machine. No, you don’t have to cancel your kids’ college fund, it’s actually quite affordable. No, it’s not “rocket science”, you can build your own with relative ease.

So, here I am inviting you to come along on a recap of the last year I have spent rediscovering my passion for arcade games, combining that with my “can-do DIY” attitude and the first steps to bringing them home to where they belong……. right into my very own MANCAVE!!

Stay tuned as I begin my journey in Part 2 soon.

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