Modding Aspirations

Posted on Friday, April 08, 2011 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

As if I needed anything else to occupy my time, I've decided I want to start making modded game gadgets. Now, I know what you're going to say. I constantly set goals for myself that I never follow-through on, but maybe if I actually write these aspirations out this time I'll make good on them.

I've thought a lot about a possible career path for my life, and one of the front runners has always been an electrician. I don't have a lot of electrical experience apart from a college prep class I took in high school, but I think I'd take to it pretty well. Making a hobby out of tinkering with that kind of thing would surely help me out when I started to take new classes to brush up on it before pursuing it as a career.

So, here are some projects I hope to get started on soon, provided I can find all the necessary parts and figure out a way to afford a soldering iron and dremel.

Portable NES with games on chip:

Awhile back I found this site, which details how they built a portable NES with 50 or so built-in games using one of those Mega Joy/Power Player/Play Joy/Whatever plug-and-play things you find at booths in the center of the mall during Christmas time. Mine would be a little bit different, given that the screen and plug-and-play unit she used are impossible to find now, plus I'd use one of my old GameBoys and take a dremel to a crappy game to fit in the cartridge slot and keep it plugged up without taking up real estate inside. But provided I can find a plug-and-play unit with sufficient games on it I think this would be a fun and easy enough project to tackle.

Portable SNES

This project will require a little bit more tweaking but I think it's fairly simple enough for me to figure out. This walkthrough is for building a handheld NES, but I might change it up and do an SNES instead so I can play some awesome RPGs from that era while taking poops. Of course, I don't own an SNES with which to hack apart, so I might just go at one of the multiple NESs I have so I've got a portable version to play all my cartridge games on. I'd also probably find a cooler case to cut up and craft to my needs then what that guy used.

Something with my PSP?

My PSP-1000 is pretty much boned at this point -- just freezing about 10 seconds after turning it on. There has to be something awesome I can make out of that. At the very least I could take that awesome screen and use it for another project, but there's gotta be some way I can turn it into an emulation machine. That may be a bit over my head at this point, but it's on the table.

MAME Cabinet

I've got a refurbished Captain America arcade cabinet wasting space in my parent's basement. I'd love put it to use as a MAME machine. The monitor works great already, so that and the cabinet are two huge expenses saved. I'd probably see if I could take my really old computer, wipe the hard-drive, get a slightly better video card and slightly more memory and storage, then see it I could hook it up. The person who adapted the cabinet to Captain America put in two joysticks but only four buttons, so I'd probably add more as well as a trackball. Then I'd make a slide out underneath the controls for the keyboard and mouse. This is, of course, the ultimate culmination of my fantasy modding hobby, but I think I could handle it.

So there you go, those are the goals and aspirations that I've created for myself after a couple of days of thinking. Feel free to hold my feet to the fire on this stuff, because I could probably use the help.

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