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Dat Collection Tho (12023-06-30)

brook > pcs > consoles

Consoles and Handhelds

You might say I'm something of a collector. Something I liked to collect was old game systems. Here's how that went.

Short Version





The Journey

Childhood (11996-12003)

My first console, which I still have, was a SNES I got for my 5th birthday. I later also had a Nintendo 64, PlayStation (modchipped), and Game Boy Color that later later mysteriously vanished. Great memories from this era of Super Mario All-Stars, the Spyro trilogy, Kirby 64, and Pokémon Blue.

The 12000s were a bit chaotic. I ended up with a GameCube as my main system, the family had a PS2 for a while, and there was an XBOX at my mom's house. I also got a GBA SP that I still own, a PSP that I never had games for (until now ofc), and a DS that I gave to my cousin when I picked up a DS Lite.

There was also a bit of a weird stage where I got really, really obsessed with Pac-Man related games and the 8-bit Final Fantasys. On the top of my wishlist for a while was the WonderSwan Color, but I settled for a Neo Geo Pocket Color when the used game store in our area didn't have one.

Teen Ages (12004-12010)

From then on I usually emulated most systems to play interesting games I didn't have at the time, namely in the Kirby and Metroid series. Moving around so often meant my SNES and GameCube stayed in a box while I played id Software classics on my PC.

There was briefly a period where we picked up a NES and a handful of games. That particular unit hadn't aged well and kept glitching up, but it planted the seed of appreciation for slapping in a cartridge and picking up a controller.

Adulthood (12011-12016)

I later got fully bitten by the Authentic Experience™ bug and dived into the expanded retro gaming library being offered on the Amazon Marketplace. A new PS2 Slim, 160GB PS3 Slim, and PSone were my next buys.

Sega hardware was a complete mystery to me until I started watching Classic Game Room on YouTube. After I had, a Dreamcast was something I had to own. I next picked up a Master System due to not knowing the Power Base Mini FM existed, followed by a Genesis Model 2. Most recently, I got a model 2 Sega Saturn because I finally had room for one on my new desk.

I do also have an XBOX and 360, but I've been more focused on getting games for older consoles. Speaking of old, I snagged an Intellivision II and System Changer (Atari 2600 compatibility addon) for relatively cheap.

After those, my next consoles were a basic edition Wii U (since I slept on the Wii) and a new-old-stock PlayStation TV which had firmware old enough to let me install the original Henkaku exploit. I also picked up an Evercade due to not knowing the consolized VS variant would soon exist.

At one point I was also interested in the Intellivision Amico, but that kept not-happening. The TerraOnion MegaSD and Super SD System 3 also seemed compelling until I learned about the MiSTer project. A Vectrex would also be cool to own, but those flew out of acceptable price range a long time ago.

Decline (12017-12021)

I skipped Generation 8 (Switch/PS4/XB1) to wait and see whether Gen 9 consoles would be backwards compatible. Current plans are to pick up a PS5 Slim when they're available, hopefully with a second-generation VR headset bundle. I also still have to get a 3DS and work my way through that backlog.

Because Nintendo and Microsoft are being themselves, I've decided to pass on any consoles they make, as of the Switch and Xbox One.

Seems like things are going to head the digital-only (or streaming) route sooner or later, and I share Ross Scott's stance on that one; when that happens, I'm pretty much done. I prefer to own media, not rent licenses. With a disc, I can still play something decades after relevance.. and I'm going to need that long to catch up lmao

Optimizing (12022-12023)

(Photo of my desk with a ridiculous 13-console 2 VCR A/V mega-setup.) (Photo of a vastly less cluttered desk with half the hardware on it.)

While I prefer the experience of real cartridges and controllers in my hands, as time goes on that's starting to seem less practical and worthwhile. It eventually started feeling like I have too many things I don't use, in a too complex setup. That plus the collector's market exploding, driving prices way up, led me to start considering alternatives.

The MiSTer project is quite interesting! One of those could serve as a full replacement for half the hardware that previously decorated my desk. Plus, romsets for the supported consoles and handhelds are both small and easily found. So, that seems like the best way to minimize and declutter.

The other half of this equation is using flashcarts and softmods on (most of) the consoles I've decided to keep. An ED64plus is a one-and-done instant collection for the Nintendo 64, the Wii U can be hacked to run GameCube games (because boy howdy did those get fuckin' expensive), FunTuna for the PS2 allows ISO loading, and an R4i cart with GBArunner and GameYob handles every game for Nintendo handhelds up to the DS. Normally I'd also consider slapping an ODE into my Dreamcast, but it's one of the unsupported VA2 variants, so the only option there is a serial-SD adapter.

The Setup

But what about actually playing the games? The way I have my desk set up makes that easy.

The Dreamcast takes up PC5014's otherwise unused VGA connection to the KVM, which splits to a Trinitron CRT and HDMI converter. An HDMI switchbox then outputs to a YPbPr converter, to an AVermedia Game Capture HD II, which leads to my monitor's DVI port and soundbar's analog audio input.

The consoles stuck using 480i are fed through a PVM, either via a VCR or S-Video, then to a USB capture device (Diamond VC500).

Once I'm able to get my hands on a MiSTer, which will replace the hardware I removed from this setup, the only systems I won't be able to record without resorting to software emulation will be the (3)DS and 3DO. Yet here I sit, watching random jackasses on YouTube talk about games instead of actually playing them for myself.

[Listen]Listen to "Kenji Yamamoto - Green Brinstar" on YouTube?

[Nav]In too deep? Perhaps you could use a Roadmap.