Friday, January 16, 2009

Retro-1980s-Arcade-Machine Part 2: Up the Ante

It arrived!
The glorious TankStick! And it is even more wonderful than I had imagined...

Bask in its glory for a minute:
(Click the picture to see it full-size.)

(Did you click the picture to see it full-size? You haven't basked in its glory until you've done that!)

However, this presents me with a problem. Several problems, in fact:
  1. The laptop's screen is smaller than the gray screen on the side of the above picture. That is not going to be big enough! The 24-inch 'big monitor' in the above picture seems adequate--if just barely.
  2. The old laptop itself will work fine for any game released in the 1980s, but I know I'm going to want more. I imagine I'm going to want to play some of the cool fighting games, and the 10-year-old laptop probably just isn't up to the task.
  3. The laptop isn't recognizing the trackball for some reason. (that reason being that it's a PoS (Point of Sale??) or, rather, XP is doing to it what Vista is doing to my current desktop!) The trackball works like a mouse when in Windows, but once a game starts...nothing. Probably a driver or setting issue, but that's annoying.
The pretty-good news is that all the above problems can be solved at very reasonable prices at Re-PC. Or I just revert to my idea of using my current desktop (reverted to XP or older OS or Linux) as the base machine for the arcade system when I upgrade to a better one. (Soon, I hope!)

But I digress... Remember how I mentioned that the laptop screen was too small? This one seems about right. But I can't build it into a cabinet. Hmmm, what to do...

What to do? Have some fun while I decide what to do!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Retro-1980s-Arcade-Machine Part 1: Destroy a laptop

GOAL: Build a table-top retro arcade machine from an old computer.
Target completion date(s):
  1. June 2009: Best!
  2. September 2009: Good!
  3. Ever: Acceptable.
After initially thinking that my current desktop PC would work great, I decided to switch to an old laptop because that would save space and make the cabinet lighter. First I decided to remove the screen and see what I found. This is a Dell Inspiron 7500 laptop. I think it has a P3 chip, I don't remember the chip speed. Good enough, though, to run 25-year-old games with.

I had to remove the keyboard to get the screen off.

Here are things all taken apart. I was a bit worried that I would screw everything up at this point. Oh well, no risk no reward!

Ever wonder what the back of an LCD screen looks like? No? Well it looks like this!
I will need to get two 'extension cables' to make this work in the cabinet. One is that green ribbon cable and the other is the pink-and-white power cable. I (HOPE!) neither of those are difficult to find at a used PC parts store... That little card just sitting there is part of (or all of) the video card, I think. Not sure, don't really care, I'll just keep it connected after the modification.

Plug the things back together and it still works. How about that! I was a little surprised, myself.

That's right, baby! This is what it (will be) all about!!!

I leave you with two words smushed into one that I ordered today:


Google it.