So, I have been working on a couple of projects for a while now. One is the “Day of the Dreamcast” series (out soon) and the other is my Retro-PC project. And while the “Day of the Dreamcast” project was never intended to take so long, the other is a project purposely spaced over several months. Which is going along nicely.
I have sorted (yes I said sorted) several game system roms including NES, SNES, Genesis, Gameboy & Gameboy Color, & GBA. And while I haven’t gotten anyway near finished, I am progressing at the speed that I like. Which is pretty much – I have no idea when I’ll be finished.
Of course, this project has turned up some nice gems. And if you haven’t seen them before – check them out here: Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, and Post 4. Now, I am the first to admit that these little gems were never the intention of the project. They are mere awesome bi-products. So, don’t complain about how it’s taking. (actually no one has done that . . .)
But what about the intention? How is that progressing? Well, I am doing okay. I work for a while – get bored – and come back later to do more work. To be honest, it can be a week or more in-between work sessions. However, a work session can last for an entire day. So, figure that one out . . . As I said before, I don’t really care on this one how long it’s taking – it’s for me and I will be finished when I am finished. Still, I need to consider the final form the project will take.
I never intended the ROMS to remain on my Mac. I have done this before on other PCs in the past to varying amounts of success. I just don’t want that anymore. Particularly with awesome videos such as the one below, I want something like it:
(You wanna see the pc – go to 3:22)
(To start seeing him talk about the PC, go to 4:42)See Part 2 Below
Now, I know that I am not up to making a computer such as the two above. And I have batted around the idea of putting computers inside a lot of gaming systems, NES, SNES, Famicom, SuperFamicom, Genesis, etc, but I have never really locked down what one I wanted – assuming that I wanted to do that all. However, I did like the idea of making a computer to play roms like the ones shown above. So without knowing what the hardware would be, I started sorting the games. I’ve put months into the project already and I am nowhere near done. And I am okay with that – I knew that this would take a while – but it’s a labor of love. Just gotta get through it!!!!
Still, I have to consider what I will end up using. I’ve kinda discarded the idea of building my own PC from scratch such as WesM did. It’s just not as cost effective or as easy to do as I would like (duhhh!!!!). So, I have been keeping my eyes open and I have found a few possibilities:
So, this little pc board is intended for kids and tinkerers who want to experiment for cheap. It was suggested that this could be used to teach computer science to kids. It is literally an entire computer contained on a single, self-contained board. And for my purposes this was pretty cool.
As you can see, the RaspberryPi is pretty cool and small – around the size of a iphone. With that size, I could fit it into any old system shell or just use an optional case designed for the RaspberryPi.
With this board, creating the hardware for my RetroPC wouldn’t be hard at all. However, the software would be an issue. I would be using Linux. Sure I like Linux better than Windows, but it is a lot harder to set up and mod. Plus, I would be using an version of Linux not set up for this purpose. This would mean a lot of extra work for me. And I am not even certain the board could handle the front-end. It could be a waste. Then again – it’s real cheap. So perhaps, it is worth it. Then again perhaps not . . .
2. Open Pandora
So, this is the world’s first open handheld (maybe). Anyway, it’s basically a handheld-Linux box designed to play games. But not just any games – ROMS!!!! It’s provably one of the neatest devices I’ve seen in a long time. Granted, this was not the original plan – I wanted them on my TV – but this could be a great option to take my gaming on the go. And with the ability to soft-mod it so easily, it could be truly awesome!!!!
Of course, unlike RaspberryPi, there are a lot of videos that represent this handheld (And What I wanna do):
The Promotional Video
Pandora System Review
Open Pandora Review
There are way more videos on it than this but this gives you an idea of what the system is like. It’s pretty awesome but it’s also pretty expensive. And hard-to-find. I couldn’t find it to give you an exact price, but I remember it going for $300 bucks or more. Which in comparison to it’s nearest competitor, the 3DS, it is a 175 dollars more than buying one. OUCH!!! Not sure I wanna pay out that much cash. But if you are interested, go to OpenPandora.com for more info.
This is something I only recently learned about. Apparently, a little while ago a kickstarter project was posted to help develop OUYA into a viable product. Not only was it fully funded, but they received over a seven and a half million more than they asked for. An awesome start for a great console! But before I talk about why I am interested in OUYA and why it is most likely going to be the choice for my RetroPC, why don’t you watch the video posted on their kickstarter page?
So now that you have seen the marketing message, what do you think? Is OUYA Cool? Well, it’s a lot cooler when you think about the emulators already available for the system and what could be to come. Since it is completely open, hackers can hack OUYA to do almost anything!! Now, I’ll admit that I wouldn’t be doing anything ground-breaking but I can think of some really cool shit that I can do with the system. All I need is something with programming skill to figure out how.
Of course, I wouldn’t be interested in OUYA without looking at reviews of the system. And while they show that OUYA is clearly no Xbox – it is pretty cool – and pretty cheap – just $99!!! But don’t take my word for it – take theirs:
Some reviews of the system:
GDC 2013: OUYA – Hands-On Preview
Ouya Hands-on Impressions
Will the $99 Ouya gaming console succeed?
Ouya hands-on review
Now one of the great benefits of OUYA beyond price & ease of hacking is the fact that this console is designed for games. I will have access to a possible treasure-trove of indie games available on their store. All of these apps will be made to play on OUYA & my TV. Which is pretty cool since the TV is one of my favorite places to play games. Now, I won’t get Hyperspin or MAME on this system (or the others either) but I still could get a great retro gaming experience plus the extra Indie on the top. Which is pretty awesome!!!
Watch below to see some of the cool games on the system
Plus, I just found out that OUYA will be featuring the OnLive! Streaming service. Which pretty cool since I have been on the fence whether or not to buy the OnLive! Service. Though it might hurt their own box’s sales. Then again they aren’t just on that thing, so maybe it doesn’t matter.
If I did get the OUYA and I wanted to maintain that retro look that the NES PC has, I could easily take OUYA out of it’s case and place it inside a classic console. I would most likely choose either a SNES, a SuperFamicom, or a Dreamcast. All these consoles have a great deal of meaning to me and look really cool. I would just have to find a dead one to rip it’s guts out. Of course, I may just end up keeping the OUYA as is.
Now, I am not saying that I am buying the OUYA for sure – just that the likelihood of me doing that is a lot higher than before. I really like the system and it’s potential. I might even be an early adopter. Which, if you know me, is rare. Congrats OUYA for making such an interesting little device – I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it comes out!!! And if you want to take a look at the OUYA, go to www.ouya.tv for more information. You’ll be glad you did.