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Thanks to Menard's 20.04% off New Year's sale, I decided that it was high
time to do something about the Game Room. It took six days, and it took more effort than I had expected, but the result is nothing short of
awesome. I present to you the result of my efforts: my game room - dare I
say it, my personal ROOM OF DOOM (appropriate respect to Digital Press implied)!
Taking on a project of this scope required three things:
- Motivation to "save big money" (well, at least during the time that we
were shopping at Menard's),
- Complete non-realization of what I was doing, and
- Gentle but firm prodding from the wife.
Here's a composite picture of what the game room looked like before:
Ouch. The picture represents about the BEST that
the game room ever looked. The walls were dark, one of the walls wasn't
done, and there were wires EVERYWHERE...
(This is actually a few pictures stitched together.)
Note that all the systems were above the TV, in a frustrating
arrangement that positioned controller wires right in the field of vision
whenever a game was being played. Also have a look at huge pile of wires
to the right of the TV set. Trying to make heads or tails of that
mess was impossible.
I am not a Type A personality - in fact, I could probably have
gone on like this for quite some time. The sad fact is, I didn't have much
time to invest in properly arranging many of my systems, and further, I had much
more to worry about throughout the house. However, I became aware of some
Everyone has goals when they take on a project of this size, and
you should, too. Here are some good reasons to consider a project like
Cabling. Cable management will allow you to expand
without conflicting with what you have, create a more friendly atmosphere, and
generally looks better to those Type A people that you know and love.
Expansion / Maximizing space. If you look at the
picture above, you'll note that a tremendous amount of space was wasted, simply
by putting games in the wrong space!
Personalizing Your Area - I hadn't really thought of my
game room as impersonal, but when I look at the difference between then and now,
I see how much more power has been injected into the room's look. I feel
more at home with a room that I've put some effort into.
General Organization - I not only updated the wiring and
added more systems, I updated how I run the room. Controllers have a place
to live, and games are more accessible.
the game room, in progress. You can, and SHOULD click on any of the
pictures for a larger view. The first part of the "big redo" was
painting the walls white and dark red. It took 2 coats of primer, and 3 coats
of paint. Those walls were DARK - the picture above doesn't do the room
"justice" - it looked like a hunting lodge in there, and looked as if
we didn't have any lights!
If you pay attention to the forums, you'll probably notice
that some of this detailed information has already been posted... But
here, I'm trying to make a "cohesive" story. In the game room, I’ve adopted a modular, clean approach. All the
power is managed, so that I don’t have to unplug any of my game systems; I can
just turn a power strip on and off. Here are the geeky details: The power is managed through 6 power strips and three utility cords, of
which, you can only see 1 power strip (if you look carefully, you'll see 2).
Four of the power strips plug into one "main" power strip, which also has
surge protection. AV connections are managed by 4 switches and a Coax switch. The SVideo
systems plug into one
TV input, and the 3 composite switches (with 2-3 systems on each switch) plug into one other
TV input. The effect is that there is a button on each switch that actually takes the signal from the next switch in the
line. The Coax Switch (diagrammed at the end of this article) is to
cleanly manage the signal "conflict" arising from wanting very old systems
hooked up with cable TV - I didn't want everything all in a line, because I
wanted a clean signal from my cable company.
There are 17 distinct systems connected to the TV, however, you'll also see 5
portable / tabletop systems in the picture, for a total of 22 systems in this
Check out the pictures below to compare the new look. You'll notice
that you can't see any wires (well, you can see a FEW, but not many!). The
fact that I now have 17 systems hooked up means that there are at least 7 more video game systems
ready to play, and it's a lot easier to
access the video games. Instead of plugging in all the controllers for the systems
(and having a HUGE wire tangle), I've put all the controllers in the box down by
the TV (see the pictures below). Inside this wooden box, I have a plastic bin,
and inside that, the controllers are in plastic bags, arranged by system.
Main System Rack, top shelf, and my "key" games (a few for each
system). Other games are stored in the closet in the back of the room, and
in the storage area of my basement (in another room).
(Click on this second picture to zoom in)
case you're curious, here are the systems that I have hooked up, or in the room
(click the picture to zoom in):
Nintendo Entertainment System
Turbo Grafx 16 (with CD-ROM)
Atari 10-in-1 joystick
Sega Genesis (with CD-ROM and 32X)
Sega Master System
Game Boy Advance
Sega Game Gear
Pac Man table-top game (by Coleco)
I think I might put some Space Invaders on the
- check that page out to see what I'm talking about.
on the wall:
Top Left - Press Pictures, SubTerrania, Genesis (yeah - I need to change this
to something that's "collector worthy")
Bottom Left - Press Picture, Top Load NES - the top load NES controllers,
when released, were NOTABLY different than in this picture.
Middle - Autographed pictures of Ken Williams, founder of Sierra Online, and
"Those Two Guys From Andromeda" Mark Crowe and Scott Murphy (creators
of the Space Quest series).
Top Right - Press Picture, CDi - I'm not sure if this model ever came out,
but I've been looking for it to confirm. The picture of the Turbo Duo that
used to be there dropped in this remodelling, and the glass broke, so I replaced
Bottom Right - The Edge 16 modem for the Sega Genesis. Unreleased.
The wire racks were $12.95 at Target. ("Organize-it 6 Wire Organizer
Cubes") I am using 2 packages of rack material (maybe part of a third).
At any rate, less than $40 spent. The cubes can be configured virtually
any way that you want. Cable management is being done with plastic
wire-ties. I solved the problem of short cords through the use of these wire cubes and
through creative wiring. As I mentioned before, you'll see a a coax switch and
a Coax splitter. With older systems, the cords are quite short.
Basically, I use this switch and splitter to extend the run from the Atari /
older systems with Coax
cable, rather than the cables that came with the systems. In the wire cube,
I've actually mounted another power strip and appliance cord. That solves
the power length problem. Look at the wire cube just above the Odyssey^2, where the Atari 10-in-1 is -
you'll see the switch mounted outside the cube (gold color), and inside you'll
see the splitter (also gold).
Here's the splitter / coax switch setup (click to zoom):
All told, I consider the project a success, and I'm glad I undertook it. It was a bit on the imposing side (it was a larger project than I had anticipated), but it's friendly, inviting, and best of all - it begs you to come play.