Archive for August, 2011

Putting my Android hot-water bottle to use

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 | Gadgets, Tech-savvy | 1 Comment

I would say that tablets are the most overrated and useless inventions of late (okay, wify is quite happy fiddling with it …).

Yet now I finally found a use for my tablet that justifies its existence. Thank you, Jack!

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Thursday, August 18th, 2011 | Misc | 3 Comments

 days,  hours,  minutes (~  years or  months or  weeks)

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HyperSpin Arcade Box Project – finally I got started

Saturday, August 13th, 2011 | Activities, Gadgets, Tech-savvy | 1 Comment

For years I have been fascinated with emulation. As a kid it was very expensive and sometimes almost impossible (e.g. Nippon imports) to get hold of console games. Today my cellar is full of vintage stuff, consoles, cartridges, floppy disks, even arcade JAMMA boards – you name it. Some time ago I stumbled across HyperSpin, an emulator front-end that literally blew my mind. Since I had first seen it in action I have been longing to set up my own arcade box. I think I share a common sense with these guys (Beyond the Game; an upcoming documentation of video game culture):

The summer of 2011 will go down in history books as one of the coldest ever, so last weekend I spent a rainy afternoon indoors and finally ordered some hardware to start working on my childhood dream (or rather one of the items on my “Things to do before I die”-list).

Emulation in general has been around for a couple of years now, so emulating Pac-Man and the like really is no challenge for modern computers. Even more complex systems like the Super Nintendo or even Nintendo 64 work pretty flawlessly on my Atom based HTPC. The only thing that needs some horse power is HyperSpin itself (and maybe PlayStation emulation). It’s crazy to spend money on hardware for the sole reason to make the front-end run smoothly because the emulator itself runs fine anyway 🙂 I read quite a few forum posts about that issue – problem is: you want that fancy front-end? Then give it horse power. I will repost the video of the front end again, so that you can see what I mean by “fancy” 🙂

Anyway, my old P4 was definitely not fast enough as the base system for my arcade box. So I launched my favourite retailer’s system configurator and looked for the cheapest CPU you can still buy new. It was an Intel Celeron E3400 2.6 GHz. (Who would have guessed that I ever buy a crippled processor? I didn’t!) The CPU had almost three times as much power according to its Passmark score, so I thought I’d give it a try.

A few days later the stuff arrived. Like a kid that unwrapped the new Lego Castle I started to assemble the parts. Hardware setup was done in a breeze, Windows installation was tedious as always. (No Linux here, HyperSpin requires Windoze … unfortunately.) The processor turned out to be the bare minimum for HyperSpin (Win7 runs okay, WinXP needed some overclocking). So if you want to build your own arcade: maybe go for something slightly faster.

Anyway, the PC is hooked to an old TV now, I enjoy playing Zelda’s A Link to the Past again and I have no idea when I will find the time/motivation/resources to continue my home-made arcade. I will keep you posted. Here is a little draft of the controls I am thinking of:

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