During the winter break from my school, I felt a strange urge to play the retro games that I played in my childhood. Winter break meant that I was free from school, so I quickly googled few ways I can embrace the nostalgia. Google told me that I was left with few options:
Play the game without the station (through flash gaming sites);
Buy the game station;
Make my own station;
Of course, average person like me would probably choose the first option. But for some strange reason, I chose the third. (Now I think of it, I think it was because I could not save the progress for the games if I chose 1).
At this point, I did not imagine myself actually creating the entire physical Bar-top Arcade station. It was only after creating the console itself, I realized I could make this into something entirely different level.
Making the console (Raspberry Pi)
The very first thing I realized that I had to create was the emulation station. I realized that the perfect candidate for such task was a machine called Raspberry Pi. The process of installing was not that difficult - anyone with knowledge of computer and the physical machine can easily create one; Using the machine I easily installed the necessary software and tested it the console worked.
And it was at this point that I realized I could fully turn this project into something very big.
Making the (physical) Bar-top Arcade Station
Since I was able to create the emulation station, the two issues I had left was the physical station to hold the arcade console, and the controllers (I used a simple Logitech controllers before, but I wanted to make this project legit - for example, using the Joysticks).
With my experience at the Wood shop at my school I was granted access to the shop during the winter break. I quickly planned out the manufacturing process and jumped into the job right away.
Considering the durability and the ease of manufacture, MDF was perfect as a main material for the physical station. Laser cut and hands-on jigsaw cutting was applied to cut the shape of the station.
After cutting out the pieces, putting the pieces together was rather an easy job.
During the planning of the manufacture, I chose my color scheme for my project as black and blue. I used spray paint as my method to add the color.
Another element which makes the Retro Station more 'retro-ish' was applying the T-molding. Adding the T-molding was rather a tricky job since it did not stick into the allocated space quite well. I had to apply few tapes while the glue dries.
Also, I wanted to make this station as one solid product - in other words, I wanted my station to work without having the user to mess around with the cables, trying the plug or unplug ultimately confusing themselves. That seemed to take the joy away of using the product.
And finally, finalizing touches (Adding the Joysticks and breathing life into my child).
After creating the Bar-top Arcade Station, my life has changed - everyone glamoured at my masterpiece, putting themselves on the waitlist as a candidate to try out my station, I have established fame, power and envy from everyone around me. Just kidding, this project was a great fun, learned a lot and was worth the time. I think it shows my love towards technology, design and making. Mind you, I already have another project coming up soon. I can't wait to show you.