Crafting: This is so 90’s Dudes!

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I had this leftover solar cell powered wagging thing that my dad gave to me from his store. It wagged a sign from side to side and when he wanted to get rid of it I snagged it 5+ years ago. I always envisioned myself adding an arm or something (move your arm from side to side, come on, get on the show, do the Mario!) and had envisioned a Mario arm, Wario arm or maybe even one of Ash Ketchum holding a Poké Ball. I also thought of adding a wagging floating head but gave up on that concept early, it had to be a hand!

Being in a SEGA phase at the moment I decided to add a waving 90’s arm holding a Genesis/ Mega Drive controller. I tried to draw it as 90’s as possible (think 90’s Nickelodeon and Beavis and Butthead) and I knew it had to have a bandaid and lots of imperfections. This image doesn’t make it justice because of the glare and such, and the fact that I can’t add a video on here without a hassle (the last one of the flickering TV screen caused by using an NES AC Adapter on a Sega Mega Drive was a hassle to upload) so this will have to do.

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Crafting: Custom DS Boxes. Again!!

“Seriously, what’s wrong with this guy, all he ever does is showing all those custom DS boxes he makes, what’s with that?”

‘Cause they’re AWESOME. That’s why! And this time I finished 13 of them, leaving 7 empty cases to fill up. And this time I have a neat little trick to show you! They say necessity is the mother of invention… nay, I say. NAY!!

LAZINESS is the mother of invention! CONVENIENCE or FEAR even!! Let’s explain this to you with an example of mine.

2015-12-17 15.13.24Earlier they told you to use hobby knives, cardboard cutters or an electric angled saw, but all of those can cut your fingers up. Knives and blades take strength and patience when you cut through those plastic tabs too. This looks risky, right? Well, don’t fret! Here’s the perfect solution for you!

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This little bugger is all you need to easily remove those tabs! Just get a firm hold and twist those tabs clean off! If there’s anything left you can use those knives to shave off  what little imperfection and bump that might be left. This takes half the time needed and gives the same result with less risk of cutting your fingers.

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My Messi workspace (pun intended)

 

Alright, I wanted a case for this bootleg Game Boy cart, 82 in 1,  that I got in Spain for more than 10 years ago. I chose this one amongst the stack of bootlegs they had, and it turns out I did good. The glossy box was thrown away a long time ago though. The cart doesn’t contain 82 games at all, but rather about 10 or so with alternating titles, and even though you can use it on the GBC and GBA it’s full of original GB titles. You get to play Othello (which isn’t an awesome RPG as they want to lead you to believe on the cover, but rather the game with the same name), Castlevania Adventure, Spiderman 2, Bugs Bunny’s Crazy Castle, Tetris, Battletanks and Bomb Jack to just name a few. A solid selection of games, and Tetris works with Link Cable support too! 2015-12-17 15.12.54

Here’s the cart itself. But I wanted the cover to be different! Unique!! So this below is what we got. If I make a cover by scratch I add symbols and such but leave the barcodes be. In this one I went to great length to remove the “Original” and “Official” texts on the Nintendo Seal and the Game Boy Game Pak Seal. Hah! That was amusing to me.

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I decided against better judgement to make a cover for Shrek Swamp Kart Speedway for the Game Boy Advance. The game is pretty much crud and a blatant Mario Kart Super Circuit knockoff with half the framerate. Stay away! For me it’s worth to own as a novelty item and to show off to people who can’t believe this kind of game was made in the ’00’s…

So I took the opportunity to mock the game! The blurb is authentic and all, but the rest of the text, layout and images are custom made by yours truly.2015-12-17 15.12.15

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T’was a good day, sirs and madams! A good day indeed!

Video Game Crafting: Watch Me!

watch

 

I opened up a 2 Euro watch and added a Nintendo Seal of Quality sticker as the background, and then I crudely marked the hours. It looks crude, but this is the best I could do with the tools I had (none, that is). I’m hoping to create my own custom video game- themed clocks, and I’ve done a few with discs as bases and even another World Map themed one on the base of a plastic stand for my wife before, so I have some experience at the least. I’ll have to design them in the computer first though, but I’ll be sure to show them off to you when they-re done. I really, really hope they turn out better than this one though!

Video Game Crafting: The Infinite Race Around The Hat

Super Mario Kart It’s done! Thank you Emily King for the idea! I wanted to add some kind of bond for the hat on top of the custom Game Boy stand that I’d made, and I got the suggestion to make one with a Super Mario Kart theme (which is an awesome suggestion by the way). What took time was settling on the design and then to actually print it. The circumference was larger than the average A4 sheet, so I had to print an extra black strip and Blu-Tack them together. Enjoy the results below! I know I sure am.

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As you can see I found a Wario sprite, even though he’s not in the game. That just shows how much of a Wario fan I am!

I also changed the SCART cable labels into something tidier. I printed new labels with my Dymo Label Maker using plastic paper:2015-06-01 13.31.06

Game Room Update: Photo Frame

I’ve wanted to emulate that video game store feeling for quite some time, for nostalgic reasons, and one way of doing that is using a screen to play gameplay footage of “retro” games in the background.

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Initially I thought of using a fat CRT TV or something like that, as that’s what they used to replay taped game footage in the stores I used to visit as a kid, but they’re bulky and there are no economical ways to replay the footage if you wouldn’t connect it to a VHS player.

The criteria I wanted fulfilled were the following:

  • A screen of small size
  • The ability to playback video and sound without additional hook-ups
  • A sleek look and not too big, but not too small either

I found this in this Hama 15” screen, which is really huge for being a digital photo frame! It came with a remote, which facilitates things even further, and looks sleek and has a good picture quality, and decent speakers.

I had some problems with it at first, as I used Cyberlink Powerdirector to edit the videos but that led to them being converted into huge files of easily 3-4 times their original sizes. The encoding that was used, even though this photo frame is supposed to handle AVI, MPEG-1 and MPEG- 4 well, made the system unable to play up the videos too. Usually  it’d play the sounds only, which was a bummer.

This time I downloaded some gameplay videos and directly converted them into AVI files in 480p, which gave a good result that was playable on this device, without editing them and whatnot. This also kept the file size down.

Here you have the final result:

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The screen playing gameplay footage of Sonic the Hedgehog 2IMG_4846

Super Mario Bros. 3 Overworld Map IMG_4849

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 title screen IMG_4853Even some Arcade delight as in the Japanese version of Donkey Kong! I honestly can’t see the difference between this and the original version…

The following games were included into the reel: Super Mario Bros. 3, Donkey Kong (Arcade), Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Streets of Rage 3, Rampage (Arcade), Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land, The Legend of Zelda, Pacman, Pokémon Red. Super Mario Sunshine, Terminator 2: The Arcade game, TMNT IV: Turtles in Time.

More are yet to come, and these were the first ones I came to think of when I factored in games I like and games I have a nostalgic connection to. I tried to mix games from different consoles and platforms.

The files are in AVI format and range from 70 – 500 mb (the smallest file being Super Mario Bros. 3 and the largest SSMB 4 for the Wii U) and range from between 2 minutes to 20 or so minutes. The colors display perfectly and the picture has no lag, 480 p is a great quality for this photo frame and the sound is superb.

Gamecube Controller Button Swap Mod

megaman-anniveMega Man Collection for the Nintendo Gamecube has one serious problem, and that´s the fact that the A and B buttons are swapped for some reason, My theory is that they wanted to use the big and green A button as some intuitive way for kids to Fire and the smaller red B button as the means to Jump. There are two problems with this. The first one is that the ones more likely to buy the game would be older fans (kids don´t want older games with outdated graphics) and the second one is that there is nothing intuitive about swapping buttons like that at all.

Anyhow, I needed a solution for it and Googled for “Gamecube Controller Button Swap” and saw this post by someone who wanted to swap the buttons around to fit Virtual Console and GBA games better, and used it as a base to how to make it happen. It was at first a daunting task, since I was nervous I’d break the controller (even though I got a decent 3rd party one to mess around with!) but eventually I got it right. I’ll guide you through my process Step By Step (like the show, remember it?). In the end I considered it being worth it, since re-training decades worth of gaming experience, where you’ve been taught that A-button Jumps and B-button Shoots, is a no-no. I don’t want to cripple myself for a single game!

First step was to assemble everything I thought I’d need:

  • A Samurai screwdriver kit, to open up video game cartridges and systems. Click the name to get to the post where I use it to replace internal batteries in Gameboy Game Paks.
  • A Soldering iron. I’m really not good with this, but I did manage not to get burned.
  • Solder. You know, that poorly-controlled metal that easily transforms into fluid state just to harden when you don’t want it to.
  • Some wire, this one was insulated and therefore a wee bit too thick because of that.
  • Some electric tape. Not the shocking kind, remember.

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bild 2First you open the sucker up, removing the front of the shell, and noticing how this 3rd party controller doesn’t have a protective plastic film over the circuits, as the original controllers do. Neat, that saves me a lot of trouble having to scrape it off. The Rumble Pak-thingy of the controller is right behind the board and right where the cord enters the shell.

Then I removed the buttons, because, let’s face it, it’s the area beneath them that’s interesting. If you just wanted to change the buttons and the rubber beneath them, it’d be bild 4wise to stop reading here. Otherwise, continue reading!

One can see how the circuits move and how they connect quite clearly on this 3rd party controller, but in all honesty it’s not as clear on the original one, if I recall correctly. Check the original post if you’re curious. Anyhow, now the time had come to begin scraping.

bild 5You have to scrape off the copper leads that connect the A and B buttons to the board, and who subsequently lead the signal into the Gamecube. You have to cut them clean off, and since I had a hard time seeing how much copper was actually left, I kept going until I felt the typical resistance of the plywood board underneath. When you’ve reached that point (in other words the point of no return) you stand before one of the toughest handyman tasks I know- soldering. Just don’t get burned! And make sure to have a clean tip on the soldering iron as a dirty tip will make it harder to solder, and it will also take longer to melt the solder. At least, that’s what my limited experience soldering tells me. That, and the small snippets of information I remember from class. I also remember the intense pain you get when you burn yourself, luckily, when I grew up that kind of injury was considered acceptable and there were no laws preventing me from learning to respect injuries.

Think of the next step as if you are going to connect water pipes and, if you must, attach abild 6 moustache to feel like Mario if it’s important to you. You simply have to redirect the wires so that when you press the A-button, the wire will lead it into the copper lead for the B-button, and vice versa. If you get it wrong, or if the solder doesn’t connect properly, don’t fret. It’s perfectly possible to heat the solder up again and remove it so that you can try again.

Here’s both of them connected. Notice that insulation on the second, uppermost wire? I was able to close the shell properly, but if you imagine the rubber pads laying over these bild 7wires, then it’s easy to understand that it prevented the buttons to get good contact with the board, making them useless. But you can still insulate the wires, in another way, so remove that junk (which I managed to burn with the soldering iron, producing a nasty smell). Rip it off, with all your might!

 

And here’s the end product, both of the wires clumsily attached with an excess of solder, bild 8insulated with electric tape, and producing a great result. Now reattach the front shell and screw it shut if needed. I didn’t since it worked well anyway, just in case I had to make some troubleshooting or re-solder anything. Connect it to the Gamecube and hold your breath, ’cause it’s time to see the result of your hard work!

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After a few tries, it worked like a charm! The photos are from my favorite Mega Man gamebild 9 for the NES, Mega Man III. The intro music is awesome and the game well balanced, the only con is the absence of the Charge Shot, but it sounds horrible anyway on the NES, so…

Mega Man Collection didn’t get the best of me! I don’t shoot and fall into pits anymore, and the games actually are playable! And it wasn’t too hard to do either. I mean, the results were so great that the screen started to crack, check those photos!

First image from: http://retro4ever.com/

Video Game Craftin’

I’ve been at it again!

You remember that old cigarillo stand that I turned into a Game Boy Game Pak stand? The stickers were too big (even though I did input the correct measurements the nline software messed up badly and they arrived oversized) so I printed out my own stickers (in colour!!) and put them on instead of the old ones. Surprisingly, the old ones were easy to remove. Gameboy Stand

These new ones aren’t glossy but it works well with the design, in my opinion. The only thing left is adding a Mario sign on the hat, or something more clever than that. It looks empty to me. Do you have any good ideas?

Then I added some stickers to my newer games. The kind of sticky printer paper I have curls up pretty quickly so I’ve had to add some tape on the labels to keep them in place. So far it looks pretty nice, and I’ve had no troubles with the new method. Though I’ll say, finding good versions of Nintendo 64 video game logos isn’t the easiest thing, and that’s why Dark Rift doesn’t look to sexy down there to the left. At least I can browse the games well, I just have to look for something borderline ineligible if I want to play that game.

N64 LabelsAnd that’s all for today! See you soon!