Why did I play this?Why did I play this?

Posted on Jun 23rd 2017 at 08:00:00 AM by (SirPsycho)
Posted under stereo, thrift store, switch, accessory, accessories,

The previous year, 2016, was one of my greatest when it came to finds I took home from the local thrift stores. While my actual game finds were few, far between, and not too exciting, the various accessories I found to improve the experience of actually playing the games more than made up for it. So, I will walk you through both my luck, my thoughts, and my process when it came to building a better battlestation. First, I will give the highlights of these finds before moving onto set up and other pieces you'll need.

The first accessory for gaming most people, collectors to casual, think of is the television or monitor. The screen you look at is the most important aspect when it comes to gaming enjoyment. There are tons of guides already up all over the internet for getting the best video output from retro game consoles, modded or unmodded. This is going to focus on other aspects of media enjoyment and some quality of life set up tips.

Outside of the screen one of the most useful pieces of equipment to find is an audio video signal switch. This allows you to plug in multiple video game consoles and have them all connected to one cable in the TV. All you have to do when you're switching consoles is to switch to that console's input. Trust me when I tell you that it saves a lot of headache when it comes to cable management. Its not just for retro consoles either, I just snatched up a $4 thrift store HDMI video switch with just enough input ports to switch my monitor between my PC, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.

2 Thrifted A/V switches for $10 total.

Once you have the ability to switch between the video inputs for your half dozen consoles you are ready to take the next step, upgrading the audio. This is relatively easy for most consoles with an older setup since audio channels were physically separated from the video signal. Each signal ran down a different cord, so its quite easy to just have your audio output cables come from the switch output to the amplifier's input. Take your pick of speakers and it should not take long to notice a significant upgrade to the listening experience, which just serves to upgrade the entire playing experience. If you're looking to hook up your newer HDMI era console to a speaker set up then you'll have to shop around for an HDMI audio extractor.

One console that requires a bit of a workaround may require the console's actual stereo speakers, a special amplifier, or at least an adapter or two, the Sega Genesis. This console only outputs mono audio when you're using the audio cord coming off from the main video cable. However, the Model 1 Genesis has a 3.5 mm stereo jack on the front of the console. I had to use an adapter for my Model 1 since my amplifier has the larger 6.35 mm audio input jack. After that I snatched up a $5 five foot long 3.5 mm stereo cable and plugged it right in to the 6.35 mm adapter. It works perfectly as I now have two speaker action for such intense games as Lightening Force, Shinobi III, Streets of Rage, and Shining Force.

Once I was done with all these audio upgrades I ended up with an absolute cable salad. I had to cut a small, unseen window in the back of my entertainment center to run the console's cords up the backside of the center to the switch. Once I had all these cables organized to keep them out of the way and mostly out of sight then I could more comfortably enjoy my games with far more than just an upgrade to component video can offer. Almost as if to reward me for the completion of this project the universe gave me my $4 LaserDisc player, and I added that into a switch port to enjoy these massive movies. Now I have the most enviable 90's bachelor pad entertainment center in the city, and everybody that plays it gets jealous of how much I can crank games with killer soundtracks. My selection of games ranges from the NES and Master System, all the way up to the PlayStation 2. Once I can find myself a thrift store HDMI audio extractor then the PS3, PS4, and PC will take over my speakers.

This is my video!

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Nice write-up, SirPsycho!  I must admit, with the header image, I came in expecting a review of some port of Rampart, but was pleasantly surprised by the article.  That's an insane deal, getting a 4-port HDMI switch for $4!  I have one that supports 5 devices that I paid $40 or $50 new, and they still run close to that for 2-4 ports at Walmart these days.  I will say that, for anything more than a 4-port switch for retro consoles (composite, S-Video, component), you definitely want a powered switch.  I have one I bought a decade ago that still works pretty well, though I have my consoles split out between 3 different TVs now, so I don't need it at the moment, and am just using a pair of old RadioShack RCA-branded 4-way composite/S-Video switchers for a couple systems.  But yeah, I totally agree with having some kind of sound setup for your consoles.  I picked up a 5.1 surround sound setup at a garage sale 2 years ago for $20, and even though it's a lower quality brand, it still makes gaming sound so much better.  When we were playing through the run & gun games for the monthly play-through, I was surprised by how good Rolling Thunder 2 sounded coming through that setup.  It was amazing, and most other Genesis games sound pretty incredible as well.  Definitely a good idea for a game room setup.  Also, kudos on finding the $4 LaserDisc player!  Holy cow, that's an amazing find.  I would like to score one at some point, because there's a guy in my town always trying to hock his LD collection when he does garage sales every year, and they never sell, but if I could ever get myself a decent player, I would snap those up.
@MetalFRO: It always feels good to get lucky with finds. I come to find out that I have the same model of LD player that Classic Game reviewed a few years ago, and even the LD community considers it a solid but not top of the line player. Its a nice one to have to enjoy some older movies in an odd, almost forgotten way.

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