RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on Oct 6th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (Addicted)
Posted under Game Room, Hidden Gems, Game Blog

Over the years, I've invested a lot of time and money into streamlining my game room. I strongly believe that it shouldn't take more than five minutes to have a game and system ready to play. To accomplish this, I spent hours measuring, researching and arranging all my consoles and TVs into zones. Each zone has a specific purpose such as a retro corner with a CRT for light gun games, or an RF cart for pre-NES consoles. I recently set up a combination PC Gaming/SHMUP Station and here's how I did it.

In order to make a SHMUP Station work, I needed to plan it out. I started by making a list of consoles and PCs. I knew I wanted a modern or Windows 10 gaming PC, a Windows XP gaming, a general-purpose PC, and a testing/development PC. On the console side, my selections covered a myriad of systems and time periods, so going HDMI only wasn't going to work. I proceeded to break down the list of PCs and consoles by connector and power requirements.

The spaces inbetween make it easy to label what the switch does.

I have traditionally gone with a 2X24 model for power when setting up a zone. This model contains two TP-Link wireless plugs and each plug is connected to a 12 outlet Belkin surge protector allowing for 24 power outlets. The TP-Link wireless plugs work with Alexa so I can use an Echo Dot as a voice-activated light switch for everything in my setup. For example, by saying "Alexa Game on!" I can turn on every console and TV in my setup or I can say Alexa power up zones individually by saying "Alexa turn on retro corner." Unfortunately, it quickly became apparent that the power requirement would exceed what the 2x24 model can provide as I needed at least eighteen plugs for the consoles alone. The answer to this problem was DJ power strips. As the name implies, they are made for DJs who move their equipment around constantly. They only take up one plug and provide eight or nine outlets with each outlet being controlled by a switch. The switches cut power when not in use so the outlet doesn't become overloaded. Since my plan was to have 4 PCs, 4 monitors and around 20 consoles hooked up, I ordered a Belkin 12 port surge protector and 3 American DJ (PC-100A) power strips. This allows me to have everything hooked up and allows for future expansion.

Now that I had covered all of my power requirements, it was time to tackle video. The monitors I was using all supported VGA, DVI, and HDMI. I started with PCs as they would be the easiest. I went with DVI as I wanted to leave the HDMI ports open for consoles. I used two of monitors for the main PC as I use it for recording podcasts and it's always helpful to have your notes spread across multiple screens. Next, I installed a DVI KVM so I could use a single monitor to switch between the Windows 10 and Windows XP gaming PCs. The last monitor I hooked up to the ESXI PC so I could troubleshoot it if any problems arose. One can never have enough HDMI ports and that's especially true when dealing with video game consoles. I decided to go with one port to three-port pigtail adapter for each monitor as they are the highest number of ports you can get without external power. I purchased a Retro-Tink 2X so I could play 240p consoles and will complement it with an OSSC later. I hooked up the Retro-Tink 2X to the upper right monitor so I could keep the bottom two monitors free for Streams and eventually video capture. I hooked the PS3, 360, and Wii U to the upper left monitor. Lastly, I ordered a cheap Dreamcast to VGA cable and hooked it up to the upper left monitor, since every setup needs a Dreamcast.

The Belkin 12 port surge protector has enough room for all of those troublesome power bricks

Now that everything was in place and hooked up, I could finally sit down and play some SHMUPs. However, I soon found that I had created a monster as four monitors were no longer enough. A SHMUP Station needs TATE support, so I'm going back to the drawing board to add more monitors and retro computers. Check back in 2020 for the SHMUP Station 2.0!

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You clearly have a problem. But I adore your problem. Ha ha!

This is fantastic!
Your setup sounds amazing, and the pictures I've seen probably don't do it justice. Definitely looking forward to seeing more of how you configure this, and what it will morph into next. Those DJ power strips are a good idea. I should think about getting a couple for my setup.

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