The RetroGamesCollector games room gets a rethink

My daughter enjoying the Games Room. 23 consoles on permanent set up means a lot of choice, but also a lot of cables...

My daughter enjoying the Games Room. 23 consoles on permanent set up means a lot of choice, but also a lot of cables…

First World gamer problems

I’ve decided it’s time I rethought how I go about using my consoles. Mainly because I am finding very little time to actually play on them these days, with family and work commitments having to come first. My gaming time is short but precious to me so I’m feeling the need to maximise my gaming efficiency.

My main problem lies in the fact that I have all my consoles rigged up to be used. All plugged into a power source and most hooked up via a veritable spaghetti heap of wiring that lies hidden behind my Ikea units. This might not be seen as a problem to most, in fact I thought it was the answer to my problems but in fact has become just the opposite.

Let me explain.

Having all my consoles permanently rigged up has a few drawbacks. Firstly there are limited wall sockets in the room (4) and so I have had to rig the consoles up in sections. For example to play my Super Nintendo I have to flick a switch to a trailing socket that has 4 other consoles plugged into it. So while I’m playing Chrono Trigger (for instance), 4 other consoles have power supplied to them. These consoles are getting on a bit now and I don’t really want their PSUs to be powered up when unnecessary.

Secondly, the consoles are all neatly stacked in their own space within the Ikea units. If I want to play one I have to hope the controller leads are long enough to reach my gaming chair. If not I have to hope that the power lead has sufficient length for me to pull the console out onto the table so that the controllers reach me in my chair. They don’t all reach meaning I’m standing up while gaming. I’m too lazy for that.

Thirdly, and the most fundamental point for me personally, is that having all these machines rigged up permanently spoils me for choice. Which consequently means I spend more time deliberating over what game on what console to play than actually playing on said game. I also find myself flitting between games just to fit them in, giving me variety but not enough time on each game to actually achieve anything.

The solution

My solutions to my games room problems are as follows. I’m going to strip out all the power supplies and label them up (some of the Sega PSUs look very similar). Then keep them all readily available by putting them in a large container I can slide under the table just in front of my gaming chair, whilst replacing 6 trailing sockets with 1. I will then unplug the myriad of RCA switch boxes that fester behind my TV and PVM, leaving the leads plugged into the consoles only. I will then attach male to female connectors for SCART, composite and RF to my TV, along with a newly acquired PVM to SCART female (with sync) adapter on my PVM monitor.

The result? The room will stay looking pretty much the same with all my consoles on show but by picking just one console a week to play on, pulling it out of its cubby hole and rigging it up to whatever female connector it needs on my coffee table within reach of my chair it will enable me to concentrate on a particular machine for a good length of time. Instead of randomly switching back and forth from console to console. Whilst this drastically changes the way I play video games at the moment, hopefully it will result in me being able to get more quality gaming time and more time on individual games.

Now to start on untangling all those cables…

What do you think? Do you find it difficult to balance gaming with your other commitments? Have you had to change the way you game? Comment below.

Author: Ant Harper

Father, Husband, website developer, avid gamer since the mid-70s and collector of just about anything video game related. 8-Bit microcomputer and Sinclair specialist with a huge Sinclair related collection of his own. Blogs about retro gaming here but occasionally elsewhere when people ask. Bored of Mario and never much liked Zelda. Performs quirkafleegs for cold hard cash. Often found destroying ice crowns in the Lands of Midnight. Remembers: Lunar Lander. Plays: Steel Battalion, Gears of War

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  1. It sounds like the right approach and I have similar problems (though not on that scale) with choosing a format instead of a game. My solution is that I do the vast majority of my gaming via emulation on my arcade machine – it’s not perfect but it is a pretty good approximation. That means I only have a few consoles in use – currently only Gamecube, Saturn and N64 – mainly because of their specialist controllers or emulation problems.

    I keep about a third of my collection on display but not in use (cables are packed away) and if any of my guests or kids says, “Can I play Game X”, I fire up the arcade machine.

  2. Nice solution! :)

    Like yourself, I have found myself emulating more and more but via my modded Xboxes (only wish I had a cab!). This is especially good for my daughter, who only wants to game and doesn’t care about what she’s gaming on. I do like to fire up the original thing as often as possible though.

    You need to show us your collection Jeremy, we would love to feature it here on RGC :)

  3. Hi I was wondering how you have gotten the older consoles to work on the hd tv as I’ve not been able to do this please help and it’s driving me mad I’m house bound due to a disability and it would be nice to have something to play on help pass the time on worse days please help


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