The NES-PC Part 0: Background

Fifteen years ago, I built a custom computer. Here it is next to the Nintendo Entertainment System that my sister and I used to play with as children.

Yeah, I don’t know which one is which either. That was by design. I thought of this box as a bit of a ‘sleeper’. It didn’t look like much, but it was far more fully featured than it appeared. This idea was pretty fully formed in my head for a couple of months before I actually took the jump and started to order parts. I remember having to hand my dad cash to pay for some online purchases, because he had an eBay account and I desperately needed a part that could not be gotten in a physical store.  I was quite proud of this build when I was 19. It went off to college with me and acted as my movie watching computer and occasional “lend to a friend” gaming box for over a year.
To be honest though, it wasn’t a complete success. Let’s take a look at my shame:
If I was willing to give myself some credit, I could call this “hiding my crimes” and point out that from the front everything looked fine. Some of this mess was the result of limitations; my best tool was a dremel and I didn’t have the patience or nerve to deal with sanding and painting. Some of this was due to laziness and rushing forward without planning ahead. This… this thing had a lot more potential than I managed to fulfill.

Regrets aside, it did its job amicably and lasted about as long as you could expect tech like this too. The hardware was arguably under-powered, but it really was the best small form factor gear that I could get my hands on at the time. It played a ton of slightly-old-for-the-time games, pushed pirated movies to my old CRT TV, and even acted as a friend’s only PC when his blew up. It features in the background of a bunch of my old photos from my college days. I used it until the little VIA cpu just couldn’t keep up anymore, and held onto it way longer than it was actually useful. Stupidly, I put the thing in the trash.

I found the digital photos the other day and was hit was a pair of simultaneous emotions. On the one hand, I cringed at how badly I’d done that job in the past, how primitive the workmanship and the hardware, and how little documentation of it had. On the other, I desperately wanted that NES-PC back.

Ten minutes later, I put “broken nintendo entertainment system” into the eBay search window and  found a cornucopia of options. I’ve been working on the new one since and it’s time to start putting together a log of my work here. Let’s get this party startet.

  • Part 0: Hardware
  • Part 2: Initial fit
  • Part 3: Brackets and fittings
  • Part 4: Ventilation
  • Part 5: I/O
  • Part 6: Finish

Stuff I’ve made

So a month or two ago, my friend Xak lost his job and had a birthday. It took the GF and I a couple of weeks to get the shit together for this, but we made him a poison flask. Just thought I’d show it off.

The move went not too bad. The new place is great. Class has started. I wish I had more to say, but with school, homework, real work and friends. I haven’t had much time to work up the writing urge. Expect to hear lots of crap about the new D&D campaign.

Comics

I really wish I had the energy and drive to write and draw a webcomic regularly. I’ve had three attempts at it in the past and they end very much the same way; something like work or school or some such gets me all distracted and I stop updating. I think I can be fairly funny in a webcomic, although I care very little for my art. It’s just one of those mediums that I really wish I was capable of doing regularly. Sadly, experience has taught me that this is not the case.

The GF has known me for quite some time and has seen each of my comics come and go. I mentioned the flawed and long gone “C316” comic from my high school days and mentioned that I’d lost all the files for it, lamenting that I’d at least like to have them. She informed me that the website could still be reached now and again and when I tried, it worked. So now I have all of my first comic on my hard drive. It’s a little comforting. I had a hard drive snafu kill almost all my written word from before 2003 so it was nice to regain some of that material.

The vector art is atrocious, universally horrible. The dialog is somewhat shabby and the subject matter was such that I’m almost certain it was impenetrable to anyone who hadn’t been an Academic Decathlete. Still, it was kinda cool to run through it again.

I’m fairly certain that I can’t even get into the “In The Shadow Of…” admin site anymore, and even less sure I could upload them via the FTP app. I would be nice to have C316, Monkeez, and In The Shadow Of… all together, especially because the first and last share characters. Oh well, there is much to lament and little time to lament it in.