Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Frustration Engine

About a month back my wife and kids went to Costco and I found this cool box. Inside the box was over 100 classic arcade games. I wanted one. But at over $2k, its out of my pocketbook. So I started a little research and found MAME Arcades. The do it yourself arcade construction. You just need some handyman skills, a computer and monitor or TV and time. So I've successfully made this one of my projects.

The first stage was done, get MAME and figure it out. Easy, tested, done.

Second stage is to resurrect an old PC to live inside the arcade cabinet and this is where everything goes sour. I've spent over 10 hours fixing and testing and rebooting this antiquated 733MHz bastard but I finally got it running. Its video and sound was working, two hard drives (a total whopping space of 30 GB) and CD drives working, with Win 98. No network, but whatever. My son even plays some Ninja Turtles on it, you know, the old arcade Ninja Turtles. The next day, the system is frozen and frozen hard. Reboot, reboot, reboot later and its back. Whew... right? Wrong! About 10 minutes into playing more TMNT the thing makes this pop-flash-pop and goes black. Reboot, reboot, reboot, nothing. I give up for the night. That leads me to tonight.

I go to the computer and press the on button ever so gently and what do I see but the tell-tale signs of a computer actually booting up. It gives some Windows choice which leads to BSOD. Reboot, safe-mode chosen and to Windows credit, it reports something nasty happened to the registry and it fixed it, reboot. Comes up, I get MAME running, grab the camera to take this picture with TMNT glory for the world to see. I house clean a little to spruce up this ugly space and whoosh, monitor goes black.

30 minutes later, dozens of things tried and the computer just doesn't come back. So instead of victory, I've got what is probably a R.I.P. PC.

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