Thursday, December 29, 2016

2016 A Year in Review

When a year draws to an end there are always two things that amaze me. One is looking back on how fast the year past, and two is looking back on how slowly the year past. I know it's a very contradictory statement, but sometimes a year can be all too fast when it comes to something like spending time with your family and watching your kids grow, and too slow when it comes to those many moments that didn’t make your year the best.

When it comes to gaming though it's actually been a pretty good year, and again another area that time passed to quickly on. When I look back and my New Years Resolutions posting from the end of last year I see that I actually did a lot of what I struck out to, even if I missed in some other areas. But before I get into rehashing that I wanted to talk about my blog a little bit.

Articles with the most hits have been:

To be honest I was shocked at how popular my Out Into The Late Night Rift series was since I don't really write about TV a lot. I will say that it was interesting to write since it bought up a lot memories I hadn’t thought about in years, some of which were really good times.

I was also pleased to do my Trekking Through Games series as well, and I have some more of those upcoming in the next year. I was actually hoping to get an article on STO up by the end of this year, but time hasn't worked out for it, yet. Although my starting this series in 2016 on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek was nothing more than a coincidence. .

All of these articles were fun to write though, and I want to take a moment here to thank everyone for reading them. Getting positive feedback on Google +, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, e-mail, and even on the comments section of my blog itself make it all worth it.

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to also get this blog transferred to a proper website this year. Sadly that didn’t happen, and it's mainly been a time thing, and just trying to find the creative energy to put into it. Maybe in 2017 though.

Now, for my year end review based on my 2016 New Years Resolutions

100 SNES Titles by the end of 2016 - Not even close! I have 48 titles in my collectors app, plus another 7 in  my backlog, so 55. At least I’m more than halfway there.

200 NES titles by the end of 2016 - Done! This was accomplished within days after writing the article.

Have 300 Atari 2600 titles by the end of 2016 - 227 plus 1 backlogged. To be honest the NES and Atari 2600 now run nearly head to head in the amount of games.

Systems I would like to add in 2016

-Sega Game Gear - Done
-Atari Lynx - Done
-Sega Saturn - Done
-NeoGeo AES - Debating getting an MVS instead, but American AES aren't easy to come by
-Xbox (Original) - Done
-Arcade Cabinets?? - Air Combat, and an X-Arcade

Also added in 2016:

-Atari ST
-TRS-80 CoCo
-New Desktop
-Retron 5
-Atari 2600 portable
-Swing Along pinball machine

Games I would like to add
-Super Metroid - Nope
-Star Trek Deep Space Nine: The Fallen - Yes
-Double Dragon Advance - Nope
-Tank Commander - Nope

My List of Shame - Don’t ask I played a little more of many of those games but finished none, and even added a few more

The Return of 8-bit Fridays - Yes, I’ve added multiple entries in 2016

Attend a Gaming Convention - My family and I attended Midwest Gaming Classics in April of 2016

Finish My Gameroom - Not even close, looks the same as my 2015 picture.

Support my Local Gamestore - Not working one town away anymore has meant my visits are few and far between.

This years surprises

As I said I was happy to get such a huge reaction to my Out Into The Late Night Rift series, since I kind of kept it on the down low, not being a videogame based article.

Another big surprise was finally digging through and playing a load of 7800 games I have had (mostly NIB) just sitting since early 2015. All said it done it was a huge push through to get played over a single weekend, yet I did and now I’m only 9 games shy of have a complete Atari 7800 collection.

Than there’s Swing Along a pinball machine from 1963 we bought at Midwest Gaming Classics. Going there I was mainly looking for games and a Sega-CD, but I had thought about maybe seeing if an arcade machine was a possibility. To say the least leaving that Saturday knowing I bought a pinball machine was a unique feeling.

As far as actual arcade machines finding my Air Combat machine for $150, and the X-Arcade for $0 were also surprises, but I will admit I had my heart set on a Moon Patrol machine. Staying on the subject of arcade machines there is also my Coleco Pac-Man mini arcade, which was a surprise find and just one aspect of a fun fall day out with my family.

So what am I hoping for 2017? I don’t know but rest assured I will have a 2017 resolutions following this in a few days.

Again, thank you all for visiting my blog in 2016, and Happy 2017 to you!!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Memories: Gaming Before the Big Day

Usually when we get together as gamers and discuss Christmas memories it's about what we found under the tree the day of. But, this year I wanted to take a different approach and talk about those gaming memories that lead up to the big day.

What's instigated my writing about this are memories I have of playing Metroid 2 during Christmas vacation of 1992. At this point I would have been a Freshman in high school (which in a way picks up where my Black Friday memories left off), and this first true break was greatly needed. Not having school also meant I could go to work with my mom and earn some cash too. With my Mom being a book sales rep for stores like K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and a few other places it also meant I got a chance to see what the electronics sections of each store had. It was on one of this first outings towards the beginning of Christmas vacation I picked up Metroid 2. I never had the original Metroid on NES, but I knew the game was said to be amongst the systems best, and decided to try my hand at its Gameboy counterpart.

Playing Metroid 2 was like taming new territory for myself, since I had never played that particular sub-genre (now called Metroidvania) before. I will admit I liked it a lot, and as was the fashion back then I played the heck out of it since new games were far and few between for me. I also remember a number of headaches too, between the Gameboys small screen and the games classic maze setup.

I also remember watching Christmas slowly drawing nearer, and watching life go on around me when I lowered my screen now and then. I remember this one Saturday night very close to Christmas, watching the Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol, as my mom baked in the kitchen. My parents loved that version and sometimes watched it multiple times during a season. For me though I remember seeing it so much I was bored with it, and remember how glad I was to have that Gameboy in front of me. I got pretty far in Metroid 2 but never finished it, and that is thanks in part to another pre-Christmas memory. As was the tradition back then we would leave our house in Chicago’s Northwestern suburbs on Christmas Eve and travel to my grandparents house in Chicago’s, Back of the Yards neighborhood. I always loved going and it was a Christmas Eve tradition I looked forward to back then, and greatly miss now. So looking to pass the time in the two hour car trip down I brought my Gameboy, and then also brought it in with me to the party. My cousin asked what games I had and I was proud to show off my new copy of Metroid 2. He asked if he could play, and I said yes. Then about 15 minutes later he came back to me saying something seemed wrong with the game. As I looked I realized he had deleted all my progress, on accident, so that was why he wasn’t seeing what I told him. I let it go but was screaming on the inside about my day’s of lost progress.

Of course this isn’t the first Christmas I had spent behind the screen of a Gameboy it was actually the second. For Christmas of 1991 one of the things I had asked for was Choplifter 2 for my Gameboy, because you all know what a huge Choplifter fan I am. Again, like the Christmas after I worked with my Mom for some extra spending money, and found myself perusing various electronics sections. Pretty soon the money in my pocket and the price of Choplifter 2 matched up, and one night I bought it for myself, and had enough leftover to buy Boxxle as well. When my Mom asked me what I bought I proudly showed her Choplifter 2. “Um, didn’t you ask for that as a Christmas gift?” she asked slightly perturbed. “Yes”, I said “I just kind of wanted to get it tonight, so know one has to worry about getting it for me now”. “But, what if someone already did?” she asked leading me to believe she or my sister had already purchased it for me. When I got home my sister was mad at me too, since it turned out she did get it for me. Of course all that blew over fairly quickly, but it was lesson learned.

Much like the year following I remember witnessing Christmas Day drawing closer while playing Choplifter 2, and occasionally Boxxle. It was while playing Choplifter 2 that I watched one of the oddest Christmas movies ever, Guess Who’s Coming for Christmas?, with Richard Mulligan and Beau Bridges (thank you IMBd). It’s an odd movie about an unassuming human looking alien who comes to Earth just before Christmas, and to be honest when I think of my Gameboy and Christmas its one of the first memories that pops up.

Then there was Christmas of 1994, by this time I was past my Gameboy stage and on to PC gaming. A little before Christmas vacation began that year I was digging around some bargain bins at an old Babbage’s in a local mall when I stumbled upon Disney’s Stunt Island. If you never heard of this game it basically puts you in the cockpit as a stunt pilot for movies, and also allows you to set up, and make your own aviation themed films. Of course the graphics weren’t anything special but the game itself was unique, and it had been a game I wanted to get before I even got a PC. I remember playing it at Montgomery Wards one day when they had a special Disney Edition PC (what make? idk!), I was ready to walk by it since Mickey Mouse’s Counting Machine didn’t interest me, but then the Stunt Island demo popped up and I had to sit down. I must have spent an hour playing it while waiting for my Mom to finish shopping for whatever. So to the say the least finding this in a bargain bin for $10, I had to buy it.

I began playing it as soon as I got it home and remember Christmas came shortly after. I remember the desk my computer was on was right next to the Christmas Tree, and for the two or three weeks the tree was up I remember having some nice light to play Stunt Island by, and how my computer seemed so much more welcoming with the soft Christmas Tree lights over my fluorescent desk lamp or just sitting in the dark.

Sadly, I recycled Stunt Island CIB back in 2008.

There are actually other Christmas themed video games out there besides that silly Elf Bowling one we all played as flash games on our PC’s in the mid-00’s. Thanks to the Game Grumps we were introduced to Santa Claus is Coming to Town, based on the old Rankin-Bass stop motion film of the same name from the early 70’s. Of course the Game Grumps gave the game a good skewering in their true fashion, but moving to past the perspective of an adult playing the game for the first time, there is good potential there for a kid to have some fun with this game especially if they’ve seen the Santa Claus is Coming to Town before. My sons actually had a good time playing this one together on Christmas Eve of last year, while I did some holiday baking. To be honest for kids of “the santa age” Christmas Eve can be a long and angst filled day and sometimes silly games like Santa Claus is Coming to Town can be a good way to occupy that time.

Ok, well these are a few of my before the big day memories, so what are some of yours?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Journey to MAME: Part 2 Addendum

Welcome to the Part 2 Addendum I created to address some of off topic, yet still relevant issues out of Part 2.

The YouTube videos:

First of all I need to apologize if it seemed like I was knocking The Lumberjackass video when mentioning the Maximus Arcade initial install. My complaint isn't so much with The Lumberjackass’s (yes, that's really the name, I’m not being sarcastic) channel or video, but rather that X-Arcade decided to go with a video that skipped a few integral steps. Again, I’m not blaming or degrading The Lumberjackass videos, but if you look at his channel you’ll see that building MAME cabinets is kind of a specialty of his. So his video is kind of aimed at someone who has already been messing with MAME for a while, not someone fairly new to it like me. I do have experience with other emulators, as I’ve written about before but MAME and its idiosyncrasies hasn’t been one of them, so the video left me a bit lost since other important details had been left out.
If you have MAME experience and need some guidance on building an arcade cabinet of your own, you may want to check The Lumberjackass channel.

I also wanted to talk a little more about Simply Austin and his Hyperspin videos. I’ve watched a lot of how to videos, on a myriad of subjects on YouTube, but this by far has been one of the best I’ve run across. The videos are long, but the host does go step by step in setting up Hyperspin and nothing is skipped. My decision to go with Maximus Arcade wasn’t based on his video’s, but based on the fact that I realized I would never have the time needed to invest into setting up Hyperspin as it should be. If I decide to setup Hyperspin later you can be rest assured I will head right back to Simply Austin’s videos, since he has number of them of for setting up the ultimate version of Hyperspin.

Running the X-Arcade Cabinet:

Seeking Consoling:

Besides a computer the X-Arcade cabinet is also open to a few other operating methods. The workings of the cabinet allow for the adding of consoles as well, something with a r/w/y RCA component output. The PS1, 2, and 3, the XBOX, XBox 360, N64, GameCube, and Wii all have special adaptors sold through X-Arcade, that plug into the controller ports, and then allow the Tank Stick to connect with them from there. Of course you have to program the Tank Stick to match with the controller's inputs, so if you plan on doing that you're going to need that P/S 2 keyboard I discussed in Part 1.

Now, if you’ve read my blog before you know I’ve covered the PlayStation 2’s huge library of arcade game collections. So when I couldn’t get the computers and front ends lined up I considered just skipping it, getting the PS1/2 adaptor, and just arcade gaming that way. To be honest I’m still interested in bringing in a second PS2 in to possibly do this, since straight off the internet ROM’s can sometimes have issues, and often this is debugged out of them before being added to a gaming collection.


X-Arcade mentions on their website that they plan on eventually offering a Jamma adaptor. However, I have no idea how long this concept has been in the wind for, so I’m not holding my breath on getting it anytime soon. If you don’t know what Jamma is, I could best explain it as being like a cartridge system for arcade cabinets. The concept was that an arcade owner could easily convert and unprofitable cabinet into a profitable one by switching out the boards, and than changing the superficial artwork on the outside of the cabinet. NeoGeo, would take it a step further with their MVS cabinets, by adding the different spin of allowing their proprietary system to take multiple game carts, and sometimes as many as four different games could be played on a NeoGeo MVS. Eventually with the changes in technology most Jamma boards followed in NeoGeo’s footsteps and took on more of a cartridge like appearance, as well as allowing a single board to feature multiple games.

One of the more popular boards out there now is the 60 in1 Arcade Classics board, which seems to be a common find in a lot of “Retro Conversion Cabs”, that sell for $2k+. The board itself though is relatively cheap, selling for about $40-$50 on eBay, and although I can buy it, and a Jamma motherboard, the issue is ultimately how to connect it to the Tank Stick, and monitor. Jamma motherboards usually have a specialized wiring harnesses that connect right to every stick and button on the controller, something that can't be done with the Tank Stick unless I’m willing to rip it apart, which I’m not.

I did however find one other option, something known as a Game Elf. The Game Elf can connect into a Jamma motherboard, but also features additional outputs for USB, and monitor, plus allows PS2 controller input. This means that by purchasing a few readily available adaptors and a power source, I can connect this board into the alternate slot set aside for a console on the X-Arcade. The Game Elf comes in various versions, the newest of which features 619 games, but as you could probably guess most of the games aren’t anything special. At its core though there are several arcade "must have’s" and for the most part the ROM’s are working and debugged which is nice. The only issue is that the operating system is a bit of a mess since it takes a while to dig through all the games. It’s a nice option considering, but it’s something I’ll have to think about.   


Some of you might also have asked why I just didn't buy a pre-built Hyperspin hard drive. To be honest the temptation was there, but I had a lot of reservations. Tuning into Simply Austin for the first time he made mention of these drives himself, and how most of them don't work well. Considering he was willing to give me his time and the knowledge to build a Hyperspin drive myself for free (he doesn't sell these) I felt his word of caution was worth noting. Now, I've seen pre-made Hyperspin and Retro Pi systems for sale since and have given them consideration, but I without seeing these things in operation up close, I think I'll be keeping my $100+ in my pocket.


In my past emulation articles I've warned of the many pitfalls of ROM hunting. Sometimes it's a matter of risking privacy and hard drive, and in others it's just about getting a trashed ROM. But one thing most of us never give a second thought to is the legality of ROM’s. To be honest I doubt the Namco legal team is going to file a suit against anyone for downloading a 30 year old Galaga ROM, but the law still says that in order to legally possess a ROM you must own a physical copy of the game, or a legally purchased electronic copy.

When it comes to arcade ROMs though owning a “physical” copy isn't that easy, since machines aren't always easy to come by or cheap. Thanks to the above mentioned PS2 many arcade games and their ROM’s do come on collections, but the question is does that count as ROM ownership for an arcade ROM? For the above mentioned Galaga I own copies on the NES, Wii Virtual console, a PS2 Namco Museum collection, and on a plug and play system, but does that count the same as owning an arcade ROM?

To be honest it's more than likely a moot point since as previously stated I doubt Namco, Rom-Star, Midway or whoever is going to file a cease and desist order against me for having a ROM of theirs in my X-Arcade that's in completely private use.

As far as getting ROM’s though I'm going to mention, as I have in the past, that my current source is Emuparadise. For the most part the ROM’s here work, and don't come with gifts of Trojans and viruses. You will however, have to be exposed to a lot of advertising (not really a problem when its the League of Angels girls), but considering its a worthwhile cost for clean ROM’s and emulators.

Final Thoughts:

First of all I don’t work for X-Arcade or anything so keep in mind nothing here is a sales pitch, but rather the plight of a MAME gamer trying to make his own system in an X-Arcade shell.

In coming weeks I hope to give you guys a look at the guts of my X-Arcade cabinet, and hopefully let you know if I decide to bring in a PS2 or Game Elf.

Also, if you have any suggestions for me with regards to ROM’s, JAMMA board adaptations, or anything else game related please feel free to respond in the comments section below.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Journey to MAME: Part 2 - Iny Meany Miny No

In part 1 I covered getting my X-Arcade, buying the tank stick to go with it, and picking a computer (on-hand) to power the whole thing. It's that last part that I ended with so I could pick it up here. When I left off these were my options for computing:

Pine64- A Pine64 is a small computer like that of a Raspberry Pi. The Pine64 was actually the first 64-bit entry into the realm of mini-computers beating the Raspberry Pi 3 by some months. I picked mine up through the Pine64 Kickstarter last year and just got it back in May. I didn't exactly know what I wanted to do with it, but I've had it in mind to use it for MAME emulation, or powering a multiple Jamma arcade cabinet, both ideas of which I back seated shortly after receiving the Pine64 board.

The Old Laptop in the Closet - In the back of the office closet lie some electronic items that currently have no home or use in our house. We hang on to them because they do have the potential to one day be useful again. About two years ago my father just dropped off an old Compaq laptop, explaining he had gotten a new one. My oldest son quickly claimed it to play Minecraft on, but within two months we took it away from him since he had downloaded numerous viruses and Trojans on to it in search of questionable Minecraft mods he saw on YouTube. One of these malicious items briefly screwed up the computers WiFi, and my wife spent days fixing it to get it up and working again, but after that it went into storage. Emulators don't exactly need a lot of computing power making the old WiFi capable Vista based computer a viable option.

The Old Laptop in the Closet 2 - Yes, there is a second back there an old one of mine that works but has some functionality issues. It's actually an old "movie laptop", which was a short lived fad in the late 00's, these where laptops with large screens, Dolby sound, and sub-woofers meant to act as on the go home theatre systems. I actually used it on a trip once and it was fairly impressive to watch DVD's on in a hotel room.  

My WiFi-less Laptop - My newest laptop fell victim to Windows 10, when a Windows 10 update in early 2016 screwed up both the WiFi and ethernet drivers, and it's been impossible to fix on my own since. I've considered bringing it in to be fixed, but between my phone, iPad, and Desktop I'm not sure how badly I need a laptop right now. Anyway, it has Windows 10 and is pretty fast, just the lack of WiFi that bothers me.

So it’s pretty clear I have a few different routes to go, but the ultimate end choice would have to be made based on the “front end system” for the cabinet itself. So what is a front end? Also how will I choose one, and the computer to run it?

A front end is a systems that collectively gathers together all the emulators, and associated ROM’s and puts them on the arcade cabinet in a user friendly manner. There are actually many of these out there, and they operate on a number of systems. With regards to X-Arcade they suggest Maximus Arcade as the front end, since the Tank Stick default setting is designed to work with it. Other options I also looked into where Retro Pi for the Rasberry Pi, and hopefully the Pine64, and Hyperspin. Hyperspin, and Maximus Arcade are both designed to optimally work on a Windows 7 or better PC.

Watching a few reviews on Maximus Arcade and based on the fact that it’s X-Arcade’s chosen front end I decided to give it a try using the “Old Laptop in the Closet 1” which I will refer to from this point on as the Compaq. Opening and powering on the old laptop I realized it had a few key issues, first we were uncertain of the password to switch between profiles, since it hadn’t been used in forever. Secondly, it has zero battery life, and seems to have some physical damage. With that said though at least it has WiFi and connecting to the internet wasn’t an issue, which allowed me to download Maximus Arcade.

Note on Maximus Arcade: Access to Maximus Arcade comes free with the purchase of a Tank Stick, or system. But, Maximus only sends the code out at the beginning of the month following purchase, and having bought my Tank Stick in mid-month I was going to have to wait, however Maximus does had a free thirty day trial to use in the interim.

To help me install Maximus I watched the YouTube videos they posted on their website to show how easy it was to install the front end. So with Maximus downloaded and my MAME emulator of choice also downloaded, I followed the videos simple instructions and… myself a weekend long headache. I watched the video over and over to see if I was missing something, but all I kept getting was an “invalid media location error”. I looked at X-Arcades website and the FAQ's there didn’t help, then I check other websites and nothing helped. The worst part was that the error itself didn’t really seem to have one simple fix, since just about every forum had some completely different fix for the error. In one forum I even saw a few other people with the same frustration over the error and lack of a defined fix. In frustration I put the old Compaq aside, and decided to forego Maximus as my operating system.    

Old Laptop in the Closet - No, Maximus Arcade - No

Next, I moved on to my Pine64 and the Pine64/Rasberry Pi direction was kind of where I wanted to go to begin with. Before my Pine64 could get up and running I would need a few things, like a power cord since apparently this couldn't come with it from the Kickstarter (don't get me started), and I would need a micro-SD. Also, I would need a USB hub for everything since the Pine64 only comes with 2 slots. The micro-SD, and hub could be easily found in stores, but the power cord was different. It has what is called a mini-USB end, which is pretty common and more than likely you have a few in your home, however the Pine64 like its Raspberry Pi counterpart needs 5V and minimum 2.5 Amp, to run properly. On most mini-USB’s 5 volts is common but 2.5 to 3 amps isn't, and the few spare I had on hand weren't powerful enough. So I bounced on to eBay and found a 3 Amp for about $4, and picked up a 64GB mini-SD as well for about $10. The mini-SD arrived right away and I began working on the Pine64 with the power cord from my sons Kano Rasberry Pi until my own cord arrived.

Now it came down to programming the Pine64. Sadly, the Pine64 can't use the same basic operating system as the Rasberry Pi, so my thought of using Retro Pi were very quickly dashed. So if your keeping score Retro Pi-No. However, the Android operating system does work with the Pine64, and I found uploading it to the mini-SD and then operating it on the Pine64 to be quick and painless, something I don't expect after the Maximus incident the weekend before. Android actually supports a version of Hyperspin, which was very good news. The caveat is that Hyperspin requires a lot of work to get up and running, so it was on to that.

At this point I began to watch a series of YouTube videos by Simply Austin, which are amazing step by step videos for getting Hyperspin up and running. It became pretty clear, pretty quickly that I was going to have to do a bulk of the work on my PC, and perhaps transfer it to the Pine64 via a flash drive later. This Hyperspin project would take about a week to work through since it was a matter of finding time to watch the videos and work on everything accordingly. Eventually, I reached a point when I felt Hyperspin was ready to run on the Pine64, and popped the flashdrive into it. Sadly, though all the work I had done via Windows 10, wouldn't transfer to the Android system. So not wishing to fight it or even start all over from the beginning, I decided I would transfer Hyperspin to one of the laptops.


I knew I would have a lot more work to do if I wanted to get Hyperspin to look really slick, and to be honest Hyperspin required a lot of alá carte background work just to get there. The aforementioned Maximus Arcade however came with a lot of Hyperspin’s features already in it and I decided to give Maximus a chance on a different computer, my desktop, to see if it would work. Much to my surprise and joy Maximus Arcade worked well on my desktop, and I made sure to do all my work on Maximus via the same flash drive my Hyperspin work was on so I could import the now working product to a different computer.

Hyperspin-No, Maximus Arcade - Yes?

So the big question quickly became what was different between my first try with Maximus and my second? My first thought was the first computer since the old Compaq had some odd things going on with the file directories that dated back to my father and his friend “optimizing” it. Than, I realized that in the process of doing the background programming for Hyperspin I might have corrected some Maximus issues as well. When I picked a MAME originally I went with MAMEUIFX which itself is almost a front end. But, this time around, for the sake of Hyperspin, I attached the ROM directory to MAMEUIFX, and ran a ROM audit. So now when I attached the emulator, and ROM directories to Maximus things flowed a little better. I won't say Maximus worked perfectly, it still required some various settings adjustments, and the forced scan, but the errors related to these were common, and had common fixes this time too.

I bought the huge Tank Stick up to my office made barely enough desk space, and plugged it in, to assure everything worked. With MAMEUIFX you have to tell it you are using an X-Arcade Tank Stick, and luckily a file can be attached to MAMEUIFX that allows it to recognize the Tank
Stick in its settings and that's really nice. I will admit even though the Tank Stick is defaulted for MAME, there were still a few issues I had to correct, but I'll get into that later. With MAMEUIFX, Maximus, and the Tank Stick working it was time to pick a laptop.

Back to The Old Laptop in the Closet 1, the Compaq. Perhaps with my new knowledge I could make this one work. I plugged it in, and suddenly there was a new issue. For a while I noticed the cooling fan for the microprocessor making a rubbing sound, but now it had gotten worse. Somewhere between my Dads abuse of the laptop, my son, and living in back of the closet, the plastic grating on the bottom of the laptop broke and began pushing into the fan. I tried to fix it, but at this point it's not fixable.

The Old Laptop in the Closet 1- No, again

My next choice was My WiFi-less Laptop, or as will call it the Toshiba. I like the fact that this was a newer more powerful Windows 10 computer, which should have the processing capabilities to work with fighting games like Marvel vs Capcom. Software wise everything worked, but there was as a different complication. Apparently, X-Arcade had issues with Windows 10 recognizing the arcade monitor and was telling customers to not allow their built-ins to upgrade to Windows 10. So it was no surprise that my Windows 10 laptop didn't recognize the X-Arcade monitor.

My Wifi-less Laptop- No

This left me with one last option, The Old Laptop in the Closet 2, or as I will call it the Acer. The Acer powered up without any issues or strange noises, and I had to dig deep as to why I didn't use this as a laptop anymore. Outside of the weight and missing “G” key, I couldn't remember. One issue did present itself was the fact that the Acer has WiFi, but it's browsers are all outdated and basically unusable. Besides that, the files transferred well and worked without issue, leading me to finally finding my laptop of choice. Testing it with the Tank Stick, everything worked well and it was now time to dig into the cabinet itself, and install the Tank Stick and computer.

I'll get into that next time, as well as taking a look at the inside of the X-Arcade cabinet.