I’ve just listed my current “arcade PC” on FB Marketplace. It’s the culmination of my COVID passion project: building a semi-portable arcade machine. It started with a birthday gift of “just buy the parts you need and get started”. I bought a lovely bunch of arcade parts (buttons, joysticks, wires, etc.) from MN-based Paradise Arcade Shop. I then built a test controller out of some scrap wood. Eventually that led to building a PC inside the first box I’ve ever built, using old cedar decking. It was a huge two-player “portable” monstrosity that only needed power in and HDMI out to be a self-contained arcade machine. It was actually really really fun to build, and even more fun to play with the kids! However, it weighed ~40 lbs, so not really “portable” by most standards.
Since I never felt like lugging this thing around, even to get it out to play, I needed something smaller. This led to selling the old PC guts of MEGATROLLER and purchasing a small form factor (SFF) PC. This was a beautifully small machine that was more powerful than the old one. This could run anything I asked it to, including Gamecube and current games. I was also slightly sidetracked by getting USB adapters for old Nintendo controllers, but all in the name of fun!
Then for Christmas we got a Nintendo Switch. What a perfect form factor! Handheld when you’re on the go, then on the TV when you want to share! Perfect! This was exactly what I wanted from an arcade machine, but could never seem to find. Well, it turns out I wasn’t alone, as I discovered the nascent field of handheld PCs. Not little rinky-dink Raspberry Pi clones, but full fat PCs in the same form factor as a Switch. Hooray! One problem – they all cost more than I’m willing to spend for a secondary PC. Shoot! Still, I kept my eyes on the market while I tinkered with settings and perfected my arcade catalog.
And now I’m selling that machine. Why? The Steam Deck. A handheld PC from the PC gaming titan: Valve. This thing has more power than what I have under my TV right now, plus it’s a handheld! Valve have released one of the premier VR ecosystems (a story for another time), so I’m absolutely pumped for their entry into the handheld PC market. This device will become my new portable arcade, and I only have to wait until… December. Patience is a virtue!