I used to be a pretty big game collector. Anything that would come along, I’d just buy it if it was retro. At some point I realized this was an unhealthy habit, and it was a hobby that required no skill besides. The only skill required to collect old video games is money. That’s it. With enough money you can buy whatever collection you want, right now.

Gone are the days when you could pick up a box of NES games at a garage sale for five bucks, now everyone thinks their old games are worth a fortune. Sometimes they’re right.

Having sold the majority of my collection, I’m taking a new approach to retro gaming that involves me actually enjoying it as a hobby and not a mindless money sink. For each system, I use this guide:

  • Modify the console to my taste,
  • Flash media to save space compared to shelves of games,
  • Controllers need to be the best for the system,
  • Emulation should be as close to the original as possible,
  • Backup media should be original, source-verified by checksum, and,
  • Sell everything else, it’s a waste of space.

Here’s how I’m doing so far:

Atari 2600

  • Modify: The system is still stock, but I want to ditch the RF output for composite or RGB.
  • Flash: Atari Harmony Cartridge.
  • Controllers: I use the stock joystick. It’s actually a terrible joystick, but no Atari 2600 experience is complete without that shitty ‘gummy’ joystick.
  • Emulation: Not configured yet. USB Atari RetroPort for the controllers.
  • Backup: Not verified. Looks like Good2600 is the canonical source these days.
  • Sell: I have one extra of these, plus a bunch of extra joysticks.

Commodore 64

  • Modify: I like to stay as stock as possible, using an S-Video cable into my Framemeister.
  • Flash: 1541 Ultimate II (Discontinued)
  • Controllers: Epyx 500XJ
  • Emulation: Using Vice for now. USB Atari RetroPort works fine for the controllers.
  • Backup: Not verified.
  • Sell: This is one of my favourite systems to restore and repair, so I have a lot of spare units and parts that can be sold.

Microsoft Xbox

  • Modify: North American Xbox, TSOP Flash, RGB AV cable to Framemeister.
  • Flash: A regular PC SSD.
  • Controllers: Xbox Controller S.
  • Emulation: None, but I do need to pick up some Xbox-to-USB adapters.
  • Backup: Not verified, need to check against redump.org
  • Sell: I have some extra parts for repairs, but not really worth selling.

Nintendo NES

  • Modify: AV Famicom with a SNES-style AV cable into a Framemeister.
  • Flash: RetroUSB PowerPak
  • Controllers: Stock NES gamepads.
  • Emulation: RetroArch has some great cores. Two NES controllers modified with the NES/SNES RetroKit
  • Backup: Not verified.
  • Sell: Extra North American ‘toaster’ style NES.

Nintendo SNES

  • Modify: North American SNES with regular AV cable to Framemeister.
  • Flash: RetroUSB SNES PowerPak (Discontinued), Super UFO Pro 8, SD2SNES Pro.
  • Controllers: Stock Super Famicom gamepads.
  • Emulation: ZSNES, but likely to switch to a retroarch core later. Two Super Famicom gamepads modified with the NES/SNES RetroKit
  • Backup: Not verified.
  • Sell: Extra Super Famicom Controllers.

Nintendo N64

  • Modify: North American N64 with regular AV cable to Framemeister. There are HDMI and VGA mods out there that look appealing.
  • Flash: 64drive
  • Controllers: Stock N64 controllers.
  • Emulation: I don’t play this a whole lot, so nothing for now. RetroUSB N64 RetroPort is probably the way to go.
  • Backup: Not verified.
  • Sell: Nothing.

Sega Genesis

  • Modify: Stock North American Genesis, AV out to Framemeister.
  • Flash: Everdrive MD (Discontinued)
  • Controllers: Stock Genesis controllers.
  • Emulation: Retroarch. Need to buy two RetroUSB Genesis RetroPort
  • Backup: Not verified.
  • Sell: Nothing.

Sony PlayStation (PSX)

  • Modify North American PSX with PSIO mods. PlayStation AV to SCART cable, then to Framemeister.
  • Flash: PSIO
  • Controllers: I’m a heathen so I like the PS1 controllers without the analog sticks.
  • Emulation: RetroArch. Generic PS-to-USB adapter seems to do the trick.
  • Backup: Currently verifying against redump.org. There are a lot of bad dumps out there.
  • Sell: Nothing.

Sony PlayStation 2

  • Modify: North American PS2 with Free McBoot, SSD in the hard drive bay.
  • Flash: A regular PC SSD.
  • Controllers: Stock PS2 controllers.
  • Emulation: Haven’t delved into PS2 emulation yet, but the PS-to-USB adapter works fine.
  • Backup: Currently verifying against redump.org.
  • Sell: Lots of spare parts, memory cards, stuff like that.

Sony PlayStation 3

  • Modify: Stock ‘thick’ PS3, you know, the one that’s backwards compatible with everything.
  • Flash: A regular PC SSD.
  • Controllers: Stock PS3 controllers.
  • Emulation: Haven’t looked into this, but I guess RPCS3 is getting somewhere?
  • Backup: redump.org
  • Sell: Why do I have two extra of these? Where did they come from?