Wednesday, June 18, 2014

This strange invention brought back a lot of gaming memories.

Today I want to share with you all something a little more natural than gaming lists and analysis. Yesterday morning as I was checking what was new in the gaming media, I found an interesting article on Kotaku about a strange piece of  Japanese furniture called the "Forever Alone Pod" and It was seriously a "what the hell" moment. Many questions popped in my mind like how does that thing keeps a comfortable temperature inside while you have high end gaming computers and/or gaming consoles running or why does it was been advertised with a 4:3 aspect monitor with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace as the movie shown as an example, not to mention a bottle of virgin bourbon to the side of chair (yes, I got the "virgin" part of the joke, real clever).

Anyway, after reading what that thing was about and also reading some hilarious user comments I suddenly went down the memory lane to my childhood and teenage years and I realized that what I know saw as strange, was something that I tried to "invent" several times at that time. Maybe some of you have tried the same thing as well for various reasons when you were a child, it was just our imagination coupled with some simple household appliances trying to create our own "ultimate gaming environment".

The first one I tried was a mini gaming room inside my closet. One day it seems I woke up wanting to have the feeling of the arcades at home as I had previously played some arcade games that were based on semi-closed cockpit style cabinets like pole position and afterburner. So I went to my closet, pulled all my clothes to one side (which served as some sort of cushioned rest for the chair), took out some of the boxes that were inside leaving only one that was big enough to put my television on top. I also set up some old speakers that I used to have and put them on both sides of the chair as if to simulate the surround sound that some arcade cabinets had.

Then I set up everything else along with my NES and SNES and there I had it, a dark, secluded "arcade style" gaming room. At first it felt like an accomplishment as I finally felt what was like to play games like Rad Racer 2, Doom and TMNT: Turtles in Time on a sort of arcade environment, but later on it became a burden as I felt kind of cramped in it and the ventilation was not that good.

The second time I tried something like this was to solve a problem. At the time, my parents would not let me go to sleep at a late hour so in order to be able to play at night while preventing them from noticing the light glare that came from the my television shinning from under the door, I built a very primitive device using duct tape, two chairs and some bed sheets. I made sort of a "sheet tunnel" that solved the t.v glare problem and used headphones for sound. It was once again sort of an arcade style "secluded" experience (that mostly resembled that t.v scene in the Poltergeist movie). I knew that there were simpler options like putting the sheets on the door, but as a kid I wanted to create something or else I would not be satisfied so that was the product of it. A product that was very short lived, because I got tired of assembling it every night, so after a couple days I settled with the simpler solution.

The third time I tried something like that was at my teens. We planned to make sort of a camp night at the back on of one my friend's house. We set up tent and at night had this dumb idea of using an extension cord to set up my friend's t.v and some consoles to play some games. At some point, we turned off all the lights and began playing survival horror games supposedly because the night, tent and darkness would give it a "Friday the 13th - Blair Witch Project" feeling. It was kind of cool, specially when my friend's dad appeared now and then to scare off the group.

Wrapping it up

Now coming back from that memory trip, I can say that we gamers are always looking for ways to enhance our experience, but something like the "Forever Alone Pod" is not practical to use at home (especially for the high price tag) as you can just lock your room's door, turn off the lights and maybe then it will be sort of like the angry video game nerd says "playing alone at night with the sound of crickets". Maybe the thing could be used on public places like cyber cafes where people could really use the seclusion and privacy, who knows? Perhaps in the future we will see lots of these on public places, all with a convenient bottle of virgin bourbon on it added as a bonus.

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