Dick’s Retro Gaming Center v1

Now that I’ve got room and I don’t plan to move houses again: let the hoarding commence.

I picked up a NES and I have a list of games that I aim to amass. Then I found a 27″ Magnavox CRT TV for $5 at my community’s yard sale. Why CRT? Some people even swear by CRT monitors for modern usage, but I don’t go that far. I simply think that if I’m going to be firing up old console hardware, I should also use retro display hardware.

After I got that Magnavox, my wife’s brother said, “Oh, man! I could have given you the Trinitron I have in the basement.” Now, I don’t know the nuts and bolts as much as as of my friends do on this subject, but I know enough to know that Sony Trinitrons are the gold standard for CRTs, the best of the best while people were still making tube TVs. I told my brother-in-law that I may still take him up on that.

But, for this 40 inches wide version, it’s 200 lbs. And, I still wanted to keep the Magnavox, since the NES light gun won’t work on flat screens, be they CRT or LCD. I looked around for something that could house them both but finally decided I would have to construct it myself if I wanted it perfect.

v2 of my plans, created with virtual graph paper and then MS Paint.

I was able to get the requisite 2×4 quality wood cut to length at Lowe’s (except for the 4x4s, which I just had to eyeball cut myself). Putting it all together, I noticed something horribly wrong.

Son of a…

My four 2x6s didn’t line up to the length of the 24 inches 2x3s. I sat there in disbelief as I did the math for 4 * 6 over and over again. Then I started reading online and found that 2x4s are not 2 inches by 4 inches. Apparently they used to be, but they are now 1/4 to 1/2 inches thinner on each side.

As much as I thought this wrecked my plans, it turned out to be OK, since all it did was give gaps in my table surfaces. In fact, maybe it was better this way. Here’s the complete construction.

Black and cans.

We had some stain that I could apply. I thought a few coats would be needed, but this wood soaked it up real well, leaving a surprisingly nice distressed look.


With all this done, all that was left was getting the behemoth TV over to my place. We could have really used Tim’s powerlifting strongth to help with this, but we managed with the help of mechanical advantage. We then picked up some Ikea furniture to round out the storage.

Note the BurgerTime curtains in the window boxes.
No, I did not place Murphy in any of these shots. He is almost always in the way, these photos being no exception.

Another thing to note about the Trinitron: this is not the end of the line for it. I does high definition and, while it doesn’t have HDMI, it has a shit ton of other inputs. This will eventually be used to hook up to a media PC to emulate stuff and play other media. Some of those 200 lbs. must also be invested in speakers, as the sound of this thing is impressive, especially the low-end freqs.

3 thoughts on “Dick’s Retro Gaming Center v1

  1. I was totally going to ask how Murphy made it into the majority of the photos.

    That is odd about the 2x4s. I would have also gone crazy trying to figure out what I did wrong. Do you know when they 2x4s started loosing 1/4 to 1/2 an inch?

    Cool setup though. I look forward to checking it out the next time I am out your way.

  2. Sweet rig. Marble Madness to boot.

    I want to say we learned the 2×4 thing in shop in middle or high school. The 2×4 measurement was the size of the undried, unfinished board. Those two processes make the board smaller. According to wiki, the sizes have now been standardized and the starting size is no longer 2×4.

    Lumber’s nominal dimensions are larger than the actual standard dimensions of finished lumber. Historically, the nominal dimensions were the size of the green (not dried), rough (unfinished) boards that eventually became smaller finished lumber through drying and planing (to smooth the wood). Today, the standards specify the final finished dimensions and the mill cuts the logs to whatever size it needs to achieve those final dimensions.

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