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Help for the Ultimate Multi-Console Gaming Setup?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the easy-gaming dept.

PlayStation (Games) 119

punkrockgeekboy asks: "In our recreation room we have an NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, and a PS2. In the next few months I plan to replace the PS2 with a PS3, and also add a WII, and an Xbox360. Most of my consoles just gather dust because it's too much of a hassle to hook them up when I just want a quick Mario fix. How do people manage all of these console? In a perfect world there would be some nice, attractive rack system with 10 shelves that has clean wire management, and some sort of a built-in console switcher, so I can just power one on, hit the 'shelf 2' button, turn on my tv & surround sound, and start mashing buttons. Does anything like this exist?"

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Here's something. (2, Informative)

therpham (953844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174504)

It's not 100% exactly what you're looking for (I don't think, I didn't actually read the article) but it's pretty close. Ultimate DIY Gamer's Cabinet [lifehacker.com] .

Erm... (4, Funny)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174746)

that's just a cabinet... with game consoles in it... how could that be ultimate ?

When I think of Ultimate (with capital U) DIY Gamer's Cabinet, I think of neon-lights, plasma flow around the cabinet, totally useless smoke coming out from behind the cabinet in at least 4 different colors, actuators that move the cabinet around when you're playing a game - just for the fun of it ! - , smoke-glass that changes state electrically so while gaming, you can light up the console you're playing with (ofcourse with light in the cabinet to accentuate them).

But this ? This is just IKEA's idea of a gamer's cabinet (with the blue fans as only discerning feature) !

Re:Erm... (2)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174796)

When I think of Ultimate (with capital U) DIY Gamer's Cabinet, I think of neon-lights, plasma flow around the cabinet, totally useless smoke coming out from behind the cabinet in at least 4 different colors

Sounds like Wurlitzer needs to start making game cabinets...

Re:Erm... (2, Informative)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175860)

IKEA's not a bad way to go for this. I have a TV cabinet from Wal-Mart that has six shelves, space for my 36" TV, and two cabinet spaces. I keep my Dreamcast, SNES, N64, PS2, Cube, Xbox, DVD Player, Combo player (with broken DVD drive), switcher, 45 games, 60 VHS tapes, controllers, wires, component switcher and assorted other crap all inside it.

My TV (SD) has one coax, one S-video/composite, and one component/composite input. It also has audio out which I plug into my surround sound. The component switcher ($20-$25 at Wal-Mart when I bought it last year) has every input but coax. The DVD player, VCR, PS2 and Xbox all run through it. The SNES and Dreamcast use RF adapters, so they daisy chain off the coax plug. The Cube plugs directly into the S-Video on the TV. The N64 was added late to the lineup, and so is the only one I have to plug in before playing, but it goes into the inputs on the front of the VCR, nice and easy like.

It's not an ultimate, smoking, moving, color-changing machine, but it gets the job done, and gets it done rather easily. The biggest obstacle I've run into in setting up console wiring is just the number of inputs the TV has. The more the merrier. Component switchers are great, too. My setup was done with limited funds and my personal resignation to the fact that I'm going to perpetually have more wires behind my TV than there are grains of sand on the beach. If you're looking for a more elegant, less convoluted, and, overall, more expensive option, I don't think you're going to find anything that isn't going to have to be custom built.

As a side note, I wouldn't replace your PS2 with the PS3 just yet. As I understand it, PS2 and PS1 peripherals aren't compatible without a workaround, and if you play Guitar Hero, there's not even a workaround yet.

Re:Erm... (1)

geekboybt (866398) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176824)

You do know that the SNES, N64, and Game Cube all accept the same output connection, right? Why not just keep those three on the same shelf, and move the AV cable back and forth as needed? Sure, it's not as easy as a component switcher, but it's easier than plugging stuff into the VCR and such. Further, your PS2 plays DVDs, so you can take the DVD player out as well, maybe making room for a 360, PS3, or Wii.

Re:Erm... (1)

Jesselnz (866138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177156)

As far as I know, PS2's dvd player is buggy as hell. Two friends of mine who use their PS2s to play dvds both have trouble playing some discs.

Re:Erm... (1)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177328)

I'm having issues playing games on my PS2 already, and I've never used it as a DVD player. Another reason why I won't risk playing DVDs. I don't want to hasten the thing's practically guaranteed death.

Re:Erm... (1)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177292)

For my PS2 and Xbox, I have component cables. The both sets of cables have plugs for both Xbox and PS2. For a while, I only had one set of cables, and I was plugging and unplugging the PS2 and Xbox as the need arose. It was a pain in the ass. Add to that, the only thing I plug into the VCR is the N64, and I only do that because I have composite cables for it, and I added it to my collection several months after I finalized my setup. Plugging the N64 into the front of the VCR takes about 3 seconds and requires nothing to be moved to do. Switching it's plug with the SNES would require moving all the controllers and GameBoy bits that I store behind the two.

My PS2 does play DVDs, however, the interface is kind of a pain if you don't buy the $30 remote, and my DVD player plays .avi files, which is damn handy for me. Plus it only cost $50, and I know it's built for DVDs, where the old PS2 I have is notorious for failing when used for DVD playback on a regular basis. I'd rather not risk the console.

When I get a Wii, I'll be able to move the Cube to my bedroom TV, and when I get a 360, I'll be able to place the Dreamcast and Wii on top of the 360. I'm not buying a PS3 until the price drops a couple hundred dollars (at least), which will be a couple of years, and by then I hope to be in a different position financially, so my current setup won't matter then.

There is! (1)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174528)

I saw one at some pay as you game store (bogus!). You connect all your consoles up to one unit, sound cables and all. Find the number which corresponds with that console flip that switch and turn on your console and you're ready to game! Forgot what it was though, just thought I would tell it exists and it's out there (do I sound like X-Files yet?).

Re:There is! (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174740)

" (do I sound like X-Files yet?)."

Unintelligible, overwrought, and pointless? Yes.

Re:There is! (1)

americangame (1025646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17179242)

I saw one at some pay as you game store (bogus!).

Ever heard of an arcade?

Wii (1)

commander_gallium (906728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174536)

The Wii already replaces the Gamecube, and probably all of the other Nintendo systems you listed (via downloads).

Re:Wii (1)

Rahga (13479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174772)

It won't work for me, as I doubt they'll make Nekketsu Street Basket: Ganbare! Dunk Heroes [rahga.com] available stateside on the Wii anytime soon. :)

It won't replace all your games. (1)

goodenoughnickname (874664) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175196)

No way will Nintendo put all of the games in my collection on the Virtual Console, and if they do, I'm still not paying $5 a pop to re-buy them. A subscription service would be nice, but a better option would be a USB add-on where I could plug in my NES, SNES, N64, GB, and GBA games. I'd pay $60 for that, but I doubt I'll spend that much on games I already own. Downloading enhanced remakes or new original games over the VC is a different story though.

Re:It won't replace all your games. (1)

GrizlyAdams (999280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176528)

I imagine Datel might make such a device, since they have done it before to compete with a 1st party nintendo product (the GameBoy Player). Datel could give away the emulator w/ Wii Max Media Player, and sell the cart readers for $20-$30/ea.

Re:Wii (2, Informative)

StillAnonymous (595680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175710)

A modded XBox is a better choice if you're looking to emulate old systems. Throw in a big hard drive, all the emulators you want and go to town. You don't have to worry about which titles will be released, when, and how much they'll cost.

Re:Wii (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185066)

You don't have to worry about which titles will be released, when, and how much they'll cost.

True. You merely have to worry about having Bubba as a cellmate.

Re:Wii (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178260)

But he has original consoles with original games. Why should he pay for games again?

Re:Wii Retrogames look better than Original... (1)

trdrstv (986999) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185258)

But he has original consoles with original games. Why should he pay for games again?



Unless he has some obscure 'I'll Bet they won't re-release these' games then the Wii is attractive from the standpoint of simplicity, ease of use, lack of clutter, and yes some games are improved. Improved, not in better sprites or textures, but in better framerates and if you have the component cables, progressive scan. Mario 64 despite being emulated still looks cleaner and crisper on the Wii than the original N64.



I actually just sold my Genesis and SNES on ebay with games that I already turned around and repurchased with that money (Golden Axe in particular). Part of what I'm buying is the cleaner look from the improved hardware, and cabling. Some for the suspend feature (I can bounce out to home, and it puts my game in a sleep mode) and some for the ability to simply bounce from game to game (I'm a bit twichy) without pulling apart my set up, or moving systems out. So far the Wii has been a great 'party console' and has traveled with me a bit. I like the fact that (despite not being able to 'loan someone' a virtual game) I can take my retro collection with me in that sleek little system.



The Genesis, SNES, were replaced by the Wii and The NES will be once they put my Light gun games on the VC. I don't need all my games to be on VC, simply the 'important ones' and for everyone that's different. Even at $5-$10 they aren't priced for 'Impulse buy every title' They are priced so you pick the best ones for you.

In a perfect world there would be (1)

roystgnr (4015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174550)

Backwards compatibility, not monstrously large rackmounts for ten and twenty year old hardware. Seriously, we're just talking about running one computer's software on a different (but vastly faster) computer's hardware. That's not an intractable problem. There's no reason why playing old console games on a new console should have to be any harder than playing old computer games on new computers, and in fact it's kind of sad that often the best way to play old console games is *also* on new computers.

emulators (3, Insightful)

Nasarius (593729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174596)

If you don't want to buy all your old games again, a computer (think mini-ITX or Mac mini) with a set of emulators and ROMs is definitely the way to go. I haven't tried it myself, but Google for MythGame.

Re:emulators (1)

legoburner (702695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174704)

Another vote here for the parent. MythGame is what I use in place of my NES/SNES/N64 along with 2 playstation joypads and a PS2->USB convertor. Works like a treat and in many cases actually looks better than the original console due to the software upscaling.

Re:emulators (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174726)

You'll need a pc that has some kind of TV out.

One nice thing about emulation though is there are lots of up sizing algorithms that work well for video games and you can make old NES games look smooth on large HD tvs.

Re:emulators (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176508)

You'll need a pc that has some kind of TV out.
Fortunately, that's not really a problem. Every standalone video card I've seen for years and now quite a few integrated graphics solutions have TV outputs. I can even get component HD out from all of the GeForce 6 and 7 series hardware I have. Pretty much the only way you can buy a computer now without TV out is if you buy the cheapest POS they offer.

Re:emulators (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#17181224)

Ahh, when I did this about 5 years ago that was not even close to the case. I guess I should take a second look.

Re:emulators (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174848)

MythGame is a little rough around the edges though. You'll spend hours setting up keymappings and such. It took me several days before I got min how I like. Plus you won't have the feel of the original controller unless you want to hack some hardware. Also, unless you spend a small fortune, media center PCs are really loud.

Re:emulators (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176352)

Also, unless you spend a small fortune, media center PCs are really loud.
They don't have to be: ASUS Pundit [asus.com]

Re:emulators (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 7 years ago | (#17180040)

Very interesting. Thanks for the link. That's much cheaper than most low-noise rigs. Still not what I'd consider 'cheap', but not ridiculous like most options.

Re:In a perfect world there would be (1)

DarkJC (810888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17182918)

The problem with this is that consoles generally change hardware architectures with every generation (the Wii excluded, it uses the same architecture as the GameCube). Sony solved this problem by throwing in the old PS1/PS2 hardware in their new console. Microsoft solved this problem by using a software emulator, but unfortunately it's not foolproof and only works for specific games. I'm sure Nintendo has to retool (or at least test) the games that are released via virtual console so that they can run on the Wii (using some kind of emulator I would assume).

Apple was smart and created a software emulation environment for their big architecture jump (PPC to x86) but applications definitely don't run at full speed within Rosetta. When you're talking about games, you need them running at least at the speed they ran on the old hardware.

As for emulators playing old games on new computers, I know that PS2 emulators are just getting up to playable speeds on relatively nice hardware, with only certain compatible games. I don't know what the status is on XBox and Gamecube emulators but I'm sure they're around the same. Limited game support requiring pretty decent hardware. Old consoles, sure, that's why Nintendo can do the Virtual Console, and why Sony can release PlayStation games to be played on PSP. But the consoles from the immediate previous generation are definitely trickier.

Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1, Offtopic)

Mini-Geek (915324) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174568)

You only need three consoles, the three from the new generation: the Wii, the PS3, and the Xbox 360.
The Wii replaces your NES, SNES, 64, and GC (full backward compatible with GC, virtual console for the rest).
Now that you only have three you have to deal with the wires of, it will be easy to buy a switcher box (even auto-switcher if you like) at a radio shack or somewhere that can handle all three, along with your satellite or cable box.

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (4, Insightful)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174626)

The Wii replaces your NES, SNES, 64, and GC (full backward compatible with GC, virtual console for the rest).
Sure, if you buy all your NES/SNES/N64 games again...

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1)

PocketPick (798123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174724)

Of course, that assumes that Nintendo will release ALL the classics on the Wii. This isn't backwards compatibity in that someone can just throw the cart into the Wii. This is "When we get around to releasing it, if ever" backwards compatibility.

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (3, Interesting)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174748)

BTW, there is already instructions on how to load an emulator and old games into the Wii. And if one actually owned the old games I don't think they should have to feel guilty about doing this.

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1)

Gangis (310282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175042)

Reference, please... I have not heard anything about this. Thanks!

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175144)

Apparently as the Wii is fully compatible with the Gamecube you use the same method as you would with the gamecube, using the "Action Replay".
The action replay is sorta like a game genie for modern game systems, it plugs into the memory card slot.

The full instructions I havn't been able to find, but lots of confirmation that "it works".

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17187620)

Hardly the "instructions" you claimed existed in your previous post.

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (3, Insightful)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174762)

What's with this weird idea that the Virtual Console has every Nintendo, Super Nintendo, et al game ever made already available for (paid!) download? Have you missed the people complaining about the selection at launch?

I wasn't going to say anything but you're not the only person claiming the Wii can fill in for all the old systems; you're just the highest rated at the time I hit "reply".

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175576)

All I can figure is that Sony's implementation of backwards compatability with the PS2 spoiled a bunch of people into thinking that's a right, not a feature. From everything I've read, the only system that can be 100% replaced by the next gen systems is the GameCube by the Wii. The 360 is limited BC, I thought the PS3 worked much the same way as the 360, with the addition that you can't use PS2 peripherals at all. You definitely don't get NES, SNES, N64 BC. What you get is the video game equivalent of an MP3 player and the iTunes Store.

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17178502)

The PS3 works pretty similarly to the way they implemented backwards compatibility with the PS2 (namely, there's basically a PS2 in the box). As you say, certain peripherals don't work, but the exception of games that rely on them (anything that needs the hard drive, anything that needs the network adapter, and presumably things that use the controller ports like the dance pads) the PS3's back-compat is overwhelming. That sounded like a lot of exceptions, but it really isn't--there are a few high-profile items (FF11, presumably the DDRs), and rumor has it that the peripheral-emulation/adaptation is in the works.

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (4, Insightful)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174826)

Why do people insist on answering a question that wasn't asked? He asked for the best way to store those consoles. He didn't ask "how can I keep playing these games?"

It's a good thing this isn't a home forum.
Q: Help, my heating bill is enormous! How can I best winterize and save energy?
A: You should sell your house and move into a one bedroom apartment.

I have a collection of old consoles as well. If I just wanted to play the games I'd have an emulator set up (although I do as well). The point is that people who collect old consoles like the old consoles. People aren't keeping old consoles in their living room because they think there's no other way to play Mario. We're not idiots, we're all very familar with emulators.

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175726)

Why do people insist on answering a question that wasn't asked?

Welcome to Slashdot, newcomer!

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175716)

"The Wii replaces your NES, SNES, 64, and GC (full backward compatible with GC, virtual console for the rest)."

With respect to the GameCube compatibility, where on the Wii shall I plug in my Game Boy Player?

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17178716)

GameCube compatability, meaning, "plays gamecube games".

NOT "Does everything the GC does"

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178986)

Quoth the OP:

"You only need three consoles, the three from the new generation: the Wii, the PS3, and the Xbox 360."

If I want to play GBA games on my television, I'll need more than that.

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17186898)

You also need the Datel GBA player (dunno what it's called), not the Nintendo one (which won't work).

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17175848)

Doesn't this approach depend quite heavily on Sony's future backward compatibility fix? (They say it's coming, but I try not to hold my breath, so...) If the wait for the PS3 is simply waiting for those issues to be fixed, and not unavailability, then the PS2 replacement might make sense. But if he is hording these consoles because of a (perceived) lack of compatibility, we already know that PS3 is having issues in that department.

The problem is that I just cant figure this guy out. If it's about having consoles just to play games, then you'll (eventually) only need the Wii, 360 and PS3, as you've stated. But if its about some nostalgia in having every console... why _replace_ the PS2? Why not just add yet another console to the rack?

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (1)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175992)

You won't eventually only need the Wii for playing games. You cannot plug your NES, SNES or N64 games directly into the Wii and play them. You have to go online, purchase the games you currently have on hand, download them, and then you can play them. I have an SNES and a GameCube. I will probably put the Wii in the GameCubes place because I can directly insert and play Metroid Prime without having to purchase it again. I will leave my SNES where it is, because I own A Link to the Past and Super Mario World, and I'm not going to pay $8 to play a game I currently own. I will most definitely use the Wii to purchase and play old games I do not currently own. Ecco, Sonic, Bonk, SimCity I will buy and play, but not Mario Kart or Uniracers, since I have the carts and the console and the controllers.

Re:Three:Wii, PS3, X360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17178478)

Just to let you know, you can put gamecube disks directly in the Wii and have them play, as well as controllers including the wavebird. Gamecube games are not currently available on the virtual console.

Just a side note: There are some third party adapters coming out for the Wii that will allow you to plug in your NES and SNES controllers, although they are not available yet.

See here:

I bought VC games I already own (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#17186934)

Two things:

First, as somebody else has already said, you are wrong with regards to the Cube. You can in fact put Metroid Prime into your Wii and play it. You won't have to buy it again.

Second, I bought games I already own on the virtual console. The reason is simple: It's convenient and not too expensive. If I take my Wii to a friend's place, I have all the games I want with me. Wanna play Bomberman? Sure, it's already in the console, no cartridges to take along, no console to dig up, no cables to change, no issues with my SNES who won't play nice with my beamer (shaky picture, have no idea why), no wired controllers, no dead batteries with lost savegames, everything just works. It's convenience, and while it might not be worth it to you, it is to me.

My setup (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174610)

I don't know if this is any help, I haven't as many consoles setup as you but I have a desk setup where I do work/gaming (rather than a living room TV setup) and use the following:

- A Samsung 244T 24" TFT
- 4 port KVM into the DVI port of the above which I have my computers plugged into
- XBox 360 in the 15 pin analog VGA port (can play XBox games)
- Wii in the composite in (can play my old Gamecube games)
One of my machines on the KVM is on 24/7 and I put audio into the line in of this machine and have 5.1 surround on the machine so all consoles go into line in using some decent stereo audio splitters to get them all to go through the one line in port.

The Samsung 244T also has s-video in and the old yellow phono style connector in (can't remember what it's called) so theoretically I could send 2 more consoles in through that. Switching display is then just a simple case of pressing the source button on the monitor to switch video sources or using the menu to cycle through the video sources to choose a specific one.

This setup could be adapted to most screens I'd think, I don't think the Samsung 244T is particularly rare in having so many possible different inputs. Also, having a PC in the setup opens the option for emulators too so it's probably one of the more versatile options.

The key is simply about using lots of adapters and splitters as required, but this does require some planning however because for example the 360 needed to use the VGA cable as component in looked crap. Still, as I say, extension cables, component in and a display system with multiple input types is the key I think ;)

XBox has very limited backwards suppport (1)

Taulin (569009) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185452)

Barely half of my original XBox games are playable on my 360 (ex: The Castlevanias). People should not consider the 360 a replacement for the original XBox yet.

AV Control Center (5, Informative)

trickydisko (140390) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174652)

Joytech (among others) make a few devices which will switch between various audio/video inputs. The manufacturer's page is at:

http://www.joytech.net/1/products/av/9/AV-Equipmen t.htm [joytech.net]

I use the European version of the AVCC2, and I like it!

As for a rack, all 3 of the new consoles will stand vertically, which may save you some space. The Wii will replace your GC, and the older Nintendos if you can stand to pay for them yet again.

Re:AV Control Center (1)

StingRay02 (640085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176046)

Doesn't standing your consoles vertically send the chance of malfunctions and breakdowns through the roof?

Re:AV Control Center (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17178490)

...what would give you that idea?

THE YOSHI BOX!!! (1)

genrader (563784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174676)

If anyone remembers the Screen Savers on TechTv, I believe Yoshi's "Yoshibox" was exactly what you are looking for.

Not really that hard (4, Informative)

lidocaineus (661282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174686)

Get a preamp or integrated amp with every connector from composite on up - for general stuff like this, Denon makes some kickass integrated amps on a good scale of power and connectivity - they have upconversion from composite and s-video to component and analog to digital hdmi, which is sweet for cutting out some monitor cables, and you can go as basic or fully frilled out along their product line, with various power steps (the AVR-887 [denon.com] has a good pile of connectors and is fine for video game systems). If there aren't enough connectors, get a break-out switcher box such as the Pelican [pelicanacc.com] System Selector Pro - everything from component on down to composite with digital audio inputs (there are a bunch of different, older versions that you can get for cheaper too).

As for actual physical layout, well, if you want it to look nice, you'll really just have to get a custom install, though you can get away with messy with a false wall, or just buy something that looks good, wire up really well in the back, and never move the systems.

I have an Xbox 360, Xbox, PS2, GCN, Dreamcast, Saturn, SNES and Genesis + Sega CD (tray loading) + 32x, and it's all set up very cleanly on a generic shelving unit in the corner, next to a smoked cabinet for all the actual audio/video components... but god help me if I ever move one of the systems.

Re:Not really that hard (1)

modeless (978411) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178462)

they have upconversion from composite and s-video to component and analog to digital hdmi
My recommendation is to stay far, far away from HDMI. I'm not one of those guys who's paranoid about HDCP and DRM, but I am not a big fan of buying a $600 piece of A/V equipment and having it not work perfectly. The HDMI upconversion in these units is a disaster of picture artifacts and incompatibilities.

I know because I recently bought several upconverting receivers in a quest to find a decent one (two Onkyo tx-sr674, one JVC RX-D401). One made everything purple when upconverting from composite/S-Video. One refused to accept 480p signals and pass them through to my TV. One added a bright yellow line to the side of the screen when upconverting XBox 360 signals. All of them messed up the resolution selection options in Windows when hooked up between my PC and my TV (via a DVI->HDMI cable). All of them were victims of crappy software, both on the receiver and in my TV's HDMI implementation, resulting in a terrible user experience in general (long picture sync times, occasional lockups, onscreen menus totally sucking, latency issues).

In short, HDMI as implemented out in the wild sucks. Overall quality is extremely low despite prices trending in the opposite direction, and compatibility testing is nonexistent. I recommend buying a much cheaper receiver with upconversion to component; you will be happier and less broke. Incidentally, if your TV has a decent number of inputs this should solve your connection problem. Most receivers have enough inputs to connect three or four systems, and your TV can connect directly to the rest. (Really though, build a home theater PC, buy the soon-to-be-released XBox 360 wireless controller USB adapter, and play your NES, SNES, Genesis, and N64 games there. Nestopia, ZSNES, Kega, and Project64 are in many ways better than playing the original consoles, and the home theater PC has other uses as well).

In any case, if you plan on buying A/V receivers, definitely buy them first from Circuit City or somewhere else with a "no questions asked" return policy, even if you plan on getting them online eventually. You can get a receiver from the store, try it out, and return it in a few hours when it doesn't work or meet your standards. Once you find one you like, you can return it and buy it online. Or not, when you figure out that you'll only save $30 and you'll have to wait a week.

Re:Not really that hard (1)

lidocaineus (661282) | more than 7 years ago | (#17180844)

*shrug* If the upconversion sucks, you still have all the other output options from the preamp/integrated amp, including non-converted composite, s-video, all the way back up to HDMI. The upconversion is mostly there as a convenience to rid yourself of excessive wiring; no one expects your s-video connected piece of equipment to go through a miraculous pull-down progressive image just because it's pushed through HDMI at the end.

just hook up a video switcher? (1)

Scuff (59882) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174702)

Now I don't have nearly that many consoles hooked up, so my tv's inputs can mostly handle what I need without switching around cables, but I've seen a bunch of video switchers that can take care of the logistical end of what you need. Do a search on amazon for video switchers to get an idea. There's a lot of them out there, depending on what kind of connections you're using, it could go anywhere from $30 to $125 for a device that will switch between 5 or so devices to a tv at the press of a button. Considering that those older consoles certainly won't be using component or hdmi devices, you're probably only looking at the low or middle ends of that range. Anything that doesn't fit on there could use alternate inputs on your tv, since most tvs these days come with 3 or 4 input channels. If you're desperate for more than 8 or so ports I suppose you could daisy-chain input selecters.

The cable management you'd have to handle yourself, but once you know you won't be moving the cables for a while, it's fairly easy to neaten it up with some wireties or velcro.

Also, if you get the wii, you could keep it from causing more clutter in there by doing the same thing as your ps2/ps3 swap and eliminating the gamecube, as it will play all gamecube games natively using the gamecube controllers and memory cards.

big receiver? (0, Redundant)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174754)

As someone pointed out, the Wii completely replaces the GC, so take that out of the equation. Depending on what you play on the NES/N64/SNES, the virtual console may or may not be for you. Nintendo looks like they're going to have a slow and arduous release schedule with no real indication of when anything is coming out. Stupid if you ask me.

I guess some kind of receiver with lots of inputs would work well. I'm not sure how many you can get on one receiver, but most of them work on those RCA deals. As far as high def goes for those systems, well I have no knowledge. Use cable ties and get a nice cabinet.

Re:Wii is not a replacement! (1)

Psykechan (255694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177530)

No it doesn't.

First, the Wii will play Gamecube games, but it does not have the ports to be able to use the network adapter (for the 6 games that support it) or the Gameboy Player.

Also, the Virtual Console, while nice, is not a replacement for an existing NES/SNES/N64/TG16/Genesis collection. First, you have to purchase *every* game seperately at a cost of $5 to $10. Also, as you mentioned, you will have to deal with Nintendo's slow release schedule. Plus you can only have so many games on the list at once; if you want to have more you will need to delete some to download more. Once you pay for a game, you can download it indefinately.

I haven't had a chance to test out the emulation but I can attest that the wildly tumphed Xbox emulation is really not all it's cracked up to be. Some games play milliseconds off which can cause any timing dependant game to become less playable. Emulation is not the end-all-be-all that some people hope it is.

Re:Wii is not a replacement! (1)

crossmr (957846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177614)

I think its going to depend heavily on what games the person plays. If they don't play the 6 online games or use the gameboy player, not an issue. Same with the virtual console. As far as emulation goes, my wife has been playing super monkey ball on it and hasn't mentioned any issues.

Receiver (1)

Kuvter (882697) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174788)

I use a receiver. You can hook all yours game systems and speakers up to it.

Alternative option. They do make stand-alone RCA switches. The only one I could find past 5 or 6 ports was this: Pelican System Selector HD, which holds 10 devices.

I have such a setup (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174812)

In our family room we have an N64, a Gamecube, a PS2, an XBox, an XBox360 (it lags playing Ninja Gaiden Black which is why the original XBox is hooked up), a LiteOn DVD writer/player, an additional region-free DVD player, a HD cable box, and a DVD changer which is also the surround sound controller. The consoles and DVD player are hooked up to the surround sound via a Pelican System Selector, which has something like 8 sets of component inputs (yes, I have a component cable for my Cube even). This way I can play anything in the highest video quality and surround sound by just selecting which input the System Selector uses at any time. ... Actually the setup is a bit tricker than that at this point. So that nearly everything can be recorded onto DVD (including my playing Smash Bros. for instance) an additional system selector sends stuff to the DVD writer. It's all a bit scary and I'd have to look at it again to remember exactly how that is all set up. A guy came over to replace our cable box one time, intending to install it for us real quick and be on his merry way. He took a look at the collossal mass of cables in the back of our setup, and basically ran away. At least he left the cable box for us to hook up ourselves.

just need 3 consoles (0, Redundant)

hellfish006 (1000936) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174862)

The ps3 will be able to play all of your ps2 games eliminating the need for one. The Wii will play all Nintendo games before it, and the Xbox360 can play most Xbox games. You really only need those 3 systems...

Re:just need 3 consoles (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175170)

The ps3 will be able to play all of your ps2 games eliminating the need for one.

If the PS3's backwards compatibility is anything like the PS2's it will be quite good, but there's a good chance it won't eliminate the need for the PS2/PS1. There are quite a few [playstation.com] games that aren't backwards compatible (even some PS2 games have issues on the slim PS2).

the Xbox360 can play most Xbox games

If by "most" you mean 27% of the top 300 games [cheapassgamer.com] , then sure.

Before we all go saying... (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17174882)

That the Wii replaces the NES, SNES, N64, let's keep in mind that not all of the classics are currently available on the Virtual Console and there's a chance that there will be a good number of them that will never make it in the future. Don't throw your consoles away unless Nintendo puts every one of those old games that you would ever want to play on that service.

Re:Before we all go saying... (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17179048)

And don't throw away your consoles unless you are willing to buy all those games again.

Retro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17174970)

At least for all your retro gaming needs(NES, SNES, N64) you could just get a media PC plus emulators.

use an xbox to run emulators (1)

xshader (201678) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175030)

Replace your NES, SNES, N64, Genesis, Atari, Mame with a hacked XBox. It can run all of the mentioned systems pretty much flawlessly, and it's all-in-one.

Get a good receiver or A/V switchbox (1)

Mr. Shiny And New (525071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175048)

I had a similar problem but my situation was audio/video devices, not game consoles. DVD player, Digital cable box, VCR, 200-CD changer, HTPC, and maybe a console or two in the future; all of these devices wanted to be plugged directly into my TV. Since these all varied in terms of their video connections (i.e. some are RCA-composite, some are SVideo, and some are Component), and, actually, they varied in terms of their audio connections as well (stereo RCA, 5-channel RCA, digital coax, digital optical) I skipped a basic RCA A/V switchbox and went with a full stereo receiver. It has several inputs on the back, so I can connect 3 component video sources, and something like 10 SVideo or RCA sources, along with the corresponding digital and analog audio inputs.

My system isn't real high-end; it was about $500 CDN for the receiver. If you have different devices you may need a better receiver, but the beauty of a nice setup like this one is that you get one remote control (programmable) that controls all your devices, and you hit a selector button on the remote and it switches audio and video all at once. Your TV becomes a simple monitor; everything else goes through the receiver.

Recommended auto-sensing component switcher (4, Informative)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175056)

I have a similar dilemma myself. I have a PS2, 360, and (hopefully soon) a Wii. Unfortunately, my HDTV only has so many component inputs.

I finally purchased a component switcher recently, the Audio Authority 1154A [audioauthority.com] . It's powered, which keeps the quality very high, and even better, will automatically sense which console is on and send that signal to the TV. No more messing with extra remote controls or having to press a button on the unit to switch. It's very nice feature, especially since the next-gen systems should allow you to wireless turn on the console (well, I know the 360 does at least).

That said, I've heard some people may have problems with auto-sensing units in general. I'm not sure if it's a problem with their TV or the other units they plug into the siwtcher (certain DVD players, etc. I imagine). I do know, though, that the PS2 and 360 play along very well.

Re:Recommended auto-sensing component switcher (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17176566)

One of the worst problems with 'auto sensing' switches is the no-signal detection. Quite a few games/movies/tv shows will use a black, then white, then black image to represent lightning or other things. This freaks out most switchers and causes them to turn off (some will turn right back on, a second later). This is obviously a hassle.

Have you had this happen to you? Does it shut off/switch immediately, or does it wait a few seconds to be sure?

Re:Recommended auto-sensing component switcher (1)

Osty (16825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177532)

Have you had this happen to you? Does it shut off/switch immediately, or does it wait a few seconds to be sure?

I use an AA1154a component video switch as mentioned by the OP and have never had this problem. I'm currently running an Xbox, Xbox 360 (was my DVD player before I got an Xbox 360 and HDMI-based upconverting DVD player), PS2, and Wii (was Gamecube before I got my Wii and component cables) and it works flawlessly. If you plan to have multiple items on at the same time you do need to think a little bit about precedence, but when I'm playing my PS2 I don't have my Xbox on and vice versa so precedence has never been an issue for me.

The only problems I've ever had with AA products are superficial -- the inputs are a little cramped, which means it's hard to change out items 2 or 3 when you have all of the other components connected. That's a common problem with all A/V components, though, and is mitigated by the fact that you should rarely have to swap out components anyway. I do take my Xbox 360 to LAN parties at work occassionally, but when I do that I just leave the component cable plugged into the AA1154a and use a VGA cable to hook up to the projectors at work.

AA products are pricey, but they're worth every penny IMHO.

Re:Recommended auto-sensing component switcher (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178248)

Excellent, that's what I wanted to hear. I've probably spent half that on crappy switchers already. (Manual, or bad autosensing.) I'll gladly drop the money for a good one and be done.

Re:Recommended auto-sensing component switcher (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178264)

I've never experienced like that before. Maybe it's because I only have one console on at a time, so if the screen went dark, there'd be no reason to switch to anything else? And I know for certain that I've had black/white flashes in games. FFXII has quite a few of them as loading screens.

Re:Recommended auto-sensing component switcher (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178746)

Thanks :) The cheap switchers don't even auto-switch, and they still have this problem. I just didn't want to be out that much money and find it did that.

Re:Recommended auto-sensing component switcher (1)

jchenx (267053) | more than 7 years ago | (#17179062)

One last thing, what you pay is what you get. As you'll notice, the Audio Authority switcher is not cheap (about $150-200). The cheap switchers are, well, much cheaper. But as someone who's crazy sensitive about graphics quality, I wanted to make sure that my expensive consoles on my expensive HDTV wasn't degraded in any way. In the past, the cheap switchers noticeably affected graphics quality. I can safely say that this isn't the case with the AA 1154A.

I hate to sound like a paid advertisement, but it took me a while to find one that I liked. :) (I even posted a journal entry asking for help)

Re:Recommended auto-sensing component switcher (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17179590)

I had actually given up. I was looking for anything up to like $300. I checked out numerous reviews online, and if they didn't have the issue I had, then there were other, worse issues.

Oddly, even my cheapest solutions didn't have any signal problems... Just the switch-off on a black screen.

Their site lists the unit for $220, and I'm going to just buy it from them. I don't mind paying for quality.

Dood ... it's called a PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17175284)

consoles are for kids

join the free world

Where are the HTPC games? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178890)

consoles are for kids

join the free world

I would, but there are too few PC games designed specifically for home theater PCs. When I have friends and/or family over, I want to be able to play a multiplayer game with them without having to buy extra PCs. Unfortunately, most multiplayer PC games do not take into account the possibility of HTPC gaming with four USB gamepads and thus require one PC per player. (There are exceptions, such as Serious Sam.)

Can do it on the cheap (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175330)

We have an NES, N64, Game Cube, Wii, Atari 7800, Genesis, VSmile and PSOne hooked up to one TV, plus the cable box, DVD and tape player. The TV has an RF input that the Atari and Genesis hook up to, and two RCA inputs. Each RCA input goes to a switch box, one 4-port auto-switching and one 6-port manually switched.

So I have at most two things to hit to select a console: the TV input selection if it's on a different input, and the switch box if the console is on the manual one.

Re:Can do it on the cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17179074)

Atari 7800 FTW. :)

Emulators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17175506)

On the Xbox you can use emulators. My brother has the SNES emulator on his Xbox, it works good. He also has a Nintendo 64 emulator, but it doesn't work so good as the SNES emulator.

All consoles sucks except Super Nintendo, its the best console ever!

Affordable cartridge copiers? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178920)

On the Xbox you can use emulators.

But how does a fellow copy his NES, Sega Genesis, Super NES, and Nintendo 64 cartridges to the Xbox console's hard drive or to a CD? Tototek sells copiers for some (not all) of the above, but they're more expensive than the console.

Re:Affordable cartridge copiers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17182920)

He downloads roms of all the games he has.

UMG v. MP3.com (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17185872)

He downloads roms of all the games he has.

At $750 to $30,000 a piece [bitlaw.com] . The fact that you own a copy is no defense [wikipedia.org] . Only using a copier yourself is the lawful way to get commercial games into a PC based emulator.

subj. (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175694)

Well for starters the SNES N64 and Gamecube all share a common A/V connector, so that should cut down on cables considerably. NES uses and Wii use a different connector, so you'll have to connect them to the switch box seperately. PS3 and XBox2 can both connect to the switch box directly (they don't share their A/V connectors with their direct predecessors)... that still leaves you with your TV in, assuming you're using S-Video and not component (which is only better when using greater than 480p). Video switches are less than $20 at gamestop. A few $$$ more if you want one with a remote.

auto selecting A/V switchers (1)

entropi (2933) | more than 7 years ago | (#17175758)

Definitely not ultimate, but for my old consoles, I have a couple of these daisy chained together:
http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/ProdView.asp?g= 15270&I=158SBV55A [crutchfield.com]

Since I don't have a HDTV, I just have my Tivo, DVD, etc all going into them. Whichever I turn on gets auto-switched to, be it the Tivo receiver, dvd player, or gamecube. They due great for me as far as ease of use. I have an older TV and I've found that these do a better job of downgrading S-video to Composite then my DVD players' internal converter, so I feed S-Video to them where possible.

There might be options with more inputs and component support there as well:
http://www.crutchfield.com/cgi-bin/ProdGroup.asp?g =15270 [crutchfield.com]

The A/V switch is my greatest hurdle. (1)

soulctcher (581951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177118)

I have the following systems:

These are in a rack next to the 32" Olevia I use for my PC's monitor:
Atari 2600
Odyssey 2
NES
SNES
N64
Genesis/32X/Sega CD
Saturn
Dreamcast
3DO
PS1
PS2
XBOX

In addition, I have the Wii hooked up to the main 57" in the living room. I also have a bookshelf that holds the Virtual Boy, Game Boy, GBA SP, DS, PSP, Game Gear, and Lynx. I have two very packed shelves dedicated to holding the games.

I expect that for Christmas, I would be receiving at least one more console system, and possibly another handheld...perhaps even more.

The metal rack I picked up has 8 shelves, and it's about 3' across, so it works perfectly to hold the consoles. The biggest problem is the A/V switch. I've not found a solution that has enough inputs for all the systems. I'd love to not have to unplug/plug in a system when I want to play it, but I've just not found a way to do that yet.

Uh, a receiver? (0)

NineNine (235196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177478)

Uh, I hate to say it, but that's what a "receiver" is for. Get a good stereo receiver that handles video in addition to audio, and use that. I don't really know how this made it as a Slashdot article. I've had this set up at my place for, jeez, I dunno... a decade?

How about you get a life instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17177496)

There is more to life aside from playing video games.

Re:How about you get a life instead? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#17178954)

There is more to life aside from playing video games.

Or reading Slashdot for that matter.

Re:How about you get a life instead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17185846)

J'te crois pas. Prouve-le!

Re:How about you get a life instead? (1)

Captain Jack Taylor (976465) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187392)

Wow...that's just silly. Of course there's more to life than playing video games, most of us should know that. That said...video games are still fun, and someone with a whole pile of consoles just wants to make it easier to just get playing. If you DON'T think video games are fun...then really, why the heck are you posting in a thread about video games? :p The best way to do that, by the way, would be just a simple switchbox to handle everything, of course then you're still dealing with the rat's nest of wiring as far as the switch box. not much you can do about that, though.

Thats strange... (1)

TheQuantumShift (175338) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177718)

I don't see anyone gushing about the Wii's ability to replace all your Nintendo gear (you just have to buy the games again, thats all...). Seriously, do you really need all those consoles hooked up at once? We all know you don't, but we all know it "would be cooler if you did". It does sound like you have it already planned out, I think your best bet is going to be DIY.

Receiver (1)

JRW129 (823295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17177800)

All you need is a nice A/V receiver bud. one with multiple inputs. like a yamaha or onkyo

Im lazy (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 7 years ago | (#17182852)

So i dont feel like googling, but i know at work we have this cable that has composite, L and R audio and S-Video on one end, and Xbox, PS2, Gamecube and 360 connectors on the other for like $15. Not a panacea, but itll help. You can find switchboxes with 5 ins for everything from coax to s-video for around $30 though.

Ok, i did search, they have 2 listed on amazon [amazon.com] , but neither are in stock and neither have a brand name listed...

SNES to Gamecube Av cables (1)

metal slime (825519) | more than 7 years ago | (#17184806)

Well one thing to do is to group your SNES, N64, and Game Cube together and just use one a/v hookup between them. All three Nintendo systems use the exact same output on them for audio and video and the cables are compatible. Doing this I keep my PS1/PS2 hooked up in one a/v port on my TV and all Nitendo systems share another.

Joytech (1)

goldcd (587052) | more than 7 years ago | (#17187770)

make a number of switches http://www.joytech.net/1/products/av/9/AV-Equipmen t.htm [joytech.net] that do scart and component switching - there's even a specific 360 one if you click the link.
Really nice of kit that just do what they say on the tin. Bit that I like is that as well as SCART or composite switching, they'll switch a TOS link as well (TV might have many inputs, but decoders are sometimes a bit more limited).
Click one button on the little remote and you can flick between your consoles at will. If you get a decent remote, you can just stick the switch IR command into your Macro.
Oh and whilst I'm plugging it, the insulation on each channel is perfect (I have worked my way through a number of vile and cheap switchers).
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