Alright, first, let's get this part out of the way:
- I intend to make a video that shows me creating a working hand held, portable gaming device
- I will post the video on the element14 Community by the submission deadline, 2-April-2018
- If my video is one of the top 10 finalists I will receive $500 for my video
- Of course, if you want to tell us more about yourself, your project or anything else - feel free to include it in the document.
Why, thank you! I think I will say a little about myself.
One of my first loves, besides pencil and paper, was video games and electronics. I remember when I first played Pac-Man at some Good Sam park while vacationing with the family. I was 4 turning 5. Even though I had no idea why I could sometimes eat ghosts and why sometimes I couldn't, I fell in love. A few years later, we got an Atari 2600 for the home on Christmas. I loved it. I grew up playing a lot of the classics, and over time it made me wonder how these things did what they did. I started taking apart certain electronics at home, without anyone knowing and couldn't figure anything out, then would put them back together. It wasn't until I was 9, when I learned that I could program the class room computer to make my own games, that I found one of my callings. Soon, I was making simple BASIC text games and my classmates were baffled at what I could do. Then a year later for my birthday, I got the Radio Shack Microcomputer Kit, so I could learn to program a simple computer on a Machine Language level, and I made my own simple little games with it. We couldn't afford a full fledged computer, so that had to do. Later on came the Nintendo, and an electronics kit, so I could figure out how electronics components worked. I remember not quite being able to piece things together, because I couldn't quite grasp how they were explaining things in the manual, as I had a simple understanding of it all, and the bridge was never able to get gapped. Then in high school, with my paper route, I bought my first real computer, a Tandy Color Computer 3 from the local Radio Shack with a tape deck to load and save programs. I knew a few people in town that had one too and we would share software. I learned how to program with graphics almost immediately and started to make my own graphical games. I then took all the computer and principles of technology classes that were offered in high school and it started to give me a better understanding of how electronics worked. At the same time I set up my own BBS (Bulletin Board System) that people could call in with their computers via terminal program. I ran this for several years (upgraded to a PC during the last few years of it before the Internet swept me away). I continued to dabble in electronics, but never really got anywhere. I had the opportunity to go to ITT Technical institute out of high school. I took the test and passed with flying colors, and they wanted me, but the price was pretty steep, so I ended up going to community college instead, where I learned how to program in C++. Once I entered the job market, after a few years of washing dishes, my fellow CoCo3 pal, hired me to work at his ISP, my first real computer job, doing all sorts of jobs. Customer service, technical support, and other odd jobs there. Then after several months of that, I moved on and got a job as a computer repair technician, that I did for over 3 years. After that I was hired as a Web Developer and did that for another 5 years, while at the same time running my own business selling vintage and classic computers and video games, because that's where my heart really was. During this time, I learned a lot about electronics and classic computers/consoles. How they worked, how you could repair and modify systems, and the list goes on. In my searches on the Net, I came across a guy named Ben Heck who had a website. He modified real Atari systems into portables. I wanted to do it too, and learned how. I did, and it worked....for a short time. I had an an undetected short that fried the system when my niece was playing it and it was unrepairable after that. However, I did make a couple different versions of it in the future. All the while, I learned how to replace Atari ST floppy drives with PC ones with modification, tried my hand at Amiga hardware upgrades, learned how to transfer software between the PC and classic computers, etc, etc, and a lot of etc. Once my Web Developing job ended, I had to find a new career and rediscovered an old passion of mine. Creating my own worlds and stories with art and writing. I decided to go into animation. I went to VanArts in 2006 and graduated their 2D Animation program. Shortly after I got my first animation gig and have been doing it ever since, but I never forgot my love for electronics and video games. Before this, I went to a few Classic gaming conventions in Sea-Tac (called NWCGE at the time), and was introduced to a new thing called BATARI BASIC. It was finally a way to program Atari 2600 games with a BASIC compiler, something I wanted to do since I was little. It was still early in devolpment, but always planned on going back to it. One day it struck me to search for it at home, and came across it on AtariAge. I downloaded it, and started to figure it out. I made a test game that was buggy, but it worked for the most part. Never released it. In fact, I don't think I have it anywhere anymore. I was satisfied though and put it away for a little while. Then about a year later while searching through videos, I stumbled across a Mega Man demo done with Batari BASIC and was floored. It could do far more than I thought possible. I went to see what other people were making with it, and saw a few people attempting a Super Mario type game but they never really got anywhere, nor did I think it captured the spirit of the game. I always wanted to see SMB for the Atari 2600, so I thought, why not, and went at it. Several months later i had Princess Rescue. While posting demos of what I had, the owner, Albert, at AtariAge got wind of it and said he wanted to produce it for AtariAge, and I agreed. It was something else to see a game I made for the Atari 2600 being actually physically produced with a manual and box. I decided a few years later to go at it again with another "demake" called Zippy the Porcupine. Now I'm in the middle of my next completely original game, Robot Zed. I never lost my passion for electronics either, and channeled my never ending creativity to start working on my own electronics projects. I have a tiny budget for this, probably like most people, and had to find ways to make my own stuff on the cheap. Going to conventions like PRGE, and grabbing systems that had seen better days for cheap was a good way to get classic consoles that I could use in my projects. Goodwill and 2nd hand stores was another good way too. I got the bright idea to find kids laptops, like the ones made by VTech and Leap Frog, gut them, and use the cases for my own portable consoles. I learned how to make an audio amp, and also learned how to take LCD screens for old portable DVD players and modify them to work with a composite or S-Video signal. With all that, I made a portable NES laptop, portable SNES laptop (currently disassembled), portable PS1 laptop, and a portable Genesis laptop, although I didn't include that in my video, because I was dissatisfied with the paint job I did on it. I also learned how to take a system like an AtGames Genesis, the ones with the built in games and no cartridge port, and modify it. I put on a cartridge port and removed the ROM and it worked, however it needed further modification for Sonic & Knuckles to work, and that's when something went wrong and the whole thing died. It happens sometimes, especially when your working with sensitive electronics. Recently, I've been getting into programming microcontrollers and having fun with the Raspberry Pi, and learning how to modify other systems for things they were never intended to do. I also have an apartment full of shelves just full of parts for possible future projects. The ideas never end! I think I've rambled on for far, far too long now, so I will let you go. If you stuck with me this long, then congratulations!