I'm not a fan of Ikea. In fact, it's a place I usually try to avoid, until I discovered that you can hack it's ultra-cheap tables into retro video game systems! You know the one I mean: PIK3A: The Raspberry Pi 3 IKEA Retro Gaming Table.
You guys have been busy making your own versions, which I'm thrilled to be reading about. Keep those photos and top tips coming.
But in the meantime, meet PIK3A Mark II.
Hackin' the LACK
This is, in many respects, the same build as the PIK3A Mk I. The idea came about when I initially bought the square LACK tables that we mounted a monitor in, and added controls to. I was casually keeping an eye out for a table that'd accommodate two players, with six buttons each. You know. A Street Fighter II machine!
There were definitely options, but the table size makes them prohibitively intrusive for the average living room. So I needed a way to reduce it, while maintaining the full control set.
The answer presented itself in the LACK TV stand; a narrow, 90cm by 26cm table that boasts a shelf and a table top deep enough to accept the joysticks and buttons. By dispensing with the monitor and going straight into the TV, the unit is easily accommodated in your average (well, as average as us element14 types ever really are) front room.
There isn't much to explain about the build that isn't already covered in the PIK3A Mk I. I cut two access holes in the bottom so I could get to the joystick and buttons for each player, and drilled start and coin buttons into the edge as before.
I kept the Raspberry Pi 3 external, mounting it in a case underneath the table top, in the centre. It's still nicely hidden, and there's only a short length of USB cable from the controls into the RPi. The benefits of this are that you don't need any extensions or panel mount connectors for the micro USB input or HDMI output. It also makes it easy to get to the SD card, should you need to.
There's no need for any acrylic or polycarbonate sheeting over the top either, given that there's no screen, making this a quick, simple yet highly effective variation on the PIK3A.
That said, one nice tweak might be coming up with a way to eliminate the HDMI cable and send the video to the TV wirelessly. Any thoughts on that?