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knievel1

Best Retro Gaming Setups

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I've got OpenEmu / MAME / Steam / Stella on an iMac with a X-Gaming Arcade Stick. 

It's a highly enjoyable setup but always looking for ways to expand. 

 

Not interested in consoles past N64 - would like to attach paddles/joystick that feel authentic to Atari 2600 

but other than that not sure where else to go? 

 

I realize there's plenty more available if you spend the $ (MAME arcade cabinet / Virtual Pinball) 

but interested to know other's setups? 

 

 

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"Best" is highly subjective, so you need to give additional parameters. Do you want emulation-focused setups? Real hardware? CRT or flat panel? What's "best" for me is in no way best for you.

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That's right. I focus on machine accuracy and is some cases MAME doesn't cut it. I Prefer Stella 6 and the latest version of Altirra and Applewin. These are more accurate and feature-complete.

 

I like to have some semblance of CRT'ness, but I can do without the fake curves and their filters. I also like all the modern conveniences a PC provides, so I make sure my fav emus are supported by a wide range of PC-based filing utilities and disk image manipulators. Having the emu talk to the outside world as in calling a BBS is cool, so I make sure serial ports are operational and hooked wherever possible.

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As previously stated by them, the "best retro gaming setup" is very subjective, but I will describe my own as I like having a good mixture of setup. 

I previously was using a Framemeister along with any RGB ready or modded consoles I could get. I think I maxed out at around.... 8-10 consoles. Took some time and money, but I had almost everything through RGB with a few odd component items as necessary. It was a beautiful setup... but I worried about failure and redundancy. Thus I began the great console purge and switched over to...

 

HDMI setup! I greatly reduced the number of consoles I had and focused on having HDMI-capable replacements for everything. This involved replacing all my RGB-Scart setup with consoles that were either capable of HDMI through an adapter or an HDMI full replacement. I also ended up eliminating consoles that I liked but wasn't in love with. I ended up eliminating NES, Sega Genesis, and N64. I traded up the SNES to a Super NT and invested in a usable (but questionable) HDMI adapter for PS1. 

 

At this point, I have an older 4k Vizio with only the following consoles: PS1 thru PS4 (all HDMI except component on PS2), Super NT, HDMI-modded GameCube, Switch, and PS4. I also purchased a low end slim desktop PC for emulation. Once I added a slimline video card in it, I can handle as heavy a games as PS2, GCN, and Dreamcast! This is where I put all the games/roms of titles I'd enjoy playing, but I don't feel the want or need to have a dedicated console for. 

 

I MAY consider a Mega Sg in the future, but until then, I'm happy with my mixture of real HDMI options and an emulation PC to round it out~

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Not meaning to show off or anything but, to fit as a best gaming setup is very subjective but, figure I might as well...

 

Let's see, I have 5 coin op arcade machines....  Crystal Castles, Atari System 1 machine that is running Marble Madness (but, have Indiana jones and the temple of doom and road blasters that I can swap out), a Star Wars cockpit, An original restored Asteroids (got as a empty cab, and restored it) and a Ms. Pac-man that is currently running Jr Pac-man (I can swap very easily).

 

I am now over 35 different consoles not including portables(or duplicate systems), maybe another 15-20 of portables, with a TON (over 1000) games for these systems.  I plan on setting up an ikea 6 X 6 cab to handle 20 classic consoles and have another 5 CURRENT consoles setup on the other side of the room. They will be all accessible from a single click on a touch screen remote (Macros to change everything to be ready to play). Will be going with the best video out possible, RGB or S-video for older consoles but, everything will be going through a Framemeister.. This is coming soon !

 

As for Emulation setups go,  I have a Home theater PC that I use Windows Media Center for a DVR, Movies and even streaming sources(it runs at 4K), I added Emulation Station for Windows on it, I was able to add the best emulators I can find and it can run everything from the early systems like the 2600, all the way to Wii, Xbox and PS1 games. Most I use a Xbox 360 wireless controller but, I have USB adapters for about 6 different types of controllers and plenty of original controllers... This system has a very nice video card in it for 4K movies and I have had no problems running any game I have dumped at it...

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Without getting into modern conveniences in one example and partly so with the other, I found at least for arcade play the best of the best for space and value would be a Neo Geo arcade cabinet and then a modern drop in cocktail table unit.  The first uses puffy VHS tape box sized cartridges so you can have an entire arcade in the space of one cabinet and a stack of carts.  The other you can toss a legit board into something of the sort, or just one of those multiboards from a basic iCade 60in1 to something more meaty like those pandora devices.  You get a heap out of a small loss of space.  Outside of that, similar work can be done with a digital pinball table housed in a rehabbed or modern copied pinball cabinet to run heaps of tables.  Though when yuo get into consoles, your mileage can vary but if you're fine using kits, you can have a console and a single cart eating up negligible space and still using a legit ROM on an actual cart you're not souring or watering down the experience.

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Putting aside all concerns of emulation vs. real hardware, video preferences, etc. the two things I value most in a setup are organization & accessibilty. If getting to a system involves going to a closest, moving boxes to get to a specific box, getting the system out of the box, finding the other box with the cables, finding yet another box for controllers, moving stuff to get behind the TV to hook up- yeah I already don't want to play anymore. Alternatively, if an emulation setup involves input commands that feel like an arcane ritual to decipher what s%!2mb&es.exe is, I'm not gonna bother. I know depending on a person's specific situation some concessions must be made, but the more idiot-proof a setup is the better.

 

All my consoles post-1983, save the TurboDuo, are hooked up & plugged in at all times. The buttons on 2 of my 3 switchboxes are labeled, the one that isn't is an autoswitching HDMI box. So using my setup is "turn on tv. Select the name of the switchbox from the source list. Hit the right button (if applicable). Turn on system". I'd like to find a better solution for the older machines, since they all have to be setup every time you want to use them- but I don't have the space. At the very least, they're out on a bookshelf for easy access, and I have switches/extension cables to move the connections forward so you don't have to get behind the TV.

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