My friend Gerald's garage conversion is impressive enough, a professional martial arts gym loaded with everything he needs to train and keep fit. But although his home gym itself is impressive in itself, with it's myriad of workout options and storage units, what really blew my mind was located in the back of his Los Angeles home garage. Gerald and I worked together for several years in the video games industry, and to this day despite a career change, he retains a strong passion for gaming. So much so that he had a custom cabinet built in the same style as a Japanese arcade head-to-head setup:
"In Japan, competition games like Street Fighter and Virtua Fighter generally have head-to-head cabinets and I wanted to recreate that feel at home with my own setup," explained Gerald, "Originally I wanted to buy a cabinet like this and stick two lcd monitors inside but after research, I realized it would never work. Titling LCD monitors at such an angle makes it hard to view."
With his extensive 3D modeling experience, Gerald designed his own cabinet model to scale and handed off the plans to a trusted cabinet maker* in Van Nuys to realize his dream in exact detail. The finished entertainment center houses a Playstation 3, alongside a PC running an AMD Athlon 64x2 Dual Core Processor, with 2gb of RAM and a NVdia GeForce 7950 GX2 Video Card, all networked to his main computer(s) system inside the house for complete integration.
As well as having full media center functionality, the PC is loaded with arcade and home console emulators for every gaming system since the Atari 2600 [note Gerald has skinned Windows XP to look and feel like OS X]. The two Sony Bravia 26" LCD monitors split the signal using component and HDMI splitters and provide an amazingly vibrant picture (I had no interest in owning a PS3 prior; now there's a definite itch). The cabinet also allows for different customized joystick/control panels to be switched out, depending upon which game is being played (he stores these additional joysticks away in a cabinet). He even sourced the exact seats used in Japanese arcades to complete the experience he dreamt of emulating Stateside. It's just too bad Gerald's home is a bit too large to qualify for our Smallest Coolest Tech Setups Contest, as this corner of his garage is just the tip of the iceberg! But he's agreed to share more of his impressive tech-integrated home in the coming days, so keep an eye out for more.
*All cabinets were custom built by Van Nuys cabinet maker, Vitek Czulak 310.600.1274 -Gregory