The Retro Fun and Games House

A popular game most of us play at one time or another is: imagine you have a million dollars and no one to please but yourself. What would your home look like? For a gamer, it would of course be full of games. The latest consoles, computers, and electronics. But what about the rest of the house? You have to have furniture and fixtures, so you might want to "game" those, too!

You know something is different about this house as soon as you get to the front door and see this LED Space Invaders doormat. Yes, it lights up! But only when someone is near, thanks to a motion-sensor.


We saw a Pac-Man chair last year from a furniture designer, but it was just a concept that doesn't yet exist. What does exist are these handspring trainers, also called Pac-Man mats. These are from NRA Gym Supply. My daughter uses one in her gymnastics class. They cost about as much as you'd expect to pay for designer furniture, and they are the right color, too!


That yellow in the chairs will contrast nicely with the Pac Man carpet. This hand-woven rug is quite a rare item; only two were ever made. Yours for only $15,000.

More retro game home accessories, after the jump.


How cool is a Tetris tiled shower? If I were to put this in my house, I would insist on smaller tiles, which I would then have to install myself.


Tetrad from Brave Space uses Tetris-inspired shapes to form shelving units. Each unit is one shape, which you assemble and combine as you please. The backs can be colored individually. The shelf pictured is made from ten units, which will run you $1,500.


In the bedroom, you'll want an appropriate quilt. Lots of folks have made various videogame quilts; you can, too!


Even the nursery can have game icons. Entertain (and indoctrinate?) your baby with a Space Invaders Baby Mobile. By the time he can use buttons, he'll know who he wants to shoot.
Not all retro games are videogames. This wordsearch wallpaper can keep you busy for years. As you find more words, the wall becomes an evolving piece of art. You might want to keep a supply of markers around to match your overall color scheme.

435_slider_lg1.jpg While we are including non-video games, we may as well have some retro art. This slider puzzle is two feet tall and hangs as art, but it's also a working puzzle. You can have one made with your own design, or even a photograph!


A little (or a lot) of paint can turn a room into a fantasyland. This Mario room was found at a collection of five retro gaming walls. You need to go check it out and see the lovely tiled Pac-Man wall as well.

Put all these ideas together, and you'll feel like Tom Hanks in the movie Big. Like a little kid again!
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Unraveling the Legend of Polybius, the Most Dangerous Video Game of the 1980s

For several decades, a creepy urban legend has circulated in the darker corners of online forums devoted to vintage video games. The tale goes that in 1981, a game with some unfortunate side effects appeared in a few suburban arcades in Portland, Oregon. The game was said to have been housed in an all-black cabinet, and while playing it was fun, gamers soon noticed they were feeling terrible after their sessions—suffering from extreme anxiety, seizures, night terrors, and an obsessive desire to continue playing. Some were even said to have attempted suicide.

To make matters even weirder, men in black supposedly visited the cabinet every few weeks to collect some kind of data—not money—from the back of the machine. And just a few months after it appeared, the game was gone. Its name: Polybius.

Some said the game was connected to MKUltra, a (real) CIA program experimenting with behavior modification techniques and LSD from the 1950s through the '70s, although no evidence of that was ever found. Recently, Great Big Story's series "8 Bit Legacy: The Curious History of Video Games" set out to investigate Polybius, and found some surprising truths behind the mystery. They also found some fans attempting to recreate the game—hopefully minus the ill effects. You can learn more below:

8 Clever Ways to Recycle Your Old Nintendo Equipment

For retro game players looking for a simple fix, the recent arrivals of Nintendo’s official NES Classic and Super NES Classic game systems have been an exciting purchase. The systems—when you can find them in stock—boot up dozens of classic games via an HDMI port. That’s left a pretty big inventory of original consoles and cartridges collecting dust in attics.

If you’re crafty and you dig the Nintendo aesthetic, check out these ideas for how to repurpose your old game gear into something new. (A word of caution: Modifying electronic components carries risk of electric shock, so we recommend being careful and using good judgment.)


A Nintendo console is shown after being modified into an alarm clock

Instructables user arrmayr0227 uploaded this tutorial on a better way to wake up. You’ll be splicing together a gutted NES console with a digital alarm clock, then rewiring the controller to set the time. The reset button acts as a snooze bar and the power button sets the alarm.


Video game artisan Fluctifragus offered a step-by-step breakdown of hollowing out an old NES console to make room for your tuna sandwiches. The interior components can be removed with a screwdriver; the remaining screw posts can be clipped and filed down with a rotary tool. Two small hinges will keep the top and bottom tethered together.


(Or coin purse, if you prefer.) Instructables user Zenilorac detailed a controller hack that involves separating the part by removing the back screws and then gluing a fabric-based zipper around the edges.


Lehmeier at Instructables perfected a new way of antagonizing your cat by rigging a laser diode and 9-volt battery into the NES’s light gun accessory. Pulling the trigger will allow power to pass from the battery to the diode.


For Mario, it’s always time to eat mushrooms. Your schedule is probably a little less predictable. He can still help you tell time with this tweak from Instructables user BeanGolem. The clock hands are spray-painted, while the cartridge is split in half to allow for a clock mechanism (available at most craft stores) to be installed.


A Nintendo Advantage controller is used as a guitar pedal
wenzsells, Instructables // CC BY 2.0

The joystick-equipped Advantage controller was one of the earliest peripherals available for the NES. Using this guide from Wenzsells, it’s the perfect size to double as a chassis for a pedal kit. The “turbo” knobs control volume, while the A button acts as power switch.


A Super Nintendo cartridge is used as a wallet
stalledaction, Instructables // CC BY-NC-SA 2.5

Who doesn’t want to show a bartender their ID by flashing a Super NES game cartridge? Instructables user Stalledaction crafted this conversation piece by fitting a transparent plate to the front and adding space for keys and a USB drive.


A Nintendo controller is operated as a computer mouse
Courtesy of Ryan McFarland

Ryan McFarland came up with a novel use for an old controller: turn it into a PC interface. An optical mouse is inserted into the chassis, while the A and B buttons serve as the left and right selectors. You’ll need, among other things, a Dremel tool, a hot glue gun, and about four or five hours’ worth of patience.


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