8Bitdo arcade tabletop

I’ve just seen the 8Bitdo arcade tabletop machine in my feed and isn’t it a stunning piece of retro gaming hardware!

8Bitdo are the company that have been helping to bring your existing retro consoles into the 21st century with the Bluetooth NES and SNES controllers. Allowing you to play your classic retro console games without the wires of yesteryear.

Appropriately named the 8Bitdo Desktop Arcade, this really is a fancy piece of retro kit.

profile of 8bitdo arcade desktop

Dan8Bitdo arcade tabletop
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Ultra cool NASA retro space travel posters

Earlier this year, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory release a set of 14 rather cool NASA retro space travel posters titled ‘Visons Of The Future’. A blast-from-the-past style poster with modern day content. During the 30s and 40s, artists designed posters for the Works Projects Administration to encourage tourism in the US. JPL has created an intergalactic equivalent, encouraging the likes of experiencing the Auroras of Jupiter, the liquid methane lakes of Titan and from another perspective, visiting earth once we’ve all jumped ship.

DanUltra cool NASA retro space travel posters
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The Handheld Sinclair ZX Spectrum

Recently finished on the crowd-sourcing website Indiegogo is the extremely successful handheld Sinclair ZX Spectrum, “Vega+”. From Retro Computers Ltd, a Luton, UK based start up, they have crowd-sourced the concept of the Vega+, a low cost handheld games console with a colour LCD screen and 1,000 licensed games installed. Crowd-sourcing was completed with over 350% of the original fund request.

sinclair zx spectrum profile

The company behind the Vega+ Handheld Sinclair ZX Spectrum

The Vega+ project will be marketed by Retro Computers Ltd, in which Sir Clive Sinclair’s company, Sinclair Research Ltd, is a shareholder. The project is under license from Sky In-Home Service Ltd who inherited the intellectual property rights so the Spectrum computers from Amstrad.

The Vega+ comes complete with 1,000 licensed games built in and has sufficient memory to allow you to download many thousands of additional Spectrum games free of charge.. You can play this using the built-in LCD or the other option is to plug it into a TV set.

The concept design of the Vega+ is by Rick Dickinson, one of the UK’s leasing industrial designers, responsible for the design of Sir Clive Sinclair’s ZX computers back in the 1980s: the ZX 80, ZX 81 and ZX Spectrum.

sinclair zx spectrum connectivity


  • Classic gaming D-Pad, offering up, down, left right and diagonals.
  • Four primary action buttons and three secondary buttons.
  • System menu and control-set toggle button.
  • Volume up/down / Brightness up/down.


  • Sharp LCD 4:3 aspect ratio with approximately 0.2565 mm dot pitch. Accurately reproduces the ZX Spectrum 256×192 resolution with minimal screen border.
  • LCD Screen brightness adjustable. Suitable for all light levels, and to extend battery life.
  • Extended “ULAplus” colour palette support, in addition to the classic ZX Spectrum colour palette.


  • SDSC and SDHC micro SD cards are supported.
  • Additional games may be loaded from micro SD card – popular snapshot and tape file formats supported.
  • SD card also allows preferences and game-saves to be stored for later resumption.
  • Firmware upgradable through SD card.

Although the campaign is now complete, you’ll hopefully be able to pick one up direct from Retro Computers soon.

sinclair zx spectrum handheld playing skool daze

DanThe Handheld Sinclair ZX Spectrum
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Revival 2014 run-down

It’s been a week since we got back from Revival and what a great show it was too! Craig, Chris and the Revival team did an amazing job again. Plenty of consoles, computers, arcade cabinets, light gun machines, driving games, pinball machines, traders, talks, costumes, chip-tunes, special guests, competitions…

surface tension was there with our stand again this year in the chill-out zone. With us we had our Dual, Arcane and forthcoming upright, Retrograde. Plenty of couches to crash out on too. We had our Rubik’s Cube seat on one side of the Dual, but also built some quirky seating for the other side. A 555 timer seat modeled on the 8-pin through-hole IC, which got plenty of attention! If you’re interested, you can see how it was made here.

surface tension stand

We had a good buzz around the stand all weekend with all ages.

555 seat

The 555 seat with the Dual arcade table.

Super Hexagon Arcade Machine

Super Hexagon arcade machine

Super Hexagon worked a treat on the upright. Though the surface tension team were battling it out between us for the highest score, only to be beaten by a 12 year old (not pictured). Meh.

Super Hexagon Arcade Machine

Our feeble attempts before being out-done 🙁

Goldeneye 4 player

If you didn’t get hooked on this 20 years ago, what were you hooked on?!

retro computers and consoles.

Loads of consoles and home computers to bring back the memories.

retro systems for sale

Plenty of systems to buy as well as play.

Pinball machines

pinball machines

A plethora of pinball machines, but never a spare one!

Traverse USA arcade cabinet

Crazy Balloon arcade cabinet

Driving arcade machines

Standup arcade machines in a row

Stand up arcade machines

There weren’t quite as many stand-ups as last year, but more than enough to keep you occupied. Plus with all of the pins, you weren’t left twiddling your thumbs.

John Romero playing multiplayer Doom

John Romero was there for a Q&A session, and to kick your ass at Doom.

Revival Survival Cabinet

Craig’s Revival Survival cabinet made its debut…

surface tension in Revival Survival

…which surface tension feature in as we helped Kickstart the project!

SIDMAN at Revival

Chip-tunes supplied by SIDMAN.

That’s about it. We look forward to next year but aren’t quite ready to go at it again just yet! It was a long and tiring weekend, plus a busy run up to it.

Asteroids volcano switch

Defender Control Panel

1, 2, 5 DM coin slot


One Player Select button

Williams coin mech

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555 timer seat

What made me do this? It’s an idea I had a couple of years ago and had to have a go at it! I had the legs made 18 months ago, so I definitely couldn’t let them go to waste!

We wanted to make some interesting seating for our stand at Revival this year, to go with our Dual arcade table. Which would also have one of our Rubik’s Cubes on the other side.

555 timer storage seat

The arachnid IC was made from 18mm MDF, some timber sections to mount the legs to and the legs themselves being 12mm aluminium. I’ve documented my build below in case anyone else wants to have a go.

The assembly was achieved with a mix of biscuits and the use of the Kreg pocket hole jig.

construction of giant 555 timer with kreg pocket hole jig

One part complete after some filling and plenty of sanding. The pocket holes were also filled on the inside.

construction of top of giant 555 timer

Timber sections on the inside were fixed again using the pocket hole jig and plenty of glue. These sections were used to mount the legs to on the base.

internal construction of metal legs for giant 555 timer

After fixing the legs, this was the first time I could see if it really worked as a shape. Slots were cut into the base section for the legs to come through.

giant 555 timer seat unpainted

The notch was added before I could start to finish it. The 555 was first prepared with 2 coats of sanding sealer, then 2 coats of primer. The final paint was then applied. The photo doesn’t really do it justice, but it was a dark metallic grey which gave it that graphite look of an IC.

giant 555 timer painted

Some text was then applied: ST UK, NE555N, AU0314 for manufacturer/country, model and date code.

giant 555 timer with text

What’s the point of having all that space inside if you can’t use it!

giant 555 timer opened with blue insides

A comparison with the real deal. A through-hole 8-pin DIL NE555.

close up of 555 timer IC on scaled up model

Here it is in place next to our arcade table at Revival 2014.

giant 555 timer seat next to arcade table

The over-sized 555 looked great at Revival this year. It really hit the right age bracket with all of the retro-gaming enthusiasts, many of which asked where they could buy one!

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The worlds largest game controller

…and that’s official.

With the launch of the Guinness book of records: Gamer edition, comes a huge feat. A group of students from Delft University Of Technology in The Netherlands have produced the worlds largest game controller. When I was at university, I was too busy playing Mario Kart and Super Bomberman.

The world’s largest videogame controller is 30 times the size of a standard NES joypad, unveilled at London’s Liverpool St station today. I hope they are working on plans to retain their title basing it on the N64 pad.

One of the other records set was a man playing Mario Galaxy 2 in a vertical wind tunnel for 18 minutes. Maybe I can get in there too by playing GTA in a bath of beans…

Guinness world record controller :: Make

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Pac-Man Moleskine

I missed out on the Pac-Man Moleskine notebook last year when it was released for his 30th anniversary. Thankfully I managed to find one a few days ago and now it has arrived! There are some things I still like to do the old-fashioned way, and jotting things down in a notebook is one of them.

The Moleskine is covered with the usual hard-wearing leather cover, in limited edition yellow. It also comes with the usual elastic loop to keep it firmly closed, plus the yellow ribbon to find your way back to the last page you were at. Being limited edition, it has a few extra details.

If you’ve owned a Moleskine notebook, you’ll know that they are like no other. With the Pac-Man theme, they’ve just got one better! Plus, being in yellow should make it a little easier to find amongst all my clutter…

pac man moleskine back

Make these part of your 5-a-day…

pac man moleskine fruit print

There are some great features on this Pac Man limited edition Moleskine note book.

pac man moleskine insert coin

It’s even been adapted for loss!

pac man moleskine return reward

Look what you get inside the back pouch!

pac man moleskine stickers included
Pac-Man Moleskine

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World’s biggest PAC-MAN

Ever get bored of the same old PAC-MAN playing field? No, me neither. But if you wanted to work your way round a maze created by some random crazy, or create your own, check out The World’s Biggest PAC-MAN.

weird pac man mazes
Currently there have been over 191,000 mazes created and said mazes have been played over 98 million times. In case you were wondering, around 11 billion dots have been eaten. The United States is the country with highest number of players with the UK in third. But who would have thought Brazil had such a fan base for Pac Man coming in at 2nd place!

To be fair though, there are some silly mazes. But in contrast, some people have put a lot of time and effort in to create some rather exceptional looking mazes, though the playability has not been confirmed!

worlds biggest pac man spelling soap

Soap indeed. Have a bath you dirty monkey.

World’s biggest PAC-MAN built by Soap Creative.

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Pac-man ghostly t-shirts

I love these! Be prepared for inconspicuous nods from passers by as they approve of your same passion for all things retro-gaming. Available in before and after the power pill as Inky, Pinky… plus some new ones that maybe didn’t make the cut for the game all those years ago.


Available to buy from lowrez.de for around 20 Euros along side hundreds of other designs of arcade cabinets, game characters, screenshots and references.


source :: technabob

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Space Invaders chewing gum

You know when you’ve really made it as a real retro-gamer when you’re chewing on a piece of this whilst hammering away on those buttons.


As part of Space Invader’s official 30th birthday, this stuff is actually official as it’s licensed by Taito to Lotte candy.

I’m going to try and get my hands on some of this stuff from Japan. If I did, it wouldn’t get a chew from me!

source :: technabob

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Surface TensionSpace Invaders chewing gum
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