Building Computers, Console Modding: From LAN Parties to DIY Projects

Act 4: Building Computers, Console Modding

The year is 2009, I’m well and truely fat from country bakery potato pies (stay away, theyre dangerous), and I decide I’m done in the country town and decide to head south from the north and well and truely in to the east.With this more populated area comes something i hadn’t experienced before, broadband. Sadly, I had to leave my desktop behind and make do with a painfully slow laptop, whose biggest accomplishment was running the Office Suite.

Nonetheless, I continued my online education, perusing forums and soaking up knowledge on PCs and hardware. Even with that humble laptop, I managed to connect my Wii to Wi-Fi by hosting my own access point, granting me access to the world of modern multiplayer gaming—a far cry from lag-ridden private servers. I even dabbled in PC gaming on that underpowered laptop, diving into War Rock, dealing with hackers, and bonding with new pals on Xfire.

Around this period, I dove headfirst into the world of console modding. It started with scraping together enough cash for an R4 cartridge for my good ol' phat Nintendo DS. That little cartridge opened up a universe of possibilities and made me a sort of schoolyard legend. Then came the Wii, and with it, SD card hacks that ushered me into the realm of homebrew gaming. Oh, let’s not forget the original Xbox—I performed a live HDD swap on that bad boy, just for the sheer thrill of it. I also jumped into the iOS scene by jailbreaking my iPod Touch and installing Cydia back when it was the hot new thing. Each new piece of hardware I got my hands on wasn’t just a device; it was an uncharted territory begging to be explored.

Fast-forward to my PSP days. I was not about to let it remain in its vanilla state; no way, Jose! Armed with equal parts ingenuity and foolhardiness, I embarked on the quest to create a Pandora’s battery. Bombed it the first time around, but the second attempt? Nailed it. That modded PSP transformed me into the guy to go to for console hacks at school. Pretty soon, I was customizing PSPs as if they were coming off an assembly line, bypassing those archaic download limits by cloning games for everyone.

Eventually, I was reunited with my old desktop, which, let’s be honest, was far from cutting-edge. My newfound tech-savvy friends and I would host LAN parties in our garages, a bonding experience that finally convinced me to build a custom PC. Or more, I bought a HD5770, and my desktop wouldn’t support it (I don’t remember why) which forced me to get the myself six Phenom II cores.. beast.

In a fit of teenage creativity (see:boredom) I conceived a “cool” project: a coffee table embedded with a disassembled monitor and retrofitted with parts from my old PC. Armed with my dad’s reciprocating saw, I set to work. The end result? A table with a built-in display (not a touchscreen, mind you) that was more conversation piece than practical furniture. It may not have been pretty, but it was undeniably cool.