This is post number 3400 on the bava, which is something. The blog turns 15 years old in December, and I hope to hit 3500 by then, making it a clean 233.3333 posts per year for the last 15 years. When you can’t write for shit, numbers matter. Blogging has come easier these last few months, and I am not sure if that is a result of lockdown, the ds106radio revival, feeling a bit freed-up at Reclaim Hosting, or a combination of all three, but nonetheless if feels good to be blogging more. There has been some talk that blogs are like web vinyl, and soon folks will be coming back to them to reclaim the glory days of Web 2.0. I’ve been waiting for that day intently, and while I am not sure if it’s coming any day soon, I’ll be here if it does telling everyone “I was blogging when it wasn’t cool any more, you twitter babies.” Until then, bava island must abide.
So, in honor of my 3400th post, I decided to not only blog abut blogging—a tried and true tradition—but also name my RetroPie after it. Let me explain, one of the web hobbies I have had on and off since I first got on the web in the mid-90s was classic arcade game emulation. I discovered the MAME community in 1994 or 1995 thanks to my co-worker at UCLA’s Audio Visual Services (AVS) John Spellman, and it has been something I have come back to again and again since. I always ran MAME from my computer, and never had peripherals like a gamepad, joystick, etc. Hell, I just started using an external monitor last year. But during lockdown I started playing with emulation again given Reclaim Arcade had to be shelved for the foreseeable future in light of the global pandemic. There is some irony there given once Tim and I had collected 50+ classic arcade cabinets and pinball machines I was a bit like “emulators, really? Why? I have the real thing! Face-to-face gaming is so much better than virtual!” Well, like the face-to-face classroom, how did that work out for me? So, I re-kindled my virtual mojo and re-factored the Raspberry Pi 3 b+ I had hanging around to be my dedicated classic console game engine.
It’s awesome! I am using the X-box controller we bought for the PC to play Cuphead and my second monitor now has one of its HDMI inputs reserved for the bava 3400. I have been playing on and off with the bava 3400 for a couple of months now, and I have made some serious progress and learned a lot, but I have not blogged it. Partially because it was catch-as-catch-can tinkering between meetings, tickets, family, etc. But my return to social bookmarking on Pinboard has been a huge boon in this regard because I’ve been saving all the different sites I’ve used along the way.
So, in another tried and true blogging tradition I am going to make a list of the bava 3400 posts I plan on writing in order to make writing this post even possible. Just thinking about trying to capture everything I’ve done so far in one post is overwhelming, so this strategy helps me get the stuff written bit-by-bit over time, and a list holds me loosely accountable to the hordes of readers who need to know more. So here is a list of some of the things I want to write-up:
- Setting up RetroPie (really just a link and collection of resources and I have another Raspberry Pi I can use so I can document it and remember everything)
- Getting the Atari 5200 emulator up and running (this is a bear to do)
- Getting the MAME emulator up and running
- The Internet Archive’s unbelievable collection of ROMs -so many riches!
- Using RetroArch to customize games/controllers for Atari 5200
- Customizing the controllers for MAME games
- Getting your Bluetooth wireless controller to work (in progress)
- Getting the Atari 2600 emulator up and running
- Getting the C64 emulator up and running
And that is a good start, the other piece of this is I want to continue making videos of the gameplay and generally toying around with my live streaming OBS system. In fact, it was playing with streaming on ds106.tv that got me back into the emulation game, and while Reclaim Cloud has demanded most of my time since then, coming up with a semi-regular stream to play some OG favorites would give the whole thing an ongoing narrative while pushing me to explore streaming video in more depth, which is a lot of fun. Anyway, all hail the bava 3400: it’s only just begun!