whitebox as in gallery, pixel as in video game

the whitebox is a special-purpose computer build to preserve and expose the history of console video game design. this project also revolves around the idea of educated criticism; it aims to facilitate a dialogue between the understudied history of the medium, the general public and future video game designers.

this gaming machine allows you, or in this case me, to curate selections of video games and present them to the public under the theoretical umbrella of an art exhibition; with whatever credibility that tired concept adds. with this setup you can for example: offer the public every unlicensed game made for NES to play with, or a selection of all the work made by Gunpei Yokoi or even the worst games from the golden age of arcades. the possibilities for critical crisscrossing are fun and endless.

this system relies on the use of emulators; an emulator "duplicates (provides an emulation of) the functions of one system using a different system"(wikipedia) so these emulators run ROM files: image dump files of the read-only memory chip from old game cartridges or arcade machines. the act of creating an ROM image simplifies the archiving and preservation of older software. to the companies that own these games as intellectual property you are only allowed to use ROMs created by yourself, if you own a physical copy of the game or if it isn't protected by the entertainment software association (ESA). under the current ridiculously one sided copyright laws digital sharing of ROMs is in fact very illegal. Hence me not offering any links to websites where ROMs can be obtained; for this google and bit torrent are your very good friends.

but then again, I don't see any companies trying to create a cohesive and widespread open-to-the public archive of video games for educational purposes either. maybe then we wouldn't have so many crap games ;)

this project was developed for the launch of NASA: Newark Artist Space Association, and I have to thank NYCResistor and Hackinteractive for all the much appreciated help.

To find out more about the first curated exhibition visit the project page.

cadams213 years ago
Why not just use puppy arcade instead of installing over 5 emulators i mean it has ever emulator everything needed to use it and isn't focused at web browsing.
zack2474 years ago
I have to say that i really like this idea and i have started to build something like this myself, except im using a full size atx board instead, i intend to build it with a similar style of the xbox 360. (minus the rrod)
zack247 zack2474 years ago
make that mini atx now
qazwsx7555 years ago
Awesome Instructable!! I think you could use a Beagle Board  instead of the computer mother board and the hard drive :-)
lenny-ynnel (author)  qazwsx7555 years ago
ah that sounds interesting, I'll have to look it up.
You can just go to www.beagleboard.org.
beagle board.jpgbeagle boad.jpg
O.O small!
mattrules445 years ago
 Where can i buy the motherboard. i clicked the link and i couldnt find a way to buy it
lenny-ynnel (author)  mattrules445 years ago
the link is just to a description of the motherboard, the company itself sells wholesale so just do a search for an online shop or search google marketplace.  I got mine here: http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=34 
mattccc6 years ago
put some leds in the case to make it light up
 preferably blue LEDs...
Skater_j105 years ago
First of all i'm a big fan of Retro gaming and think your ible is awesome! I was looking around Instructables and found a few more people doing these kind of projects, so I ended up making a group that's called "Small Form Factor ". It's a group devoted to sharing info. on small DIY computer projects/concepts. Please Join if you are interested. I forgot to mention that I have added your instructable to the group along with a bunch of others. I hope you don't mind.
chilll20096 years ago
The hardware looks fun and easy and all. I just don't like the programming that much...
Spray Guard6 years ago
About how much did it cost you to make that?
lenny-ynnel (author)  Spray Guard6 years ago
maybe 400 bucks all in all Spray Guard. I use it as an extra pc now and then when it isn't being used as a gaming machine.
TorinMiasma6 years ago
I've been working on something similar for a few days and just stumbled across this ible. I just want to say this is awesome.
chilll20096 years ago
seems easy enough'u'.
8bitprodigy6 years ago
if you haven't figured out how to use a usb controller with ubuntu yet, i would recommend the logitech precision, its cheap and it works right off the bat, but it doesn't have analog sticks :\
lenny-ynnel (author)  8bitprodigy6 years ago
oh thanks - I figured it out yeah but thats a good option as well.
robots1996 years ago
All I can say is...Simply....Amazing How is your xbox controler so thin? Is it an xbox controler?
lenny-ynnel (author)  robots1996 years ago
it is yeah , slim version also I think the foreshortening of the picture might may it seem extra slim.... anyway cheers for the input :)
where do you buy the slim xbox 360 controler?
lenny-ynnel (author)  robots1996 years ago
anywhere really, I got mine at a nearby Gamestop shop. Its a Mad Catz brand controller and this should help you find the same one if you are interested:
Thanks Lenny, my hands are small and wrapping them across the controller is very much unconfortable
lenny-ynnel (author)  robots1996 years ago
no problem :)
great instructable lenny!!!
Thanks a lot everybody! The core idea behind the project is based on taking current ideas (arcade PC) and making it easy to expose to the general public, there is a lot that can be done with this set up once you get going and I plan on having another exhibition in Seoul in the near future. cheers
Solderguy6 years ago
This is EPIC! Congratulations.
Decepticon6 years ago
This is VERY nicely done! I was planning on building an arcade machine to do the versame thing, but have limited funds and limited space...this is the next best thing! Kudos!
omnibot6 years ago
Great build. I really like that you made it a Ubuntu as well.
Lftndbt6 years ago
That is amazing!! The game mods arn't all that new for a multi unit, yet that case is mind blowing!! Thanks heaps. The concept of the I'ble is also exceptional.
gmjhowe6 years ago
The case construction alone is pretty amazing. I used that kind of glue when making a 3d chess set out of perspex.
Lftndbt gmjhowe6 years ago
"The case construction alone is pretty amazing." You got that right. ;-)