Grown-up Gaming

I’ve posted before about how a hobby of mine is gaming. I still game a bit, mainly handheld, but I do have a bunch of consoles still. My kids also play a ton of games, when we let them. Something that we are trying to come to grips with is the balance between having lots of cool entertainment options buy trying to keep a neat, adult space.

Like most houses these days, we have a flat screen TV. It sits on a deep cabinet that stores our components, such as a receiver, video game consoles, and a DVD player. We have a cabinet alongside, which has some display shelves and closed doors that hold all our movies and games. I talked about finding a new spot for the movies and games, so now I need to start thinking about how to keep all these components neat and hidden. It would be really nice to have a spot for all the controllers as well.

First I have to identify how many compartments I need. I have a receiver, an Xbox 360, a PS3, a Wii U and an Xbox One. These are all the core components that are an absolute requirement. I’m also going to leave expansion room for a PS4. Our current TV viewing is mostly streaming, as we canceled our satellite service probably a couple of years ago. We get free basic cable service as a component of our internet subscription, so we have a small set-top box (an outmoded term these days) that gives us a few live channels. We do most of our viewing via a Roku 3, and we also make use of a Chromecast for educational needs. The Chromecast can hook straight up to the TV, and the Roku and set-top are so small I don’t have to concern myself too much with finding homes for them. There are ways to hook the Roku to the back of a TV, and I may mount the set-top to the wall, depending on final design. That being said, it would make a lot of sense for me to make sure there’s room for a standard size cable/satellite receiver to fit if one day we decide to go back to those services. Perhaps the Roku and set-top can sit on this shelf. It would be nice to have room for a standalone Blu ray player to reduce wear on the consoles, however now the PS3, PS4 and Xbox One are all also Blu ray players. Seeing as how I’m already up to six shelves already without counting the older consoles I’d also like to hook up (Saturn, Dreamcast) and front speakers, we’ll see. I only have so much room on this wall.

The depth of the cabinet only needs to be as deep as the deepest component, plus a couple of inches, since the TV will be mounted on the wall. The front I think will be doors, either pull out or pull down, made of frame and panel, with the panel being a speaker mesh. This should help hide everything yet allow the IR signals to pass through. If not, then I’ll be doing some frosted glass or perhaps a wood design with cutouts. It will be up in the air a bit depending on the design. I’m hoping the design and build will be really organic, and I won’t fret too much about it. The back will need as much planning, to determine how well the cords will be hidden and as much air flow as possible. I think as much as I like designs that have exposed legs and space underneath, with the external power bricks needed by the Xboxes not needing to be alongside the consoles. With a toe kick, or similar, it would help allow those breathe a bit and stay hidden. It might be interesting to do a built-in look with quarter round or some sort of trim on the front.

I can’t do anything that reduces the amount of display space for the wife. Pictures, breakables, that sort of thing. I did some preliminary Sketchup designs last year, and came up with a way to store all the components at the floor, then display space up the left side of the wall then over the TV. The trick will be leaving enough room for an awesome TV upgrade from the 42″ plasma we have now.

This entire project isn’t a high priority right now, but it is something I would like to take care of soon. The closet storage projects are the priority, as is the minor amount of work to finish up the sideboard bookcase.

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