Video games have become a ubiquitous part of our world. Starting with the first arcade cabinets in 1971, these games have grown to a multi-billion dollar industry, and an enormous part of the US economy. As such, these games have become inextricably linked to the principles of late capitalism and the problems of modernity. Games, consoles, and devices are mass-produced with planned obsolescence and few serviceable parts.
By creating “home-brewed” games or hacking existing devices, individuals regain ownership of their gaming practices, and video gaming becomes a creative pursuit. Through circuit-bending old video game hardware we can turn obsolete devices, such as a Sega Genesis, into unique performable instruments.
Midi-Controlled Intellivoice Synth (2016)
A keyboard controlled 1980s speech synthesizer.
Video-Glitch Sega Genesis (2015)
This is a video-bent Sega Genesis, whose video glitches (created by bridging points in the video-RAM) can be controlled interactively via the keypad or by USB MIDI Control using an Arduino Teensy installed into the Genesis.
This piece of obsolete consumer technology has been repurposed into an instrument for creating live interactive art.
sample video output
Custom Game Boys (2015)
Circuit-bent Game Boys with LED, backlight, and audio customizations