Circuit-Bending Game Hardware

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.

I guess this is all you really need!

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.

intellivoice
USB MIDI control, 1/4″ output

 

Video-Glitch Sega Genesis (2015)

2015-05-27 15.39.40 HDR

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.

Let the fun begin!


sample video output

Custom Game Boys (2015)

my first two custom Game Boys, BUDO (left) and MIKAN (right)

2015-04-02 17.12.32

Circuit-bent Game Boys with LED, backlight, and audio customizations