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      Building my R2D2 video game droid was a learning process. I broke a number of video game consoles along the way. I never threw out those broken video game consoles because I felt there still had to be a use for them. You never know when they will come in handy, right? Well, finally one day I had an idea to put them to good use. I decided to make video game art. That is, I decided to frame their motherboards with accents provided by the plastic of their casings. The following web page is about the process I went through to build them and the end results. Enjoy! 

To start off, here are previews of the finished products:

xbox side view art preview Atari 7800 sideview preview

       The two pieces of art I talk about here are only the beginning. I have a number of video game consoles that I will eventually turn into said art. My first two pieces that are presented in this article, are an original Xbox and an Atari 7800. I don't feel so bad about breaking the Xbox, but I cried a little inside for the Atari 7800. The Atari 7800 is one of my favorite consoles of all time. It was simple yet elegant and the games were fun. At least it will live on in an incapacitated manner.

      I have much more to say about the Atari 7800 so let's start there. My original intention with this piece (and the Xbox for that matter) was to have the plastic from the case sticking out of the plane of the wall. The plane of the wall would then be painted to look like a sea of large pixels.

      The picture below is the first conceptual arrangement for the Atari 7800 components. As you can see, there are three chunks of the case sticking out. The smaller circuit board on the side is the circuit from a game cartridge.

Atari 7800 in peices


      With what I thought was the a good design, I masked off and painted the acrylic backdrop on which everything would be mounted. This can be seen in the next picture, below. I took the time to mask off each pixel with painters tape. Using multiple paint coats and masking steps, I was able to get pixels of two colors. My original intention was to have each piece of the casings plastic surrounded by pixels where its edges met the acrylic board.

Atari 7800 back drop with pixels


     The picture below is of the motherboard and game cartridge mounted on the freshly painted backdrop.

Mounted Atari 7800 motherboard


      Here is the Atari 7800 with the plastic from the casing overlaid on the acrylic backdrop. I don't know how I did it, but I drastically underestimated the size of the plastic casing when I painted the pixels on the backdrop. The plastic covers up too many of the pixels.

Mounted Atari 7800 motherboard with casing plastic


     So my solution was to do away with that plastic all together. I decided instead to save the key design features of the Atari 7800s shell. Thus I arrived at the design shown below. The original metallic strip from the faceplate of the Atari 7800 was placed through the middle of the backdrop. Since the metallic strip was already cut up, I decided to incorporate it as is and I think it turned out pretty good.

     I also decided to incorporate the four faces from the consoles buttons. These are stacked vertically on the left. Those are Power, Pause, Select, and Reset. All-in-all, the Atari 7800 art piece is my favorite over the Xbox. Although the piece I am working on right now may dethrone the Atari 7800. Stay tuned for details on that.

Finished Atari 7800 art


      On to the Xbox. Below is the initial test layout for the Xbox's components. I was able to cut the shells plastic much more cleanly on the Xbox.

Xbox mockup art


     Then I painted the back drop using fluorescent green paint for the triangles. I was going for something that looked like the Xbox home screen. I also wanted it to look like the three plastic parts were breaking through the wall and shattering the plastic around them.

Xbox acrylic backdrop


      And below is the final product.

Finished Xbox art




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