What is the HateBox? What does it have to do with retrogaming?
While I was on my second deployment to Afghanistan, I had left my good friend JM with a project, to build me an emulation machine like the one he had at his house. It involved an original Xbox, a 20Gb hard drive, and the kind of magic that only my buddy knew how to work when it came to finessing older electronics. While I was deployed, his facebook feed was littered with rage posts about some sort of disaster happening with his computers and various devices. Finally, while online one day, I got a message asking me what camouflage I liked the most over in Afghanistan. I gave a list of ones I thought were cool. He told me to pick one. I choose British Army desert DPM. I had no idea what was waiting for me when I got home.
My buddy knew the drill from previous deployments. I just needed a place to chill, blow off steam, and relax. What he and his friend had waiting for me blew my mind. Not only had he finished the machine, but a friend of his in the paint shop had carefully airbrushed the thing in perfect desert DPM, and had made a matching controller. It was outstanding, and gave me access to all the games I’d owned and lost over the years. Its name though, came from the brutal process that had been its creation. It had killed not one, but two computers in the process of being created. One had overheated so badly that internal components had sagged and pulled away. Suddenly, all those angry facebook posts made sense! JM said he hated the thing and was glad it was finally leaving his house, and the HateBox was named. Now the Hatebox is a central feature in my gaming life, letting me flashback to games I haven’t managed to re-buy or find after years of moves and one particularly brutal event, a break in at a friend’s that cost him his computer, and me my Sega Genesis and Dreamcast, along with the libraries of games I had for them.
The HateBox is my window into the world of gaming’s past, and a way to not only enjoy and review older games, but as a way of watching how things have changed concerning everything from early diversity or lack thereof, settings and setting styles, stereotypes and storytelling.