The lights are on
Mark Slevinsky didn’t set out to create the world’s smallest arcade
cabinet. But after tinkering with microcontrollers, a weekend hack
quickly turned into a gaming novelty. Slevinsky now holds the Guinness
world record for creating the smallest fully functional arcade
cabinet. (But they’ll pretty much give world records to any idiots these days.) We chatted with Slevinsky about the creation of the Markade and how it ended up in the record books.
Do you do a lot of hacking? I saw the mini-Markade, but what do you do most of the time?I
do a lot of retro gaming hacks. I restored a Tron cabinet about six or
seven years ago. I built an arcade machine in a box, so like a PC with
emulators that plugs into a TV. The joystick box has all of the hardware
components in it. I've designed a joystick adapter to let me use my
wireless PS2 joysticks on my old NES. So I do a lot of gadgety, hardware
hacks mostly related to classic gaming.
Do you have one that’s been your favorite?The Markade was
definitely the favorite. It was something that was the most unique and
something that people obviously hadn’t seen before, something that
small. It was one that definitely impressed my friends the most.
Definitely was the “conversation piece.”
Where did you get the idea for it?I got the idea
after I had written this little operating system for this 8-bit
microcontroller. And I just wanted to have a project that I could use
that operating system with. So I came up with the idea to write some
games and port it to that little microcontroller. Then I thought, “might
as well get a little display.” Once I saw it working, I thought I’d
build a little cabinet for it. So it just came together. I didn’t really
have the goal in mind to build the world’s smallest arcade machine when
I did it. It just evolved that way as I was taking a look at the
What does it play?I wrote three games: clones of Tetris, Space Invaders, and Breakout.
And the system made it into the Guinness World Records?Yeah.
I actually submitted the record in 2009. There’s this online form that
you can register with on their site, and you can fill in details about
your record. I’d gotten an automated response – or I thought it was an
automated response – a couple weeks later saying that they had received
it and thanks, but nothing else. Then just this last summer – so a full
three years after submitting it – I actually got a response from
somebody with Guinness saying that they were looking for new record
categories for their 2013 Gamer’s Edition book. A couple weeks later
they sent a photo crew out, and the record made it into the book, which
came out in January.
Do you have any other dream projects – any other world records you want to break?At
the moment I don’t really have any kind of aspirations for further
record breaking, but you never know. I’m always looking for the next
project, put it that way.
For more about professional hackers, check out our interview with Ben Heck.
Email the author Ben Reeves, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.