Finite Space

As most of my regular readers may have already guessed, I’ve made my mind up on which next gen console I’m getting this year. The PlayStation 4 wins by a mile in my books – my pre-order was placed on the very same evening of Sony’s E3 conference. Aside from this being the first console I’ve ever bought on launch day, I didn’t expect the PS4 to be a massive change for me. Like getting a new graphics card or operating system for my gaming PC, it would just be better than what came before. Alas, my PS4 purchase has introduced a problem that I haven’t encountered since 2007. I’ve run out of room.

Many consoles, left side, even side.  Handle it.

Many consoles, left side, even side. Handle it.

The above photo might give you an idea of what I’m talking about. That’s all the room I have available for my consoles, meaning I have to leave several classic ones (such as my PS1 and GameCube) disconnected. For the most part, I’m OK with this, since I tend not to play on them very often. The best part is that in both cases, I can simply use the PS2 to play PS1 games and my Wii to play GameCube titles. Such is the wonder of backwards compatibility, especially if you’re like me and have limited space.

But of course, my PS3 can’t play PS2 games. Sometimes I want to play PS2 games, so I need to keep my PS2 there. The same thing is about to happen again with my PS4, meaning I need to have three generations of Sony consoles on top of my chest of drawers in order to be able to play as much of my games collection as possible. So alright… we accept this and move on. We have the why, but now need to tackle the how. You may have noticed that my television is sitting at an angle – it’s facing towards the rest of my room (which is shaped like an L) and, crucially, the bed. Using this setup, I can JUST see every inch of my TV screen when lying down.

It’s clear that the current setup isn’t going to work.

Once again, >9000 hours dedicated to this image.

Once again, >9000 hours dedicated to this image.

Using my amazing skills in MSPAINT.EXE, I have come up with a potential solution. Since I was worried about my old PS2’s ability to continue playing games (it’s made some weird noises lately), I went ahead and bought one of the last PStwo consoles ever made. This alteration – coupled with some official figures for the dimensions of the PS4 – allowed me to recreate my setup in Paint. Using my best estimates, I have gauged an approximate new layout based on getting a stand for my PS3, lying the Wii flat atop the PS4, then perching the PStwo atop the Wii. Keeping my 360 and speaker where they are now, everything looks fine.

But this is only the view from the front. The official dimensions say that the PS3 is a perfect square in terms of length and breadth, meaning that it’ll jut out fractionally further than my 360 when standing next to it (3.2cm to be exact). Unfortunately, I can’t see any better way of setting everything up. There’s some hope in the knowledge that the consoles could be pressed closer to the wall and the TV slid a little to the left, but I can’t know for certain until my PS4 arrives. Luckily, I can be sure that everything else will be fine, thanks to a shaft of light that runs across the top of my PS3. It runs perfectly from the leading edge of my 360 to the right side of my TV; this means that anything in the “shade” is going to be covered up anyway.

Heh, "shaft".

Heh, “shaft”.

Again, thanks to some reliable figures about the dimensions of the various consoles involved, I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that none of it’s going to get in my way. My line of sight should remain unobstructed come November 29th… but that’s only half the problem solved. You see, what happened in 2007 that made me need to re-arrange everything was the purchase of the TV you see in my pictures. A TV which has only one HDMI port. You see that little black box marked “XCM” dangling there on the wall? It connects my PS2, Wii and 360 up to the Component ports on my TV, leaving the HDMI free for my PS3. What will I do when it comes to hooking up the PS4, you might ask?

Thankfully, there are ways and means around this issue. Just like the RF-splitters and SCART switches of years past, there are HDMI switchers available nowadays. All I need to do is buy one, connect both the PS3 and PS4 to it, then run another (new) HDMI cable from it to my TV. All problems solved, right? Not quite. There’s still the issue of power, namely my lack of plugs. Right now, my extension leads are jam-packed with all the various devices I use. But once again, a solution presents itself: I can simply unplug my thoroughly dead printer (the ink for which is drier than a mouthful of Jacob’s Cream Crackers in the middle of the Sahara) and use the socket it frees up.

4 - Logo

So there we have it – a series of problems and solutions for a gamer that has very little space to work with. Some might call it cramped, but I prefer the term “cosy” or “snug”. Do I believe for a second that all of the problems surrounding this are solved? Hell no. The best laid plans and all that… but the important part is that a little creativity is all that’s generally needed. Playing what is effectively Console Tetris can be challenging at times, but with any luck it should work just fine. I’m buggered if my 360 up and dies, of course, but best not dwell on things, eh?

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About Chris Smith
A twenty-something gamer from the North-East of Scotland. By day, I’m a Computer Technician at a local IT recycling charity, where I fix and build PCs. Outside of that, most of my time is spent either sleeping or gaming, which I try accomplish in equal amounts.