Once upon a time, I worked at Circuit City. One day, my boss decided to trash the GameCube display kiosk since the Wii had just come out; I persuaded her to let me drag it to the break room instead for us to use on break. Cut to a year later: I now work for the local Boys & Girls Club, and Circuit City had just declared bankruptcy. Sensing bargains, I head down to pick up what I could and on a whim, asked about the old kiosk. 10 minutes later, I'm the proud new owner of a broken-down GameCube kiosk and $100 lighter in the wallet.
I had honestly grown attached to the thing, so I decided to come up with a way to give it a new lease on life: I would repurpose it as a kiosk for on-location promotion for the Boys & Girls Club. We already had plenty of promo materials to work with, and the old original Xbox we had received as donations were popular with the kids; I knew those old green behemoths were capable of much more than just games, too- I had tricked out my own Xbox to do everything from installing my games onto the hard drive to running Linux (all legally, mind you). I figured there were many more applications for an Xbox than a GameCube as the new brain of the kiosk.
So I went ahead and dismantled one of the BnGC's Xboxes, and set to work retrofitting it to work with the kiosk's limited internal space, as well as replacing the components (controllers, etc.) with Xbox equivalents. I also needed to replace the monitor; the original had loads of burn-in, and what's more the tube was dying so the colors were distorted and darkened beyond usability. The TV currently in place is actually from my basement, a reliable 20" Magnavox. I also needed to replace the assembly and florescent bulb for the lighting in the marquee, which was all but junked. Aside from that, most of the components are the originals. I used the old inserts and graphics as temp-lates to create custom signage and logos to promote the BnGC, and using some duct tape I repaired the side shelves, which were made of cheap plastic and hadn't held up too well.
And that about did it. A good month of part-time labor in my garage, and the reborn kiosk was ready for its new lease on life. It's proven to be an asset to the BnGC as a means to spread our promotional material; but even more importantly, it became a focal point for our young members who were captivated by seeing the "guts" of a video game system, and were eager to learn about all the customizations I had done. So while watching the kids take turns playing Halo was fun, my favorite part of this experience has been teaching them about the values of recycling, and the fun of taking things apart and rebuilding them to see how they work. Hopefully my little pet project will have inspired our members to look at the world from a more creative lens, and to actively think about how the world around them works.
At least I hope so. I'm still out a hundred bucks....