This site serves as a place to showcase my ongoing collection of computers both old and new. The systems seen here each represent a specific slice of PC gaming history, all comprised of second-hand components sourced from around the world, assembled by me in recent months or years. The idea for each machine is to use entirely (mostly) period-accurate parts to create an authentic instance of what was the pinnacle of home computer technology at the time.

Well, most of the same reasons anybody restores anything old I guess! Building retro PCs is a treasure hunt, a puzzle, a history lesson, an art project, and a massive dose of nostalgia all in one. Plus you get to play games on it when you're finished. These are all the same reasons I also enjoy restoring pinball machines, but I digress.

Everybody's individual motives are different, but the fundamental reason to build a retro PC using period-accurate hardware is to run the operating system, software, and/or games that were developed to utilize hardware of that time in a setting that's consistent with the original experience.

For example, a great baseline retro PC project that most people start with is a Windows 98 gaming machine using components from 1998 or 1999. This very specific slice of time was right on the cusp of two eras. Hardware and software to come out of this period was still mostly supportive of MS-DOS yet powerful enough to hold it's own through the turn of the millennium. This means that with relative ease (the word "ease" taken with a grain of salt) you can run games and software spanning from the mid 80s all the way through to something like 2002, or beyond with the right tuning. You won't really get that one stop shop experience with any modern alternative.

Hey, where's the fun in that!? While it's true that a special type of nostalgia certainly is required to go through the process of sourcing and building a retro gaming PC instead of using more modern alternatives if you just want to play a game or two, it's also true that no modern hardware is not better. Have you ever tried playing a game from 1998 in Windows 10? Does your Windows 10 PC even have an OPTICAL drive let alone a floppy drive? Windows has pretended to include support for legacy software with their "Compatibility Mode" feature, but if you've ever actually tried to run anything from before 2006 or so, the success rate is utterly dismal. There are just too many factors at play today to properly support stuff from 20+ years ago.

Websites like and emulators like DOSBox certainly have helped to fill that void for a lot of people. Games from the 80s and 90s are readily available on GOG for pennies on the dollar and are re-compiled to run on modern systems for your convenience. DOSBox is of course a pretty foolproof emulator for everything MS-DOS related and acquiring a library of every DOS game in existence is effortless. There's also the option of running older operating systems via virtualization, effectively emulating anything you might want to do or have.

But like I said, where's the fun in that!? Each of those options come with their own headaches and limitations, and at the end of the day they really don't offer the same experience. Anybody who used a computer in the 80s or 90s knows there are certain sounds, smells, and feelings you get when something works or doesn't work. Crossing your fingers to hope it even POSTs every time you have to tweak something, holding your breath while installing some obscure driver, or being totally OK with 15 FPS in a game that's well beyond the capabilities of your hardware are all feelings of achievement you don't get by today's standards. Finding those limits and sometimes breaking them is what's interesting about exploring original hardware. Getting to know a system and working with it to accomplish what you want is a massive part of the experience. Then again I very much am a "The journey is the destination" type of guy.

It's also the research and planning phase that really gets me excited about a new retro build. It is incredible what kind of information is still readily available, and sifting through it is a nostalgia trip of it's own. Sites like and, for example, began in the mid 90s and still host ALL their reviews and articles since then. When shopping around for what retro hardware might be best for you, there's something special about being able to browse reviews from 20 years ago the exact same way one might do today for cutting edge hardware. Flipping through archives of old PC magazines on Google Books or sites like is also an invaluable part of accurately dating and pricing components, and is a huge part of the fun of it for me. I firmly believe that even if you aren't interested in computers whatsoever, digesting some 1990s era technology magazine culture will give anybody a bit of nostalgia buzz, not to mention perspective.

I've been building and upgrading my own computers since I could properly use a screwdriver (I was born in 1987, for reference), but I guess you could say I got started building retro PCs in 2012. At the time I already had a pretty cutting edge workstation that would last me for a few years yet, but I just could not shake the itch to build SOMETHING. I took notice of an old Gateway machine I was storing that had belonged to my late grandparents and some ideas started to click. I was also getting really into pinball at the time which already had me riding pretty high on a cloud of nostalgia, so I started to wonder if it would be neat (or even possible?) to upgrade this machine to play my stack of PC games from the late 90s.

After doing a bit (a lot) of research and finding some interesting community groups (, I decided I definitely needed to pick up a pair of 3dfx Voodoo2 cards. When I was 12 I had a Voodoo3, but for this initial build I was drawn to the cool-factor of getting my hands on the first ever SLI cards. Plus it meant I also got to buy a third card to go with them, for the 2D side of things. After some time watching eBay for the parts I wanted, getting everything put together, then fiddling with driver versions and software updates for weeks, I was thrilled to finally be able to spin up all my old CD-ROM games that had been sitting idle for over a decade.

In addition to scratching the PC building itch I had at the time, the whole idea of properly re-learning and re-experience how things worked back then ended up really striking a chord with me. I really fell in love with the treasure hunting aspect of it, which is something you don't get with modern PC building.