These Retro Consoles Have Been Given a Second Life As Bad-Ass Guitars

From video games to music, these guitars get a new lease of life.

By Rachael Fiddis

July 29, 2020

For those of you who are collectors of retro consoles, you may want to look away now – what happens next may break your little retro-loving heart. But please, be rest assured that no classic systems were actually harmed in the making of these instruments, and from what I’ve gathered, they were all purchased broken from eBay and given a new lease of life as pretty cool looking guitars. Granted, a lot of older consoles can be fixed and brought back to working condition again but hey, there’s no denying that there’s something kind of special about making some sweet music with a console that used to play games like Contra, Metroid, and Duck Hunt.

Eli McNaughton from Traverse City, Michigan runs Scrap Metal Studios that specializes in guitars and basses made out of consoles, gas cans, old-fashioned lunch boxes, and basically anything that’s not of these modern times. But I think what we are most interested in here is Eli’s retro consoles that he gives a new way of life to in the form of guitars that are actually playable. Looking at the NES the description states that it’s a full-scale NES Nintendo electric guitar put together out of spare used miscellaneous parts found in Eli’s garage and strung with new Ernie Ball strings with new electronics and neck fitted. Eli does stress that the guitar does not play video games unlike this one right here that allows you to play games and shred at this same time.

If the NES wasn’t your jam back in the day, then how about one of Eli’s Sega Genesis guitars or going really old school, the Atari 2600? The Sega Genesis Electric Guitar’s overall length is 30.25″ and the bridge to nut length is 21.25″. It also has a single-coil pickup, a single volume knob, and stung with new Ernie ball strings for those of you who like your specs. It certainly would be perfect for a real conversation starter. Personally, I really like the look of the Atari 2600. Although there aren’t any specs on this particular guitar, I have fond childhood memories of playing this system with my cousins where we dove into some classics that included Pitfall!, Frogger, Q*bert, Double Dragon, Raiders of the Lost Ark and many many more. Also, that wood effect just slaps.

Heading knee-deep into that nostalgic period you’ll also see that Eli makes a vintage Gremlins lunchbox as well as a Care Bears version and also some old gas cans turned into more guitars. You can check out Eli’s full collection over on his website or you can also head over to Etsy where you can purchase any of these retro goodies. Some are quite pricey but given that they look to be very well designed and all of the guitars are playable, I think they are worth the price tag.

Furthering on with the topic of Atari, apparently, the company is also building hotels too? Gaming-themed “Atari Hotels” are being created with the help of an agency called GSD Group and real estate developer True North Studio, and this first one will open in Phoenix, Arizona later this year. In regards to the Atari VCS, you can play Fortnite on it if you boot up Windows and access Epic Games’ launcher on it but the question is, do you really want to?

Due to delays because of COVID-19, earlier this year, Atari has announced that their long-in-development PC/console hybrid is now going to be arriving with their crowdfunding backers this October before going on general sale in time for Christmas. The Atari VCS features an AMD Raven Ridge 2 CPU alongside an unspecified AMD Ryzen GPU. It will pack with 4GB or 8GB RAM and internal storage of 32GB with support for external hard drives. Will you be purchasing one for yourself even though it’s close to the PS5 launching?

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Rachael Fiddis

Rachael, who is Deputy Editor & Head of Stakeholder Relations, has been gaming for many years. Some of her favourite video games include The Witcher 3 and The Last of Us but also loves a good indie title. Gaming Culture is where her heart lies and spends many hours sieving through gaming fan art and cosplay displays. Other than gaming, Rachael is a book nerd and music lover.

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