Thursday, November 19 12:00 AM ET

5 Projects Every Geek Must Complete Before They Die

By Brian Briggs follow me on Twitter.
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If you consider yourself a geek or a nerd or whatever the term du jour is, you shouldn't just sit behind the computer all day. You should get up and do something every once in a while. Here are some projects that every geek (or nerd) should complete before they die...

Build a MAME Cabinet

MAME Cabinet
Sure, a Xbox 360 or PS3 let you play the latest games on your big screen TV, but sometimes you want to go old school and play some of the arcade classic in their original form. That's where the multi-arcade machine emulator (MAME) cabinet comes in. Now you can buy one of these cabinets pre-fabricated with games already properly licensed and loaded, but where's the geek challenge in that?

Plenty of sites provide plans, components and tips for building your own cabinet. Since, you've probably got enough spare parts to build the guts of the machine laying around already, it shouldn't be too expensive of a project. If you're not handy with power tools, it's probably better to get a little help with your cabinet than to end up with something like this.

Internet Controlled Something

Who keeps turning off the lights?

It doesn't matter if it's your lights, dishwasher, security cam or what, but you should experience the madness of giving control of something electronic in your house to random people on the Internet. This guy lets people control the Christmas lights and decorations around his house (warning bad design and sound). Use your imagination and some home automation tools to experience Big Brother with the bonus of being to pull the plug if you want.

DIY Tesla Coil

What goes better together with geeks than high voltage? Not only can this project help you learn about electricity and one of the greatest geeks of all time (Nikola Tesla), but it can kill you too! You should probably start off with building a smaller one first, before you graduate to the big ones. Then you can start making music with it.

Geek Costume

Once in your life you need to make an authentic costume of a video game, sci-fi, fantasy, comic character to wow people on Halloween or at the convention. It may seem completely dorky, but tell me that this guy doesn't get the ladies...

Gordon Freeman

Build a Rube Goldberg Machine

It may be frustrating to build, but once it works, it'll be one of the most satisfying experiences in your life. So get out your dominos and your bowling balls and get to work. Here's a video of one just for inspiration.

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