I recently was able to purchase the webcam and capture card I will be using for Let's Play Friday! There is still plenty of work to do before I can record the first episode but it's a major step closer to getting the show off the ground.
The webcam I selected was the Logitech C920, chosen for its excellent specs and outstanding customer reviews - not just on Amazon but across the web. This will be the camera that points back at me while I'm playing the games.
An important part of making webcam video look good is having proper lighting. Thankfully I didn't have to buy any new equipment for that as I've got a set of three Flolight FL-110 daylight-balanced fluorescent video lights that I bought from BX Films when they upgraded to Kino-Flo lighting. As an additional point of thanks, they sold me the used gear at a very reasonable price and I've gotten a lot of use out of the lights since then. Thanks guys!
The video capture card I selected was from Hauppauge with dual tuners. Hauppauge has had a good reputation in the video capture market for a very long time and this appeared to be a good offering for my needs. Its dual tuners mean that I can easily swap out systems on one tuner while leaving the other tuner connected to an antenna, allowing me to watch and record over-the-air TV channels. It also has inputs for composite video which will let me get a higher quality signal from the NES as well as S-Video input in case I ever discover one of the three devices on the planet that actually outputs S-Video.
I've also picked up a couple more games to add to the collection before the show starts: Bubble Bobble for NES and Ecco the Dolphin for Genesis.