Creators Making Their Own Portable Consoles

by Kevin MerisanuAug 18 2019

How cool would it be to take your favorite console anywhere, enjoying the titles of yesteryear.

Recently, Kerwin Frost turned his N64 into a portable, playable version of itself - inspiring us to write a piece showing off 4 creators who made the N64, Playstation 2, Nintendo Gamecube and Sega Dreamcast - portable.

The PlayStation 2 Advance

Long time modder Downing, created a PS2 Advance back in 2015. It's one of cleanest mods we've seen and was done purely as a side project.

Now, it's not portable but Downing built a dedicated controller with Audio/Video capabilities.

The build consisted of two AG-85’s from Poly Case. Though originally I planned to use the case as it was, I found that it was very thick and wasn’t all that comfortable to hold. So then I got to wondering, what if I could use two back halves of the case? Well, giving that a shot I found that yes, it would work and felt very comfortable and natural in the process.
A main issue I had to fix though was the top panel that holds the two halves together. I ended up having to mill out my top and I was extremely pleased with how well that fit together. Also, because the back halves were meant to have the screws just slide in and screw into the front half, I had to ditch the screws that came with it mill out a hex slot for an Acorn nut to fit into. This allowed me to use 4 #6-32 x 1.25″ pan head screws painted black to hold the two halves together nice and secure.

This mod was made up of loose parts Downing had laying around. The only exception was the RCD's PS2miniDS2 Controller Board , which allows for more space saving and is designed for modding situations.

Because most controller layouts don’t work for 90% of the modding projects we do, we always end up just running wires to the controller and use a variety of tact switches or custom PCBs anyway, so stripping away all that from the board and replacing them with test points saves a great deal of space. The only downside is the boards need to populated with the original controller components, which can be a bit tricky as it involves hot air rework and a fair amount of time to swap them over correctly.

Here is a link to the full build on YouTube

Prototype N64 Portable

I’ve spent the last 18 years of my life learning how to build my own Nintendo 64 I’ve finally done it! the first ever portable Nintendo 64 with 4 controller input options a built in Memory card, Rumble pack, transfer Pack input, two speakers and built in fan system ‼️ - Kerwin Frost

This is an incredible piece of creativity shown by Kerwin. We're all waiting to see Super Smash or Golden Eye get it's run, and maybe even more prototypes of this beauty.

Ben Heck’s Dreamcast Portable

Ben is no stranger to making your favorite consoles portable and this time he has decided to build a portable version of the Sega Dreamcast. In this episode Ben does a Dreamcast teardown, converts the LCD backlight to LED and gets the Dreamcast and LCD to run on batteries.

Here are his steps:

  • Take apart Dreamcast and LCD
  • Get Dreamcast/LCD to run on Batteries
  • Mod Dreamcast/Controller to be smaller
  • Design custom case
  • Assemble, test

Watch Part 1

Watch Part 2

Watch Part 3

Gamecube U - Gamecube Portable

GmanModz went hard with this one. Using a case designed by Downings Basement. Using gloss paint on the case to give the shiny look, it's connected to a battery pack to last longer but does run on its own batteries.

Equip with a 7-inch screen, 2 speakers, charging jack, SD card slot, on/off switch, volume, Z buttons, shoulder buttons and the dual track method. Compatible with Super Mario Sunshine for example, it's pretty much all you'll need. Complete with all the original Gamecube buttons, you won't skip a beat playing on this great piece of hardware.

Watch as GmanModz rips some Super Smash Bros, and you can check out his videos here. He's got a bunch of other portable console builds from a Wiiboy rev3, The 2DC (Sega Dreamcast Portable) and more.

The creativity of these individuals are not only outstanding, but something we could all use as motivation.

Purely passion projects, Kerwin Frost, Ben Heck, Downing and GmanModz showcase what can be done with our old consoles, breathing new life into our memories.

Outside of Kerwin Frost, you can commission a portable console from one these creators, and we're sure you'll love the results.

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