2017 is truly the time for portable play. With the release of the Nintendo Switch and smartphone games becoming increasingly popular, it seems like gaming on the road is something we'll be doing more and more in the future.
It's not like it's a new phenomenon though. The first Game Boy was released almost 30 years ago, and since then we've seen a myriad of different handheld #videogame devices. Some more homemade than others, as making portable versions of consoles is a hobby for some McGyver-minded people.
You Can Now Play GoldenEye 007 On The Road
Yes, there are people out there who turn a few bucks by turning old consoles into portable gaming devices. They simply take them apart, wire them up to tiny screens and speakers and encase them in plastic of different shapes and sizes. They can even make the consoles run on batteries!
It's apparently not that difficult to create your own portable Playstation 2, Nintendo 64 or whatever childhood console you're nostalgic about. Except for an Xbox, which is apparently too big and heavy.
There's a bunch of guides floating around on YouTube and the rest of the internet, telling you how to transform your own console. Let's take a closer look at some of the cooler childhood consoles that have turned into handheld devices.
1. The Dreamcast
- Release year: 1999
- Manufacturer: Sega
Looks pretty cool, right? The Dreamcast was the world's first sixth generation console as it preceded both Sony's PlayStation 2, Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox. Unfortunately, it was also Sega's last home console as it was quite a fiasco economically.
That doesn't mean the console didn't have any great games though. If you're able to turn your old Dreamcast into a portable device, you can play anything from Shenmue, Sonic Adventure 2 and Soul Calibur on the road.
Here's part 1 of a very detailed 3-part series of videos of Ben Heck, professional console modder, creating a portable Sega Dreamcast.
2. The Playstation
- Release year: 1995
- Manufacturer: Sony
Sony's first console was a massive hit as it packed just a little more punch than its competitors, the Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn.
With games like Resident Evil 2, Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy VII and Tekken 3 it established Playstation as a serious contender on the console market and initiated Sony's eventual dominance.
Here's Ben Heck describing how he created a portable Playstation in 2001, long before Sony released the PSP.
3. The Nintendo 64
- Release year: 1996
- Manufacturer: Nintendo
This kind of case for a portable Nintendo 64 doesn't have to be custom made, as it can be bought directly off eBay. Making the whole portable-transformation a lot easier for an amateur.
And why not? Having games like the very first Mario Kart, GoldenEye 007 (still the only decent James Bond game to this day), The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Banjo-Kazooie, the Nintendo 64 was the platform that modernized many of Nintendo's beloved characters and franchises. Those games still work on the road today!
Here's an easy how-to guide on putting together your own mobile N64.
4. The Playstation 2
- Release year: 2000
- Manufacturer: Sony
The PS2 doesn't need further introduction as it was the most popular sixth generation console by far. Sporting impressive power for its time, the platform brought us classic games like Final Fantasy X, GTA: Vice City, Shadow of the Colossus and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Almost every household has had one at some point.
But if you don't feel like playing those games in any kind of remastered version on one of Sony's official portable devices like the PSP or Playstation Vita, following the below guide is the way to go.
Here's Ben Heck once again explaining how to create a portable PlayStation 2.
Many Other Homemade Portables Out There
The above represent just a small portion of the many different portable consoles people have been creating for the past years. You can find mobile versions of old platforms like the Super Nintendo ES and Sega Mega Drive, and even different Xbox's (including the Xbox One) which have been turned into handy laptops running on batteries.
It's a whole new world. But don't expect the transformation of your device to be cheap, if you don't intend on doing it by yourself. And if you do, be careful not to break anything in the process, as there's always some risk involved in opening up any kind of electronics.
What console would you change into a portable device if you could?