One of the best things about the Nintendo Switch is how you can pick it up and take it with you. You’re not stuck playing your games on a TV. A YouTuber who goes by GmanModz followed that thought process and stuffed a Nintendo 64 into a custom-printed oversized Game Boy Advance case, and boy, it looks terrific.
You might be thinking, “Why not use a Raspberry Pi to emulate an N64 and save a lot of effort?” Well, setting aside the legal questions surrounding emulations and ROMs, it turns out that emulating the N64 is incredibly hard to do, even with powerful hardware.
That level of difficulty means using original Nintendo 64 hardware is sometimes an easier proposition them attempting to emulate the hardware. Of course, “easier” is relative, because from what we can see, this mod is anything but easy.
To accomplish the black magic of making a portal Nintendo 64, GmanModz had to remove the N64’s PIF chip and rewire it elsewhere. The PIF chip is responsible for interfacing with controllers and handling security measures found on N64 game cartridges, but its location makes modding difficult. It runs along the edge of the motherboard and takes up enough space to limit how small you can make an N64 mod.
Relocating the chip solved that problem, but that wasn’t the end of the wiring job. GmanModz also added USB-C Power Delivery charging, a custom amp to improve sound, and a custom display. He 3D printed a large case in the style of the Game Boy Advanced SP, added controls and buttons, and even used springs from original Game Boy hardware to help with hinge duties.
The result is nothing short of amazing, although it does miss out on some of the N64’s unique controls, like the grip Z-Trigger. A mod like this isn’t for the novice, but if you have the chops, you can watch for a more thorough guide on the process to come.
For everyone else, we can look on in envy. Or settle for a Nintendo Switch. Yeah, that’s probably easier.