Console modders have made a competition out of creating smaller and smaller portable versions of classic game machines. Gunnar “GmanModz,” an accomplished tinkerer on YouTube, appears to have outdone himself with the “World’s Smallest N64 Portable.” This tiny creation is barely bigger than the original N64 cartridges it can play natively.
To accomplish this feat, the modder chopped apart an original Nintendo 64 motherboard (instead of using a custom PCB or a Raspberry Pi) and rewired it by hand so that several components are layered in, with extra add-on boards for handling things like audio output. A custom-designed, 3D printed case accommodates analog sticks from the Switch, custom buttons (clicking the sticks in activates alternate modes for the D-pad and C buttons), and the 3.5-inch screen, speakers, and battery, which is about the same size as a AA.
The console can run for about 90 minutes on a charge, and aside from the stick shenanigans to access all the controls, the only things it’s missing from the original console are controller ports and the expanded RAM slot. The video doesn’t mention any way to save or load game saves from a proprietary N64 memory card.
The modder calculates that this creation is 23% smaller in total volume than the previous record holder for smallest N64, made back in 2015. He readily admits that it’s not a great way to actually play games, but this is a “because I can” sort of design. Gunnar’s Twitter feed is a treasure trove for those who want to replicate his designs, including open source PCB files for some of the trickier parts.