Without a doubt this post is long overdue. After roughly five years of off-and-on work, I completed my Nintendo 64 portable gaming device, dubbed Luma 64. I built the shell out of two Tupperware-style containers; one comprised the bulk of the handheld while the other was chopped apart and used as an extension to house the cartridge slot. I doubt I’ll ever use a case like this for any future projects because it ends up being rather thick for a portable and as polished as I tried making the end result, it’s still not very professional. As a friend of mine put it, “you can be the best case-maker in the world, but at the end of the day it’s still Tupperware.”
One feature I made sure to include in this handheld is a LOB64 jack. This multiplayer/AV out jack isn’t built into very many Nintendo 64 portables, but the idea upon its inception was to create a standard connection throughout the modding world. The more portables that incorporate the standard, the more likely you are to encounter another LOB64 portable at a convention or expo.
I don’t claim to be a good guitar player. I can strum my way through most songs on barre and power chords and I have a fairly decent sense of rhythm. But a guy like me isn’t going to make it into the pages of a major guitar magazine without doing something that will turn a few heads. And apparently I managed to pull that off.
If you happen to find a copy of the Holiday 2015 issue of Guitar World magazine, flip to the inside of the back cover, where I’m proud to announce that my Guitar Boy has been featured in the regular “It Might Get Weird” column. I know that my guitar received some attention when it made the rounds on Facebook (pretty impressive for a guy without an account!) as well as a few other news sites, but making it into the pages of a printed publication sold nationwide quite honestly has me flying on cloud nine.
With my work now in print, I keep thinking of the Dr. Hook song “Cover of the Rolling Stone” where they sing, “Wanna buy five copies for my mother.” Sorry, Mom. I’ll buy you one copy.
I put in a LOT of work and am happy to finally present the Guitar Boy. This fully functioning electric guitar has a Raspberry Pi built in which runs retro video games on a 5″ LCD screen. All of the controls on the front of the guitar perform as regular Game Boy controls, with the A and B buttons pulling double duty as volume and tone knobs.
I built this as an exhibition piece for the BitFix Gaming 2015 Game Boy Classic build-off and finished working on it September 13, just before the competition’s deadline. Check out this video of the Guitar Boy in action:
Although I am exempt from the competition itself (for the same reason any company restricts its employees from winning its own promotions), I wanted to create something in the spirit of the competition in order to draw some attention toward the BitFix community. As can be guessed, what I’m building is a Game Boy guitar. Rather than sacrificing any model of Game Boy, the brains of the Guitar Boy will be a Raspberry Pi running RetroPie. With the A/B/Start/Select button layout, NES, Master System, and Game Gear games will also be fully playable, as well as a few others.
The Game Boy-themed build-off competition is underway and there are currently three participants working on their projects. I wanted to share what’s being built in order to hopefully draw up a bit more excitement for the competition. In no particular order, we have…
ModPurist’s Game Boy Color Advance. If you’re calling this photo out as a fake, it is. ModPurist whipped up this image in a few minutes using MS Paint in order to show what he plans to accomplish – essentially take a Game Boy Color and literally turn it on its side. ModPurist is already making great progress on his case, so go over to BitFix Gaming to check it out!
Next is a laptop project being built by wesley762. Wesley is currently gutting an old laptop and plans to cram both an NES and a Super NES inside! After getting a start on the laptop shell, Wesley switched to prepping the NES board.
Last but not least is a 3D-printed case mod by portablesofdoom. As you can see from the project proposal image that Doom drafted, his Companion (Game)Cube will be a rehoused Gamecube designed to resemble the companion cube of Portal fame. At the moment, Doom hasn’t shared much information on his build aside from the above picture. However, the competition ends on September 14, so expect to see a lot more before then.
Be sure to check out the competition entries in further detail on the BitFix page!
The Game Boy build-off competition at BitFix Gaming has officially begun! Everyone is welcome to participate in the competition, so long as they register as a member of BitFix. The rules for the competition are fairly simple: no modding may be performed prior to today, finished projects must be functional, and all projects must fit the Game Boy theme.
I have intentionally left the theme open to loose interpretation to allow for a wide array of creativity. Examples that fit the theme include a Gamecube portable that plays Game Boy games via the Game Boy Player, virtually anything recased inside a Game Boy shell, or an electronics project shaped and painted to resemble a Game Boy. There are so many possibilities!
I’m really excited to see what kind of awesome projects are going to come out of this competition and yes, I will be creating a project of my own for this comp.
This summer I will be hosting a build-off with a theme loosely based around Game Boys. The rules are simple: custom-build a gaming device of your own design within the three month competition period and somehow make your build fit the theme. The theme will be very broad in its terms; projects may be a recased Game Boy, a Gamecube portable with an included Game Boy Player, or simply be a project painted to resemble a Game Boy.
The competition goes live in just under two weeks. Project work may start no earlier than June 12 and must be completed by September 14 in order to be eligible for prizes. Speaking of prizes, a combination of Game Boys and games (includuing those in the image above) will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners.
Be sure to check out the competition thread at BitFix Gaming for additional details. If you’re interested in participating, sign up to be a member of the BitFix forums. There are no fees or additional requirements in order to enter the competition and anyone is welcome to enter prior to the September 14.
Also, I will be building my own project for this competition, although I won’t be in the running for prizes. So be sure to check back later for details on my build!
My portable Playstation took a turn for the worse when I accidentally fried the system board. Since then I’ve found a replacement PS1 on the cheap, but started another project rather than finishing what I had already started.
The Dreamcast ControlView
This is a specialized Dreamcast controller with a 3.5″ screen built-in, allowing me to play Sonic Adventure and Shenmue completely free from the TV.
I built this from start to finish in just under 2 weeks. Build started on Sunday, January 4 and finished January 15, just in time to make the entry for the 2014 Build-off Competition on the bacman.co.uk forums. Build log here.
First and foremost, I’d like to announce that, along with a couple of my internet friends, I have co-founded a new online community dedicated to gaming, modding, and music, with discussion of other topics welcome as well. Please come check it out and I urge you to sign up to be a part of this growing community!
In other news, I’ve been working for the past two and a half months on building a portable Playstation 1 for a competition on the Bacman forums. The competition officially ends on January 7. I can’t say for sure if I’ll be able to finish my entry before the deadline, but I hope to end up with something that I’ll be proud to display and – more importantly – enjoy playing.
This is a project I’ve been working on for a little in between getting busy with life. Because my secondhand Colecovision (should we just assume that all Colecovisions are secondhand at this point?) came with no controllers, I made my own out of a broken NES controller. I used the original NES controller board and shell, with the cable being pulled from a damaged Playstation 2 controller.