My Portable Playstation, NOT a PSP

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If you could choose between owning a handheld Playstation 1 or handheld Playstation 2, which would you pick? PS2 is the obvious choice; it has better graphics, doubles as a DVD player, and it plays the entire library of PS1 games with (from what I hear) only one or two exceptions.

I’m surprised I haven’t gotten a lot of criticism for this so far, but I opted to build a portable gaming device using a PSone, the smaller, revised Playstation 1 model.

The build began in the summer of 2014 during a build competition and I had to delay this project because my carelessness caused me to burn out the first system board I was working with. An additional fried PSone and two overhauls on the case’s body later and I can call this portable finally complete.

The portable contains two 7.4V camcorder batteries, wired together for approximately 4400 mAh of juice. A standard-sized PS1 memory card is permanently wired up to slot 1, so I never have to worry about forgetting a memory card at home. I’ve also included a mem card slot to accept additional cards, so I can transfer saves if I decide I want to continue my game on an unmodified console.

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Luma 64 – a portable Nintendo 64

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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.

In the Pages of Guitar World

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.

Guitar Boy – Completed Project

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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:

Guitar Boy – Game Boy Guitar WIP

With my Game Boy-themed competition already half over, I thought it would be a good time to share my current project.

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.

Game Boy Build-Off!

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.

For more details on the competition visit the official competition thread on BitFix.

A Game Boy kind of contest

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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!