Taking an old console and making it as small as possible is a well-established tradition in the modding community, and there may be a new victor in the race to shrink the Nintendo 64 as far as possible (via Input). GmanModz has cut down an N64 to the point where it’s smaller than a GameCube controller — and only slightly bigger than the cartridges it takes.
The mod vs an N64 controller Photo: GmanModz
Yes, cartridges. This isn’t an emulator, this is an actual Nintendo 64 that was cut, soldered, and otherwise modded to fit into a handheld package, complete with screen, battery, and controls (the joysticks are from a Nintendo Switch, chosen for their diminutive size).
At three and a half inches, the screen is smaller than what you’d be used to when playing an N64, and it has a resolution of 320 x 240. Making up the shell are two different plastics, with the back being more heat-resistant — an important consideration when you’re using a motherboard designed to be in a roomy home console.
In order to fit it into such a small form factor, the N64’s motherboard had to have all non-essential parts cut off. Photo: GmanModz
The modder is no stranger to making portable versions of the console: they’ve also modded it into a Game Boy Advance SP-inspired form factor (twice). For this mod, though, they gave themselves a challenge: don’t custom-design any boards. There are some third-party boards inside that were available on an online modding shop, but they weren’t made specifically for this build. GmanModz says that this was “to be fair” to the previous smallest N64 record holder.
In the video showing off the project, GmanModz admits that it’s not the greatest portable Nintendo 64 experience. But that’s not really the point — the point was to make the smallest portable N64, and they apparently achieved that. “The battery life sucks, it’s uncomfortable to hold, but hey. It fits in my pocket. Does your N64?”
As expected with such a small handheld, the battery only lasts about an hour and a half. But hey, if you’re gunning for a Super Mario 64 speed run record, that may be all you need.