After a few years of being in the shadow of their own creations (we’re still not quite sure what a Wii U actually does), Nintendo is back in the spotlight with the Switch. But you don’t just have to own Nintendo products, especially if you think the “it’s a screen THAT YOU CAN PUT ON ANOTHER SCREEN” revolution of the Switch is already old hat. If you have a little patience and some technical aptitude, you can Dr. Frankenstein some of your Nintendo stuff into things that you’d never find on a GameStop display.
But you might need a little encouragement before you start, so here are a few ways that people are already doing it …
After the article, watch Brian and Jason build a classic video game emulator right here.
Turn Your Game System Into A Mini Arcade Cabinet
So, let’s just say that while you like gaming, you’re only into Nintendo for the aesthetics. You have no interest in Breath of the Wild, but you think that whole real-life buildings should be shaped like the Switch. You see the three prongs on the N64 controller and give compliments to the chef. You see the Game Boy Advance SP and just wish that you could strip it of all of its Mario-ness and fill it with something else.
You can finally live your dream of rage-throwing an entire arcade.
If that last one hits you in a special place, you’re in luck, because turning your Game Boy Advance SP into a tiny arcade cabinet is totally doable. In the construction of this super machine, everything was thrown away but the screen and the motherboard. The arcade cabinet was constructed around it (You can add fake coin slots to it as well, if you want to mess with anyone cocky enough to think that they’ll get to play your grand invention for free).
The best thing about this? It still plays any Game Boy Advance game. Back in the day, you couldn’t go to your local arcade and play Pokemon: Fire Red or Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town. But now, you invent your own alternate reality, where arcade visits mean unlimited plays of Advance Wars.
But not Elf Bowling. Never Elf Bowling.
Combining Home Consoles With Portable Ones
Nintendo has already released a Mini Nintendo and a Mini Super Nintendo, for those of us too lazy to excavate the original releases out of our closets. And while they’re pretty neat, they only come pre-programmed with a set number of games, leaving your cartridges of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles In Time and Killer Instinct stranded out in the cold, peering into your living room like lost puppies. They’re also remarkably non-portable, which is an evil goatee’d version of nostalgia. “Remember the Super Nintendo? You can have one again, in front of your couch, just like it was when you were a helpless kid. And you can’t leave that couch. You and the game and the couch and your childhood are stuck here, no matter what. Mom, where are the pizza rolls?”
Luckily, Hyperkin, a company dedicated to sprinkling dreams on the harsh realities of gamers, stepped in to make the Supaboy S, a portable Super Nintendo that plays any Super Nintendo game, provided that you own a physical copy of that game. An updated version of the Supaboy, Hyperkin basically took every negative Amazon review that the Supaboy got and addressed them as best they could. The result is a Super Nintendo that you can play on the train or on the bus or at the airport or at the mall, which is our aspirations from twenty-five-years ago, anyway. Pull up to the mall and whip out a Super Nintendo from your pocket while you sip on an Orange Julius. The Supaboy S will give you that. You will finally be the hero in your own early 90’s teen comedy.
It's basically Zack Morris, except with personality.
But that’s a whole company devoted to making stuff like that. If you want a more personal example of Nintengenuity, take a look at this guy who combined a Switch with a GameBoy Advance SP. It was his first time trying to modify a console, and he decided to put Nintendo’s newest piece of hardware into the most perfectly shaped handheld that Nintendo has ever released. The result isn’t 100% stable, but it’s so cool to look at -- way cooler than the Switch’s normal dock, which is just kind of a depressed little rectangle. Which, in a way, aren't we all?
An HDMI Mod For Your Nintendo 64
Though it has a controller that was seemingly designed for people with three hands, the Nintendo 64 is Nintendo’s raddest system. It is the video game equivalent of a nine hour air guitar session, and is probably the system that has been most consistently played since its release, driving games like Super Smash Bros and Mario Kart 64 into immortality. The only problem is figuring out how to hook it up to modern TVs, which refuse to consider the fact that some people still desperately want to play a console that was discontinued about seventeen years ago. Modern TV’s look at the cables required for the N64 like Caligula looking at a Roman peasant begging for food.
"Those aren't exactly the chips I was asking for."
However, some people have engineered a way out of this plight by creating an HDMI convertor for the N64. You can get them from a variety of places, but they all perform one major function: ensuring that your N64 games play on whatever the future throws at us. Also, the games tend to look a little better on these high definition TV’s. So until the HDMI port is replaced by a chip that connects your cerebellum to a hologram of whatever propaganda Grand Emperor of Media Disney is throwing our way, this is your best bet.
Making Music With A Game System (No, Seriously, You Have To Hear This)
Some people write, some people make movies, some people paint with fingernail polish on the windows of Target to let customers know that the apocalypse is nigh. And some people make music, an interest that just happens to venn diagram with video games in a few cool cases.
For example, this guy turned his GameCube controller into a beat maker.
This is so obvious that it’s maddening it hasn’t been released on a grand scale. After forcing children to contort their hands in order to play with the 64’s controller, Nintendo attempted to save the world’s supply of palms and thumbs by building the GameCube controller, which is the easiest controller than anyone has ever thought up. It fits supernaturally well in your grip; thus making beats with it seems like a breeze. Side note: It probably isn’t a breeze, but Foster, the musician who concocted it, makes it look so easy.
If your relationship with Nintendo ended somewhere around 1994 and you distrust anything that attaches to a TV, check out this hack that turns the original GameBoy into an analogue mono synthesizer. Created by software manufacturer Nanoloop, it’s literally a cartridge that you put in your Game Boy, and you get to hear the sweet beats you make through the headphone output.
The one downside: It only really works on the original Game Boy. So if you expect to be a DJ on a Game Boy Color, you’ll only get sounds akin to if your GBC was haunted.
"Dad ... can we move? Please?"
A Glock Nintendo Zapper (Yes, It's Real)
Having actual weapons that look like your favorite pieces of pop culture is a dream of most of ours. We don’t really want to plunk down the money necessary to buy a sword, but as soon as someone tells us that it’s a replica of the sword Aragorn used in Lord of the Rings, or better yet, is a sword shaped like Viggo Mortenson, we drain our bank accounts in order to get it. That said, we shouldn’t have to wait around before someone wakes up in the middle of the night shouting “Brass knuckles?!? Dragon Ball Z?!? EUREKA.” We should be able to create them (safely) ourselves.
Precision Syndicate LLC created a glock handgun shaped like the Nintendo Zapper. For those of you too young to remember getting bored with the original Super Mario Bros., the Zapper is an accessory that you used to play Duck Hunt, a game that we don’t really need to explain because it’s basically the title: You get rid of them pesky virtual ducks. This glock looks incredible and we can’t wait for Martin Scorsese to hear about it so that he can give Robert De Niro a long-winded monologue about how he “Used to play Nintend’a as a kid” before he whips one of these out.
The company got a lot of heat for creating it, and were quick to assure the public that no, these would not be mass produced, and that they made one (and only one) for a friend. So if you think these look neat, by all means, turn your rifle into something from Splatoon 2, or whatever. But keep it under lock and key. We hate to clutch pearls, but the easiest way to ensure that kids think that guns are harmless toys is to make them look like harmless toys.
Like this article? Check out "5 People Who Got Fed Up With Expensive Stuff And Just Built It Themselves" and "The Weirdest Products That Scammers Have Counterfeited".