Gaming has brought joy to people across many generations, and during the pandemic, the billion-dollar industry has soared with families playing trending Nintendo games like Hades, Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Ori and the Will of the Wispsin in the comfort of their own homes.
But for one particular gamer in Waltham, Massachusetts, the thrill of gaming comes from the console itself. His passions have now led him to construct a device that is officially the world’s smallest modified Nintendo 64 console.
With a love for challenges and a desire to break boundaries with innovation, Gunnar Turnquist (USA) said, “I was inspired to make this project since I love the N64 and it was my first game console I had growing up.”
For those unfamiliar with the Nintendo 64, it was one of the original home gaming consoles in the mid-90s, and one of the last to use cartridges as its primary storage.
These devices are quite bulky and usually measure a height of 2.87” (72.9 mm), width of 10.23” (259.8 mm), depth of 7.48” (190 mm), making resizing this equipment no easy task.
Gunnar ran into obstacles like trimming the motherboard down to the most minuscule size. To ensure the motherboard properly functioned at a fraction of the size, he had to first carefully map the intricate connections and rewire its tiny circuits.
His end result paid off, as he was able to maneuver all the pieces to a record-breaking size of 8.4 cm X 11.8 cm X 4.50 cm (3.3 in X 4.64 in X 1.77 in).
The modified console premiered on Gunnar's YouTube channel 'GmanModz,' a channel where he explains how he builds portable consoles, synthesizers and other neat engineering projects related to gaming.
The LCD screen was measured at 3.5" with a battery life of 1.5 hours. The new system also includes fully-functional N64 controller buttons.
With his new accomplishment, many are wondering how he managed to condense all of the operational equipment in such a tiny frame.
As it turns out, Gunnar first came across fellow gaming fanatics creating their own individual portable gaming consoles at the age of 13. He was absolutely stunned a project like this was achievable!
As a teen, he was so bewildered by the work of these game-lovers, he became intrigued to create one of his own.
In days following his discovery, Gunnar methodically studied available online resources pertaining to video game modding and electronics. On his spare time from school, he studied and watched closely, learning how others conducted and executed their unique electronics project.
Gunnar continued to practice and perfect his passion for building portable consoles for 10 years, studying and noting ways on which he could improve his craft on each replication.
Over the years, Gunnar has received help and support from his high school teachers and friends who have guided him in his aspirations for modding.
Years of work and technical studies eventually motivated him to continue on this journey, by pursuing electrical engineering in his own collegiate studies. .
For Gunnar, the reward of achieving this record was not the record itself, but the dexterity and the persistence to manipulate the limits of the older game technology and intermix them with modern techniques, like 3D printing, microcontroller programming and printed circuit board (PCB) designs.