It’s still no easy feat, but creating a realistic 3D render of a miniaturized console is nowhere near as difficult as building the real thing, but that didn’t stop YouTuber GingerOfOz from building a handheld portable GameCube based on nothing but a concept pic that’s been floating around the internet since 2005.
Miniaturizing a modern console is hard enough, but doing so while forcing yourself to be constrained to a design that never actually existed as real hardware takes the challenge to another level. As hard as GingerOfOz tried to stay true to the original render, they were forced to make a few compromises along the way.
Using custom-designed 3D printed parts made recreating the overall look of the Nintendo GameCube Advance mostly painless, and the overall size was a compromise between the scale of the rendered model (based on the size of a GameCube disc in the image) and the size of an LCD display that would be incorporated into its lid. The concept’s hinge had to be redesigned for usability, and GingerOfOz took inspiration (and some hardware) from a clamshell Nintendo 3DS handheld to build it. The portable GameCube’s joystick was also salvaged from a 3DS and, alongside some 3D-printed miniature buttons, was recessed to allow the handheld’s lid to close without destroying the LCD in the process.
Inside the modded GameCube is where most of the compromises had to be made. It was impossible to fit a disc drive inside the custom housing, so the slot on the front exists mostly for cosmetic reasons — although a game disc can still be slid inside. There are also no actual GameCube parts inside the GameCube Advance. Instead, GingerOfOz opted for Nintendo Wii hardware which is less power-hungry, much easier to trim and miniaturise, and more compatible with custom software.
The final creation plays ROM files instead of games on disc, but since the Wii was fully compatible with the GameCube, all of the games from that console’s library play absolutely perfectly on this thing — just not for very long. Because of the space constraints inside the housing, there was only enough room for two rechargeable batteries providing less than an hour-and-a-half of gameplay.
What might be even more impressive than GingerOfOz’s build is the fact that they successfully tracked down the artist who had created the 3D render of the Nintendo GameCube Advance that inspired the project. The designer created the mockup in the early aughts as a way to practice using a 3D modelling app called 3D Studio Max (now known as 3ds Max) while studying art in college, and to see if their skills were up to the task of fooling the internet masses, which, were apparently just as gullible then as they are now.