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Electronics wizard Ben Heck creates portable Nintendo 64

Ben Heck's custom made N64 Portable. (Image source: YouTube)
Ben Heck's custom made N64 Portable. (Image source: YouTube)
While we wait for the release of the SNES Classic Edition, why not take a look at an incredible mod of Nintendo's 3rd generation console? Ben Heck has finished his Nintendo 64 Portable, a modded Nintendo 64 built into a portable case.

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Retro gaming is back in full swing, and Nintendo is the reigning champion. With the success of the NES Classic Edition and the upcoming release of the SNES Classic Edition, demand is high for Nintendo’s retro consoles. However, some gamers aren’t content with waiting until this Fall. Ben Heckendorn (aka Ben Heck), the electronics guru known for his console mods (including repairing the fabled Nintendo PlayStation prototype), has completed work on his latest console mod, the N64 Portable.

Heckendorn started the project about 6 months ago. Since then, he ran into trouble with the PCB design and trying to make all the pieces of the N64 work together in a new case. Heckendorn wanted to make the console compatible with the N64’s RAM expansion pack, which bumped system memory from 2 MB (yes, that’s with an “M”) to 4 MB. However, including a slot into which the expansion pack could be plugged proved difficult and made the device bulky. Heckendorn reached out to some friends at the Midwest Gaming Classic convention last April in Milwaukee, MN. These contacts later provided a modified PCD with the expanded RAM soldered on, resolving the space and connectivity issues Heckendorn had previously encountered.

In a video posted on YouTube, Heckendorn showed off the custom board and also showcased his continued work. After creating a custom heatsink, rewiring the cartridge slot, and making other small adjustments, Heckendorn finally printed a customized case, wired in the pieces of an authentic N64 controller, and screwed everything closed.

The result is impressive. The N64 Portable includes stereo speakers, a fairly beefy battery, and full compatibility with the entirety of the N64’s library. Unfortunately, Heckendorf won’t be releasing the device to consumers; after all the time he’s spent on this project (an excess of 6 months), he’s putting the project to bed.

Impressive work as always, Mr. Heckendorf.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 08 > Electronics wizard Ben Heck creates portable Nintendo 64
Sam Medley, 2017-08-19 (Update: 2017-08-19)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.