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picture cropped to avoid computer damage

These are portables that do not use original systems, but achieve the same effect.

Some people do not have time or knowlege to build their own portable, others don't have the game selection they desire or can acquire. These are not for the puritans, but should help the "little guys" get their hands on a portable classic system.

The Built-in Games Solution

There are a lot of "limited" video games systems out there. They're a controller containing an old system, like the 2600 or NES, with anywhere from 5 to several hundred built-in games. You play the system by plugging it into a TV. It would be very easy to connect it up to a portable screen, creating a handheld system. This is the easiest portable you can build, with a long battery life. The only real downside to these are their inflexibility, as their game selection is limited and cannot be changed.

Most of the shops on the Links page sell these kind of things. In fact Radio Shack makes one too.

128 Game NES
posted by dave900

Beyond the GBA

The Gameboy Advance is the most powerful portable system (in the US) available commercially. In fact, it's good enough to emulate older systems.

This was posted by deminisma:
Several emulators have already popped up for use on the GBA. NES, SMS and 2600 are among them. Being able to fit 300 2600 games on a 64mb flash GBA cartridge kind of make the 2600 portables obsolete, doesn't it?

It should be pointed out that others on the board disagreed, saying that a portable made from a genuine system was better.

Also emulators are now available for the Spectrum and mono GB (so you can have multiple games on a cartridge). You will need a flash advance linker and card for this.

A good place to start if you're interested in this sort of thing

I really couldn't think of a better place to put this link. It's a GBA that uses a PS One screen. The page also has a comparison between the TV de Advance and the GBA Transverter.

Portable Emulation Machine

This concept was brought forward by LaserBeams and DSXpress

Turning a PC into a handheld gaming machine would usually be considered absurd, but DSXpress found a company called SaintSong/Intraplex that makes minibook PCs. They're no larger than an external drive. You could build the system bare-bones without a harddrive and only a cd/dvd-rom drive. Load a cd with a bare-bones system, emulator and roms.

LaserBeams created an innovative design that uses a laptop, dubbed the Shark Portable Computer.

Either way, this would be a VERY expensive portable.

By the way, a topic in the Board discussed the possibility of portablizing the Amiga through similar means. You can read the discussion here.

Useful Adapters

Tristar / Super 8 | Super Gameboy | Master Gear

Adapters and other peripherals could expand the capabilities of your portable, increasing it's value.

Tristar / Super 8

The Super 8 (below) allows NES games to play on the SNES. Both the Super 8 and the Tristar play the NES games by actually having a chip that contains the entire NES board. This chip can be extracted and used to make a VERY small handheld NES. With this chip, Kevin Horton built the Portendo, an NES contained within a Sega Nomad. If this interests you, here is the chipset. You need an EXTENSIVE knowledge of electronics to build this. Do not expect any help from Kevin, and accept that this will cost a LOT more than converting a regular nintendo or buying the Game Axe.

The Tristar (above) plays NES and SNES games on the N64.

There are also adapters for both the SNES and N64 that allow b/w and color Gameboy cartridges to be played on the television. And development tool for the GameGear called the "Wide Gear" that had TV out. I will post pictures of these as I find them.

Super Gameboy

The Super Gameboy is an adapter for the SNES. It plays Gameboy games.

Master Gear (aka Power Base) Converter

There is an adapter for the Sega GameGear for playing Master System games called the Master Gear. Game Gear's 4096 color palette versus the limited 256-color palette of the SMS is the only real technical difference between the SMS and Game Gear.