What the Book is About  

"Hacking Videogame Consoles" is a book that instructs you on taking your old videogame consoles (specifically, the Atari 2600, NES 8-bit, SNES 16-bit or PSone) and turning them into portable versions of themselves that play all the original game cartridges/discs. These new configurations include built-in screens, controls and rechargeable battery packs.

The basic steps involved in the process are:

  • Taking apart the original videogame console

  • Removing (via hacksaw, de-soldering and other methods) parts and sections of the motherboard that aren't required, thus making it smaller and more portable.

  • Assembling encasements for the portables out of plastic, aluminum, acrylic or wood. These cases are either built by hand using printed templates (included) or by CNC (computer numerical controller) machinery. (More on this in the "Projects" page)

  • Disassembling a store-bought pocket TV (from Radio Shack, Circuit City etc) and modifying it to use white LED's for illumination rather than its built-in bulb, thus saving power.

  • Wiring built-in controllers for the unit using PC boards (small blank circuit boards from Radio Shack) and some of the original controller parts. (such as plastic colored buttons and D-pads)

  • Installing all of the components, along with batteries, into the custom-built case and wiring it together.

  • Finally, playing your new game system portable anywhere!

Advantages in making your own portable:

  • Use your existing library of classic cartridges with it - or buy them from a used game store dirt cheap.

  • Breathe new life into a old favorite system from your childhood that's now collecting dust in the closet along with the striped tube socks and corduroy jackets.

  • Share the classic consoles and games with a new generation of gamers (such as your kids) in an interesting and exciting way.

  • Show off your portable creation at work/school/North Pole Expedition and amaze everyone with your portable-building prowess!

  • An intererting "work bench" project/hack you can finish -because everything is already designed and thought out for you, along with troubleshooting!

  • Use techniques and information from the book to create your own custom portable projects of the systems.

"Hacking Videogame Consoles" also includes chapters on basic electronics, tools and soldering techniques, so when terms and procedures come up during the later project chapters you'll be familiar with the terminology and what you're being instructed to do.

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