Modder Brings Fabled Portable GameCube To Life

Walt Disney once said, "All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." The portable GameCube seemed like a dream when someone shared a concept photo of it online back in 2005, throwing the internet into coveting chaos only to discover that the device was fake. Over 15 years later, a modder took all those broken dreams and turned the portable GameCube into a reality.

YouTuber "GingerOfOz" brought the fabled gaming device to life by using custom-designed 3D printed parts in order to design it in such a way that it closely resembles the original mockup, which was called the Nintendo GameCube Advance. "Y'know that fake GameCube portable that has floated around the internet for 15 years?" he tweeted. "Well, I got tired of it being fake. It's real now."

Actually building the portable GameCube in the likeness of the original render and the clamshell Game Boy Advance SP that inspired it was not without its challenges. You can watch the behind-the-scenes footage of the modder giving birth to the once-fictional compact gaming system below.

The making of the portable GameCube

To create the portable GameCube, GingerOfOz had to redesign the clamshell hinge so that the screen would bend all the way back for usability, taking inspiration from his younger brother's Nintendo DS Lite to build it. He also took the analog stick from the DS Lite because the one from the GameCube controller would damage the LCD screen when closed. The GameCube controller buttons also had to be 3D printed and downsized just a smidge to avoid screen damage.

Building the portable GameCube's interior required making the ultimate sacrifice: GingerOfOz took the Wii apart and extracted its motherboard and built it inside the device instead of using the GameCube motherboard. It turned out to be the best decision because Nintendo designed the Wii to be backwards compatible with GameCube games like "Mario Kart: Double Dash," "Kirby Air Ride," "The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker," "Sonic Adventure 2: Battle," and more. The disc slot was carved in front for cosmetic purposes because the device only runs GameCube ROMs, but the discs can still be slid inside. While a replica of the GameCube controller works for the Switch, we have yet to see GameCube games on Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack.

There are a few caveats to the portable GameCube's design. The LCD screen's resolution runs at 480p, and the battery lasts less than an hour and a half on a full charge.

Finding the artist behind the original concept

Do you know how some games have alternate endings depending on the direction of your gameplay and your relationships with the characters in the game? The story of the portable GameCube has two happy endings. Although GingerOfOz didn't make it for sale, the device runs exactly as intended, with headphone support included, and he was able to track down the artist who created the render of the Nintendo GameCube Advance.

After coming across the picture of the render in the artist's portfolio and reaching out to him on Instagram, it turned out the designer, Demond Rogers, created the portable GameCube concept for fun while he was studying traditional and digital art in college in the early 2000s, and decided to create it to practice 3D rendering on 3D Studio Max. 

One day, Demond decided to upload the photo of the mockup to see if people would take it as an actual product that was in the works, and it ended up going viral. So much so that some people traced the mockup back to the artist and hired him to create renders of cell phones and emulation devices. Demond has since gone on to work at gaming companies such as Ubisoft and Epic Games.