PS1 Handheld Is A Retro Gamer’s Dream Come True

Modder YveltalGriffin's "Hanami," a retro PlayStation One transformed into a handheld console, lies flat on a tealish surface with the Final Fantasy 7 start menu on the screen.

Screenshot: YveltalGriffin / Kotaku

Whoever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is apparently a liar, as a Florida-based modder has taught Sony’s first PlayStation console how to do something rather unexpected. Specifically, the tinkerer turned the homebound system into a handheld console using a bunch of hot glue and magnetic wires.

YveltalGriffin, an electrical engineer who previously built an adorably cute and portable Wii in April 2021, is back with another creation. This time, they took an OG PlayStation, removed its motherboard, and turned that into a portable console. It’s a cool bit of hardware innovation, as YveltalGriffin had to get real creative to even make the build possible. They’ve dubbed it “the PS Hanami.”

For starters, think of the PS1 itself. To get its big motherboard into a small chassis, YveltalGriffin had to cut it in half and fold it like a book. This allowed them to squeeze it into a portable console that’s just seven-ish inches long. Using “lots of hot glue,” as well as “lots and lots of magnet wire,” YveltalGriffin “embraced the jank” to finish the entire project in a single month.

What’s even more impressive is how the PS Hanami runs games. Because the device is too small for a disc drive, YveltalGriffin got it to run Xstation, an optical drive emulator that boots games from an SD card. Combined with an open-source resolution scaler called Shinobi (for a crisper image) and the DualShock’s rumble function, this feels like a retro gamer’s dream handheld.

Mackie Kannard-Smith

YveltalGriffin admitted that the PS Hanami does have a few major issues right now. It has no volume controls, the power button is “finicky” and turns the console off when brushing up against things, and it contains no analog sticks (though YveltalGriffin might someday make a “revised version” for games that require them, like Ape Escape). It also only gets approximately two-and-a-half hours of battery life off a single charge, and because it’s hella janky with zero heatsinks, they said it gets “nice and toasty after a while.”

Kotaku has reached out to YveltalGriffin for comment.

Despite these flaws, YveltalGriffin’s PS Hanami is a remarkable achievement. Just look at this video they uploaded to YouTube showing the handheld running Final Fantasy VII. Now I’ve got just one question for them: How can I buy it?


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