Before single-board computers (SBCs) like Raspberry Pi hit the market, retrogaming enthusiasts didn’t have many options if they wanted to play their favorite console games on the go. It wasn’t uncommon to see consoles turned into laptop-style portables, and that was an impressive feat in its own right. But modder Darkwing has done something even more incredible, and turned a PlayStation 2 Slim System into a fully-functional handheld console.
Darkwing started this project four years ago, but left it sitting on the back burner for most of that time. Recently they decided to complete the build, and the results are incredible. Despite starting with the slim version of the PlayStation 2, the console was far too bulky to cram into a handheld enclosure without some serious modification. The disc drive took up a ton of space, and the composite video output isn’t ideal for modern LCD screens.
Because of that, the first step was to use an adapter board to convert the PlayStation 2’s video and audio output to HDMI. Next, the disc drive had to go. In place of that, Darkwing used a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. Games are stored on the Raspberry Pi’s SD card, and the PlayStation 2 hardware loads them from there. To keep everything as compact as possible, Darkwing removed all of the unnecessary ports from each board — and even relocated some of the larger capacitors.
All of that hardware was stuffed into a handmade enclosure made from ABS plastic, Tamiya putty, body filler, and a lot of time spent on sanding. The finished enclosure is roughly the size of a Nintendo Switch, and has all of the controls, including both joysticks, integrated into the design. The 5.6″ LCD screen provides plenty of real estate for gameplay. The PIS2 is certainly one of the most labor-intensive mods we’ve ever seen, but the finished product seems well worth Darkwing’s years of effort.
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Author: Cameron Coward