20 of the Best – Custom Consoles
Like the changing seasons and the return of legendary rock acts, there’s a pattern to games console launches so regular you can set your watch to it: If they release a machine in black/white first, it’ll come out in white/black a year later. Because that’s what gamers want. Apparently.
Sure enough, some 12 months after the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One arrived in uniform black, their gleaming white editions are now jostling on retail shelves in hopes of earning a place under Christmas trees. But while Sony and Microsoft limit themselves to simple colour inversions, an army of makers and modifyers are creating some truly incredible custom consoles worthy of a pedestal by your TV.
From one-off customs to rare specials, here are 20 of the best.
article care of shortlist.com
TRON LEGACY N64
Glow in the dark panels, a hardened black paint job, this one-of-a-kind beauty was created by console moder Zoki64. Commissioned by a private collector reported to own one of the largest collections of Nintendo 64 consoles in the world, this TRON Legacy-themed build deserves to be kept in an exhibit with low lighting. And no, you’re right – there isn’t a TRON game for the N64.
ORANGE GLOWING XBOX ONE
Creator: Ryan Griffin
When he’s not building lasers or crafting coil guns, Ryan Griffin spends his time making altogether less threatening console mods. Less than a week after the Xbox One hit shelves, Griffin had already torn his apart and thoroughly pimped it, adding a orange LEDs to both the console and controller and a plexiglass viewing window. Unfortunately, Griffin is only a hobbyist, so you’re just going to have to cut into your own Xbox One if you want something this pretty.
Creator: Vadu Amka
Part console, part diorama, this intricately detailed NES is an artistic homage to Castlevania‘s Castle Dracula. Commissioned by Noob web series actor Fred ‘Sparadrap’, we’d be pretty scared of trying to blow in the slot of this beast.
TMNT PARTY WAGON NES
Most modifiers work their magic on the existing box of the console – but PlatinumFungi doesn’t do things easily. Boasting working headlights and a light-up driver’s cabin, this toy has been heavily tweaked to incorporated a fully functioning NES. Power port and TV output in the rear, controllers to the side and cartridges slip in the top. Drop PlatinumFungi a line if you’d like him to make you one (which you obviously do).
STEAMPUNK XBOX 360
If you’re going to void the warranty of your Xbox 360, you might as well do it in style. This fully-functioning steampunk vessel is the work of Dopelgunder, who tore apart his console to insert glowing red lights and a clockwork interior. Regrettably, there are no moving parts.
Not quite a console modification, this inspired build has snuck a Nintendo emulator into the shell of a NES game cartridge. The buttons of a NES consoles have been grafted into place below a 2.8-inch LCD screen. As well as playing NES, Gameboy and Gameboy colour games, it also works as an MP3 player and radio. So long, iPod.
SURVIVAL HORROR PLAYSTATION
Creator: Vadu Amka
Another twisted creation from Vadu Amka, this skin-crawling PlayStation is a physical embodiment of the ‘Survival Horror’ genre. With a tortured controller and in-built eye (that we swear we saw move), you can be sure your little sister isn’t going to borrow it to play Just Dance.
GOLDEN PLAYSTATION 4
Creator: Gatti Luxury Lab
No, this wasn’t made by someone on Reddit in their shed. This lavish lump of metal was created by Italian jewellers Gatti for the Middle Eastern retailer Jumbo Electronics. The 226g of nine-carat gold use in the case pushed the price of the console up to £8,500. The matching Xbox One looks equally decadent.
Creator: Analogue Interactive
From golden next-gen to wooden retro-gen, this grainy beauty is a luxury version of the 1990’s NeoGeo. An arcade classic, you can pick up one of these walnut wonders for £415 – or, sink £320 on this metallic NES.
Take one SNES, one cannibalised a toaster, add four types of glue and what do you get? Well, if we were building it, a bit of a mess – but in the hands of one Vomitsaw you get a work of art. Games slot into one side of the toaster unit, while controllers plug into the other. And the temperature knob? That controls the glowing red LEDs, obviously. Unfortunately it doesn’t still make toast, but we can’t imagine the crumbs are good for the cartridges.
When you were a kid, what did your uncle give you for your birthday? A greasy £5 note and a ruffle of your hair? A tip on a runner at the 2:30 at Cheltenham? One lucky tyke got this – a steampunk NES, designed by Reddit submitter Andrew5785. He does provide a (rather limited) photo guide of his build, so you could always have a go at making your own?
Given the cutesy proportions of Nintendo’s Gamecube, you’d have thought it would be ripe for all manner of itty-bitty modifications. Crafted out of plexiglass and perspiration, this Wall-E-inspired build is one of the less twee we’ve come across.
FALLOUT 3 PC CASE
Creator: Dewayne “Americanfreak” Carel
The eagle-eyed amongst you will be keen to point out that this isn’t a modified console, and you’d be right. But such is the detail of AmericanFreak’s PC creation that we had to include it. The build incorporates several aesthetics straight from the world of Fallout 3, including a flickering needles, oversized cooling fans and a replica Pip-Boy 3000 wrist computer.
MEGA MAN TRIBUTE NES
Another gem from long-time modifyer PlatinumFungi, this backlit Mega Man console glows a satisfying red when powered on. And yes, despite the design, you can still play Super Mario Bros. on it.
CHROME XBOX 360
Sleek, shimmering, unquestionably cool – but just think of the fingerprints. Also, leaving the sun to strike this case unattended may result in a house fire…
R2-D2 TEN CONSOLES IN ONE
Creator: Brian M De Vitis
A while back we covered someone’s epic build of an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the shell of an R2-D2. We thought it was pretty neat, until someone pointed out that there was another R2 unit with eight consoles. We thought that was really neat, but then we discovered this – an R2 with TEN consoles in. TEN. An Atari 7800, NES, SNES, Sega Saturn, N64, Dreamcast, PlayStation, GameCube, PS2 and Xbox – and there’s even a projector in the head unit and a PSP in one of the joints. This is the droid you’re looking for.
Yep, you read that correctly. The creation of console modder Bungle, this hand-hugging controller contains everything that was in your beloved grey-lump that was the N64. Just remember to take a power cable with you on holiday – the battery only lasts for four hours.
NES PLAYSTATION 4 SKIN
Creator: House of Grafix
Should all of these custom consoles have got you itching for your own specialised box, House of Grafix has got a penny-saving solution. Their fantastic skins for the PlayStation 4 pay homage to the grey tones of the original NES – neatly illustrating just how far consoles have come without really changing one tiny bit. You can buy one for £10 here.
INCREDIBLE WAR PC CASE
Creator: Hiroto Ikeuchi
If there were prizes for modifications, Japanese maker Hiroto Ikeuchi would have a garage full of them. His tweaked phonecases, laptops and PCs all look like they’ve come from a futuristic world of chaotic beauty. While this war-ravaged build is a PC rather than a console, it’s so staggeringly good that we had to finish with it. A year in the making, we doubt you’ll find anything better – and we’d love to be proved wrong.