All time favorite electronics hacker Ben Heck has turned the new Neo Geo Mini — a toy-sized mini arcade machine that emulates awesome classic games like Metal Slug — into a portable Game Boy-style console. The result is really cool.
While it got some good reviews, the retail Neo Geo Mini has been criticized for using an analog stick instead of the digital controls of the original arcade machines. And while the fake mini-arcade design is cute, it is not practical at all: the joystick and the action buttons are too crammed and close to the joystick, which is not the real thing anyway. This thing should have been a portable console from minute one.
All these problems have been solved by Heck. In a perfect way too. He took out the analog joystick and put it clickers instead. He also rewired the buttons to align them in a way that are very easy to use, following the natural arc that your thumb makes. And he styled it just like the original machines and installed a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack!
Just look at Heck playing Metal Slug to see it in action and hear those glorious digital clicks:
Heck also kept the same 3.5-inch screen that came with the original unit (which is pretty good), as well as the stereo speakers. Since he just rearranged the controls and kept the original motherboard, his version comes with the same 40 preloaded games of the original — from the incredible Metal Slug series to the King of Fighters and Samurai Shodown franchises.
While the final guts are an spaghetti monster of cables and soldering — watch the entire video to see how he designed, 3D printed, and rewired the entire thing — Heck told Ars Technica that a Printed Circuit Board kit could be made to easily transform the retail Neo Geo Mini package into this compact console.
Please do it, Ben. Put up a Kickstarter, seriously. This thing is all I want for Christmas.