Meet the homemade PS1 portable mod that doesn’t use emulation

From the ashes of an old PlayStation.

PS Hanami portable gaming handheld running PlayStation games natively without emulation.

Steam Deck OLED is the undisputed retro gaming champion, but you don’t need to go into the tricky world of emulation to play older games on the go. With a buttload of expertise, you can craft a mod that shaves an actual PlayStation down to a PS1 portable.

Dubbed PS Hanami, electrical engineer YveltalGriffin broke and bent an original PS1 to fit the brand-new form factor. All it took was cutting the motherboard in half, folding it, and rewiring the entire thing to work. Perhaps the most impressive part, however, is that it only took a month to complete from the ground up. This includes the trimming, CAD work, and assembling it.

Measuring 181 x 91.5 x 30.25mm (WxHxD), the custom PS1 Portable is a similar size to PS Vita. The width is almost identical, but the mod is a little taller to accommodate the motherboard. The most noticeable difference is probably the depth, though, as it’s 63% thicker and a whole lot less ergonomic. That’s not a slight, however, as this thing looks as professional as they come.

Homemade PS Hanami gaming handheld compared to PS Vita.

Without a disc drive, the only way to play games is from a 16GB PicoMemcard+ SD card. This is all thanks to a trimmed Xstation ODE by Robert Neumann (ramapcsx2). It completes the authentic feel with a disc tray button that pops the SD card out, coming full circle. There’s even an LED that shines red through the white shell when saves are written, swapping to green when you’re good to continue.

Another workaround is using Shinobi Scaler running GBS-Control, also by ramapcsx2. This translates PS1’s RGB video into VGA at 480p and scanlines in 240p mode. It’s not perfect, as YveltalGriffin notes that it “uses luma as sync and sometimes latches onto composite video noise which makes the picture all noisy.” Whenever you bump into this, a swift restart usually helps.

Homemade PS Hanami gaming handheld internals.

The 2S1P 3,500mAh 18650s battery with “red board” lasts up to 2.5 hours. This isn’t a patch on Steam Deck OLED’s longevity on retro games, but it’s impressive considering the technical adjustments here. YveltalGriffin didn’t share the test conditions, however, whether this is will the enclosed stereo speakers and PAM8803 amp cranked up or silent.

If the modder pursues a second edition, there are a few things they’d change. First of all, there are no volume controls, the power and reset LEDs aren’t hook up, and simply brushing the power button can switch it off. For how chonky it is, there’s also no heatsink, meaning it can get a little toasty.

Seeing how anything’s possible always lights a fire under me. I have no expertise to draw from when crafting a DIY gaming handheld, but it sure makes me want to learn.