Your dream handheld GameCube is finally a reality 20 years later

GameCube Portable concept brought to life
(Image credit: GingerOfOz)

An almost 20-year-old handheld GameCube concept has been dragged out of your childhood and into the harsh reality of 2022. And like all of your other pre-pubescent hopes and dreams, it hasn't quite survived the test of time. 

This homemade GameCube handheld does a great job at mimicking the sexy 2002 render it's based on, but its insides are a butchered hodgepodge. It doesn't have the energy to play anything for more than an hour and a half, and some functional features are now purely aesthetic. The comparisons between the portable and your middle-aged husk just keep on coming.

GingerOfOz, who builds portable video game consoles over on his YouTube channel  took on the task of bringing the fake GameCube handheld to life, and solved the mystery of where it originated from while he was at it.              

"I just want to tell you how stupid it is to build a GameCube portable," says GingerOfOz, who uses a Wii motherboard in this project. He explains that, compared to the Wii, the GameCube motherboard saps more power, can't be trimmed down, can't be modded easily, needs a large cooling system, has less battery life, and doesn't output at 480p natively. So a 'true' GameCube portable just isn't feasible, hence why most people who've attempted attempt to create one have opted to use the Wii motherboard instead.

That doesn't make much of a difference though, because the Wii is backward compatible with the GameCube, so for all intents and purposes, it IS a GameCube. GingerOfOz even customized the system software so the handheld would have the GameCube's boot screen and purple menus. Now that we're all on the same page, you can watch the 20-minute video of the process without feeling compelled to leave a comment on how it's not authentic.

While it's a nifty project, the handheld GameCube has a few glaring issues that would be a problem even if did launch 20 years ago. The abysmal battery life is the main point of contention, barely managing to squeeze out 90 minutes. It can be plugged into a portable charging bank, but where's the fun in that? 

The glossy black finish is, predictably, a fingerprint magnet, and the design itself is far from ergonomic. Your hands would be cramping long before the battery cuts out. And while it has a disc drive, it's purely for show to match the original render. Speaking of which, GingerOfOz also added extra buttons and triggers that the render was missing. 

If you remember the GameCube portable concept doing the rounds the first time, you might be interested to know that GingerOfOz tracked down the guy who made it – Demond Rogers

Demond has since gone on to work at Ubisoft, Epic Games, and Squanch Games, but made the render for fun in his college days while studying traditional and digital art, and practicing product rendering. He posted it online to see if anyone would think it was real, and so started the legend of the GameCube Portable.    

While it's a fun throwback, you're better off buying a Nintendo Switch, or the new Switch OLED if you fancy a bigger and better screen.  

Shabana Arif
News Editor, TechRadar Gaming

Shabana has been writing about games for almost a decade now, as well as covering tech, politics, food, and other random tidbits at Gizmodo UK. She's stepped outside of news every now and then to write game guides, and always appreciates a DM if she's helped get you out of a pickle. During her time freelancing, you may have spotted her words at VG24/7, GamesRadar, and IGN. She's also held the position of news editor at Gizmodo UK, T3, and The Sun Online.