N64 Virtuoso Marshall Hecht, best known for his work creating the 64drive development tool and the ultraHDMI, has done much for the N64 community. Like many articles, projects and products we feature here, Marshall began his his N64 Legacy by making portables. Today we take a look at one of the first few (if not the first altogether) vacuum formed portables, the fabled L64.
-Custom Vacuum Formed Case
-Switch to toggle between L/Z Triggers
-LED-modded PSone Screen
-4200mAh Li-ion battery
-2.5 hour playtime
-All 4 original controller ports
Back in 2006, where most of us in the portablizing community were still kids so most projects were made out of Radioshack project boxes, Tackle Boxes, or the console’s case itself, like Marshall’s first N64 portable. Frankencasing, fancier Project Boxes (free Polycase Samples) and Vacuum forming started to become popular around this time. We went a bit more in depth in our featured of Bungle’s N64 Controller Style if you are interested in more information about vacuum forming.
With the case designed and formed exactly to the specifications of the N64 motherboard dimensions, there was no need to trim the board. Such is easily achievable nowadays, with more information on the subject (hopefully one day we will see an L64 Jr.) Certain sections of the motherboard were relocated and flattened to keep the case from becoming too thick, and the cartridge slot wired up for it to slide down the back flush with the portable. Color-coded wires are a nice touch and helpful for any possible troubleshooting. An original N64 controller was used and the battery fits nicely near the bottom, just under the relocated cartridge slot.
You may have noticed that this portable has only joystick analog control. Not many N64 games used the D-Pad at all (or doubled already mapped buttons) so it was omitted here. Not necessarily a big deal back then, but definitely a deal breaker for some, meaning no Kirby Crystal Shards or WWF No Mercy on the go. With the 4 player controller ports on the bottom, you could use an actual controller instead, and coupled with the a/v out port, use it like a normal N64.
Marshall has made a lot of cool portables and projects, and will continue to do so in the coming years. You can check out his website Retroactive.be, his Youtube channel, and his Twitter to watch it all unfold. Just cross all your fingers with us in the meantime for the L64 Jr.