We’ve seen our fair share of custom-made systems by fans over the years, including ideal portable consoles for the likes of Dreamcast, Nintendo 64 and Super Nintendo. But now someone has created a rather interesting model, a handheld Wii housed in the unlikeliest of casing -- an Altoids tin.
A creative user by the name of Shank has shown off his work with the system, known as the Kill Mii (gotta love that).. It has a rather tiny control system with a pair of small analog sticks and even smaller buttons, and it definitely doesn't have the look of a typical handheld system. That said, though, it’s rather interesting how he was able to put it together alongside his buddy Gman.
Over on his BitBuilt blog, Shank explained, “This portable is not logical, comfortable, or practical. But it must be done.”
He began putting together the system back in April 2017, and just finished it. And to further prove how well it runs with its downloadable games (via the attached USB stick), he even posted a video, which you can see above.
We managed to talk with Shank about what motivated him to put the system together. "I'm a big fan of GameCube games. I started work on portablizing the Wii about 4 years ago," he said. "In the process we have gotten it smaller and smaller, but this is as small as we can get in terms of trimming. Our community has always joked about 'Well, can you fit in an Altoids tin?' because it always seemed impossible...but once we figured out how to relocate the NAND chip, it was small enough to fit...and so it had to be done.
"I decided to be the one to torture themselves to make it happen. I started about a year ago, but shelved it after a while due to burnout. Recently, a few portablizers came to visit, one of which was Gman, who helped me finish it over the weekend."
Despite the crude casing, the wiring is pretty complex, featuring circuit boards, wires and everything, tied in with a small but functional portable screen. And though its control scheme is a bit on the crude side, this thing runs Super Smash Bros. Brawl like a champ somehow. Not only that, but it can run GameCube games, Virtual Console games, WiiWare, homebrew, and emulators. (At ten minutes at a time, of course, followed by a two hour charging period.)
The Shank squad posted a couple of tweets showcasing the project, which you can see below.
The KillMii is finished! It's a fully functional Wii portable inside an actual Altoids tin. It runs hot, has a 10 minute battery life, and awful controls, but it's a real Wii inside (not an emulator.) It's the worst thing ever. pic.twitter.com/WrqiPmVHJB— Shank (@dyxlesci) September 30, 2018
There are flaws, however. With its intricate set-up, the system “does run hot"; and the battery life lasts a meager ten minutes. You can probably get in three matches of Smash before it shuts down and has to be recharged. (And we thought the Sega Nomad was a power eater.)
And Shank wanted to make it very clear this was not an emulator. "This is a real Wii, not an emulator or other stuff. Homebrew existed to load games from USB games for years, but our community at //Bitbuilt.net made a custom software pack to go hand and hand with making portables," he said.
As a fan project, this is pretty cool based on its novelty, even if the system itself, again, isn’t as well-structured as other fan systems. And Shank was grateful to finally get it done. "It's my project, but I couldn't have done it without Gman. He has a YouTube channel called GmanModz where he makes great portables," he said. (Follow that link to check it out!)
Shank also hinted at what he wants to do next. No, it's not a Dreamcast in a TicTac container. (Although we'd totally try that.) He said, "In the future, I want to push my electronics making skills, and make other slightly bigger but much less awful portables."
And he concluded by saying, "The community at //BitBuilt.net is really what makes a project like this possible. There are so many portables there that are so much better than mine, and don't get nearly this much attention. I encourage anyone interested in making one to do so. I knew nothing when I started, and having a project like this is a great way to learn!"
So there you go. The Altoids Wii is proof that you can make the best things work, even for just a few minutes. You can read more about Shank's work here!