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Modder builds a Nintendo Wii the size of a deck of cards

WTF?! Shrinking popular game consoles has long been a popular pastime for modders. Some have spent years competing to make the tiniest functioning Nintendo Wii. The latest candidate measures just a few square inches and retains the original machine’s functionality except for physical disc support.

Modder James “loopj” Smith recently introduced a fully functioning Wii that could easily fit in a shirt pocket. A complete assembly guide is available on GitHub, but it requires advanced motherboard trimming, soldering, and PCB assembly skills, so only experienced users should attempt it.

Dubbed Short Stack, the record-holding miniature Wii is about seven and a half percent the volume of Nintendo’s original console. It is so minuscule that 13 Short Stacks could fit inside a stock Wii with room to spare.

Smith trimmed down the system’s motherboard by replacing the original power delivery system, USB modules, Bluetooth hardware, and GameCube controller ports with smaller substitutes. The remaining original motherboard, containing the CPU, GPU, memory, and flash storage, measures just 62-by-62mm.

Other functions, including the video feed and status lights, use custom PCBs to save space. Smith also replaced the SD card slot with a microSD port. A notable addition is HDMI support, which the original Wii lacked. The strangest alteration is a conversion from GameCube controller connectors to much smaller TRRS headphone plugs. Cooling works through a small 5V blower fan and a custom heatsink cut from aluminum or copper.

A custom 3D-printed case is held together with M2.5 and M1.2 screws, accurately recreating the original Wii’s look with all of the front-panel buttons. Smith also preserved the LED-lit disc drive despite the system being far smaller than the smallest optical disc.

The result is slightly smaller than that of prior variants like the Wii Nano or the portable Kill Mii. However, loopj admits that an even smaller 52-by-52mm motherboard is achievable, possibly cutting volume by 25 or 30 percent, so Short Stack’s record might not hold for long.

Other famous consoles have also recently been modded into impressive new form factors. Earlier this month, someone built a handheld version of the original PlayStation in the shape of a rare controller for that console. More odd is an NES console crammed into a cartridge that also functions as a game when inserted into an original NES. What?

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