3 Retro Consoles that are Unbelievably Tiny

The wonderful world of electronics has yielded us countless products, from radios and televisions to the complex computers and smartphones you have today. Underneath them all, you have the humble printed circuit board (PCB) that houses the essential components necessary for them to operate.

Electronic products undergo initial designs and tons of revisions. One of the later stages is the assembly of the PCB prototype, and this is where you can get a glimpse of what the final product would be. From here on, there could still be some tweaks and changes, but the product will most probably retain a good amount of detail from the prototyping stage.

One sector that relies on that prototyping stage is the video game industry. Right now, video games are one of the biggest forms of entertainment. But throughout the years, the industry has seen some impressive board designs. Some manufacturers even combined a compact form with the punch of a modern console.

Sony PSOne

The first PlayStation came out in 1994, and it proved to be a massive success for Sony. This is a console that was born out of the electronics giant’s failed collaboration with Nintendo. The two companies were supposed to release a CD-ROM drive add-on for the Super Nintendo or Super Famicom in Japan. But Nintendo suddenly changed their tune, which left Sony with an almost complete video game hardware that was about to go to waste. Instead, Sony refined it further and made it a standalone device that would usher in the age of 3D polygonal graphics and CD-based media to video games.

The first iteration had a simple and symmetrical design that is now seen by fans as iconic. Hardware revisions are a normal thing for consoles. The PS1 has seen numerous revisions like the removal of the rarely-used parallel port, and these are done to improve productivity and lower the costs.

The most significant revision happened in the year 2000 when Sony released the PSOne. This is a shrunken-down redesign. It still retains the lines and symmetry of the original but has a more rounded form. Its footprint is only a little larger than the discs it runs. You can chuck it into your bag, and you don’t have to worry about it taking a lot of space. There is an LCD screen peripheral released for it, which enables playing on the go.

Sony PlayStation 2 Slim

In the year 2000, Sony released the PlayStation 2, the successor to the wildly popular PS1. It had a monolithic look, with sharp angles and ridges on its front side. But it also received a major redesign later in its life, which is something that people started to expect later on with the PS3 and PS4.

In 2004, Sony released the redesigned PlayStation 2 and called it the PS2 slim. It is considerably smaller than the launch console. It is almost as big as 2 DVD cases stacked on top of each other. People were amazed at how Sony was able to shrink the PS2 down to this size.

Nintendo GameCube

Video game controller


Nintendo had great success with their NES and SNES systems in the US or the Famicom and Super Famicom in Japan. Their next console was the Nintendo 64, which featured the classic Super Mario 64. Even with quality titles, the N64 still lagged behind the PS1.

The Big N’s entry into the competition was the GameCube. It had a very compact design, and it even came with a carrying handle. This is suitable for those who travel a lot and bring their console with them. Its disc drive only accepts 3.14-inch discs, which contributes to how small it is. What is impressive here is the fact that this was a console that many say is more powerful than the PS2.

Consoles may come and go, but you always remember those with great designs. You can always build a hulking console and put everything in it, but there is a certain charm to a tiny console you can lug around and still packs a powerful punch. As they say, big things come in small packages.

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