I was born in the 90’s when SEGA, Sony, and Nintendo were at each others throats, battling it out to create incredible video game consoles and characters.
The competition meant that they had to innovate, and with that came unique peripherals, transparent coloured shells and a plethora of unique gaming experiences throughout the 90’s and 2000’s that introduced video game characters that are still around to this day.
Nowadays though, it feels like console designs and limited edition variants have far less “wow factor”, so we took it upon ourselves to team up with Joseph Tomkins, a professional 3D designer, to give new life to games consoles.
We gave Joseph the challenge to create video game console concepts based off iconic game characters, moments and items, and he did not disappoint!
Disclaimer: These consoles are not real, and are concepts made by Retro Dodo.
1. Tony Hawk’s Skate Deck Pro
I was a huge Tony Hawk’s fan when I was a kid, even though I could barely stand on a skateboard for longer than 5 seconds. However, I could be a complete Pro in the game, and that’s all that mattered.
One of my most vivid “online gaming” experiences was actually in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 on Playstation 2. It blew my mind when I was playing with people from around the world in my living room, on a console.
However, this console is in a handheld mode, and it very much reminds me of the original Tech Decks from back in the 2000’s, those highly collectible skateboards that always went missing.
This console takes a mini skateboard and inserts a screen, a D-PAD, and action buttons into it, keeping the slim design and oddly satisfying ergonomics.
And yes; before you ask, it can still be used as a finger toy.
On the bottom you’ll find your volume buttons, on/off switch, and even a headphone jack for playing that awesome soundtrack.
Like other handhelds on this list, it would undoubtedly come pre-loaded with the game it’s based on. In this case, we’d have all of the best Tony Hawks games of all time, so there’d be no need to insert cartridges!
2. Hyrule Entertainment System
Another one of my favourite concepts in this article is the Hyrule Entertainment System.
A console built into a chest with a full blown arcade stick and arcade buttons. Heck, there’s even an arm rest and a built in screen ready to go.
Just open the chest and you’ll never want to close it again!
The chest can be easily shut, the arcade stick tucks away into a silicone padded area within the lid, just like magic.
When opened it will automatically load where you left off thanks to the built in battery, allowing you to make it a portable games console for a few hours.
Yes, there is HDMI out should you want to connect it to a screen, and a DC in for extra long gaming sessions.
Just like the handheld down at Number 7, this console is made with wood and real gold hinges, making it close to unobtainable for the average folk.
The only way to obtain a console like this is by saving your village from evil and collecting parts of the Triforce
The large screen allows for gameplay inside or out in nature, with the strong hinges making any viewing angle possible.
Although it’s not the most portable console on the list, it is by far, one of the rarest. Queue Zelda chest opening music!
3. Green Shell Advance Slide
Mario Kart is one of the most iconic games ever made. It’s destroyed families and friendships across the globe, and one of the weapons used to do all that damage is the infamous green shell!
Originally Joseph thought that the green shell would be a horrendous design for a handheld console, and that’s fair enough.
I mean, nobody wants to hold spikes for three hours, right?
But a few new iterations from the graphic design wizard gave way to a unique sliding mechanic that reveals not only the screen, but a comfortable way to actually hold this thing.
It also makes it slightly easier to fit in your bag… just make sure not to sit on it.
It features two analogue stick and a D-PAD for those of you that are crazy enough to play racing games with a D-PAD.
There’s a small circle left in the middle of the controller, allowing you to pull apart the shell, but get this – it’s also a battery indicator too that shows when the shell is shut.
The shell on the back also acts as a display stand, which is perfect for Nintendo based game rooms!
4. Super GameCube
There’s nothing more famous in the Nintendo universe than the yellow question mark block, something we know all too well after finishing our Super Mario Bros Wonder review!
Each block is typically filled with wonder and mystery, but this one is filled with a full blown GameCube console that’s portable and comes ready to go.
All you would need should this thing come to life is power and a selection of the best Gamecube games, because the screen is built into the lid of the block!
Joseph took inspiration from the Super Mario LEGO Set which features a lid that opens up just like this.
The console features four controller ports on each corner of the face, alongside a memory card slot within the question mark itself.
Once opened, it will show a super high definition display and a disc slot, making it easy to switch games and to see what game is waiting for you.
The magic with this concept is how easy it is to take with you on the go.
If you’re heading over to a friends house, the process is as easy as shutting the screen, unplugging the cables, and taking the block with you alongside some controllers.
Think of it as a portable GameCube for Mario nerds, which is pretty much all of us!
5. Sonic The Hedgeheld
The vision for this console was to base a handheld clamshell console off of the iconic menu screen from the original best Sonic games.
This device opens up in what looks like a polly pocket style and features the iconic SEGA button layout complete with a D-PAD, an analogue stick, and even shoulder buttons on the side that acts like the Sonic’s spikes!
The screen sits the middle of the top clamshell, with front facing speakers and a backlit display, big enough for even the oldest gamers to see.
Because it’s a concept, we’d like to think it could run every single Sonic game ever created, and that’s purely because we say it can!
From SEGA Genesis to SEGA Dreamcast games, every game would come pre-loaded ready to go, making it one of the gnarliest consoles of all time!
Admittedly it’s not the most ergonomic handheld design, but there’s no denying it’s a thing of beauty and immediately gives off late 90’s toy vibes. It’s something that I can see on the shelves of Toys R Us back in the “good ol days”.
What are your thoughts on this one; would you change anything, or add anything?
6. Spyro The DragCon
The task for this console was to use Spyro’s head as a console and find an innovative way to insert the discs. I know that this one might be a little creepy, but it’s still awesome nonetheless.
The whole head of Spyro is used for this console, and with the press of a button, Spyro will open his mouth to reveal the disc tray.
It’s as if he’s eating them for breakfast or breathing fire… you decide.
Because of the sheer size of this console, it’s a little difficult to place neatly away or hide it in your media wall, but that’s not how you should display this beast.
It should be in full view for all of your friends to see!
The controller port is on the side of Spyro’s neck, and it comes with a custom purple controller that fits neatly with the console itself.
The display port is located on the back, hidden away behind Spyro’s neck. Spyro’s eyes act like the original PS1 Console buttons, opening the disc tray and turning the console on or off… because we wanted to make the console even weirder.
This is one of my favourite concepts of this entire article, simply because 7 year old me would have cone absolutely crazy at Christmas if this was under the tree!
To be honest, I’ll still be going crazy for this at 77 – Spyro rules!
7. Coffinvania Flip
Here’s one for all of the Castlevania fans out there. The Coffinvania Flip is inspired by the Gameboy Advance SP, and although it is likely incredibly difficult to grip, it’s drop ‘dead’ gorgeous.
The elongated design opens up space for an analogue stick on the left and a 16:9 display. The door of the coffin opens and closes too, protecting the screen from bumps and scratches.
Open up the coffin far enough and it will reveal two large shoulder buttons. The shell is made with real wood, making it unlike any handheld known before it.
Joseph opted for dark oak for the shell with blood red buttons, alongside a big, dark red glass screen cover, and a front facing speaker so you can really hear the screams of the undead.
When closed, it will reveal a metal Castlevania logo, embedded into the sleek polished wood shell.
Just like the Gameboy Advance SP, it’s incredibly portable too, with ports, cartridge slots, and a link cable on the sides.
8. Master Box 117
One of Microsoft’s most iconic gaming characters has to be Master Chief. Joseph was set with a task of converting the helmet into a console, similar to the Spyro the Dragcon.
And boy, did he nail it!
If you are a fan of the best Halo games, then you will know that Master Chief’s flashlight is built into the helmet. So, we decided to convert this into a fully fledged 4K project.
With the press of a button, the strong light will project onto the adjacent wall, allowing you to play Halo games with friends on a 50″ projection in any room with a wall.
It comes with a wired Duke controller, and the disk tray can be found on the top of the helmet. So simply plug it into the mains, shut your curtains, and you’re ready to kick some butt, Spartan!
This is a great concept that is likely a possibility to create, although it would undoubtedly have a very high price tag thanks to it being a console/projector hybrid.
But we still want it!
A big thank you to Joseph Tompkins for working with us on some incredible video game console concepts based off well know games, characters and items.
Fingers crossed that at least one of these becomes a reality!
A 31 year old British fella that’s had a Gameboy ever since he was a child. Brandon is the founder of RetroDodo and has created a YouTube channel with 260,000 subscribers dedicated to retro gaming products. He now wants to create the No.1 site to showcase the latest retro products from around the globe.