While not quite as elegant as the Switch, the PiiWii is one of the more sleek and practical solutions for playing Wii and GameCube games on a handheld ever modded. And it only took its creator three years to complete it.
Shank Mods, who you might remember as the guy who decided to stick the internals of a Wii inside an Altoids tin, recently took to YouTube to share his latest finished project: a handheld Wii that plays both GameCube and Wii games stored on USB drives. Like the Altoids project, the PiiWii also uses original Wii internals. That means there’s no emulation involved. As a result, Shank says, it runs a lot better than handheld mods that rely on Raspberry Pis.
He accomplished this feat by cutting up the Wii circuit boards and rearranging them into a much smaller configuration that could fit inside a small, laser cut plastic shell accompanied by small speakers, a battery, and cooling system. As you can imagine, the smaller form factor means more heat, which is why there’s a beefy intake vent on the top and output vent on the back. In addition to the LCD screen, the front of the PiiWii sports a combination of GameCube face buttons and 3DS circle pads. While it doesn’t have motion controls built in, it is compatible with Wiimotes via mini-sensors next to where the speakers output.
The only thing the PiiWii is missing is the original Wii’s optical drive. It was left out to stop the handheld from getting impractically big and heavy,. Games are loaded from a USB flash drive, including WiiWare games, many of which will become officially unavailable when the Wii Shop Channel goes offline at the end of this month.
While Shank isn’t producing the PiiWii for sale, it is a great example of how old tech can be repurposed for convenient, modern use. For more details on how it was put together and the three-year saga behind its creation, you can check out Shank’s work log over on Bit Built.