Gaming

22 of the coolest custom console builds

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David Cornish
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Like the changing seasons and the reforming of legendary rock acts, there's a pattern to games console launches so regular you can set your watch to it: if they release a machine in black/white first, it'll come out in white/black a year later. Because that's what gamers want. Apparently. 

But while Sony and Microsoft limit themselves to simple colour inversions and 4K tweaks, an army of makers and modifiers are creating some truly incredible custom consoles worthy of a pedestal by your TV.

From one-off customs to rare specials, here are some of the best. 

XBook One S

XBook One S

Creator: Eddie Zarick

Veteran console modifier Eddie Zarick has torn apart Microsoft's new slim-line, 4K console, to create the XBook One S: the entire console, power system, ports'n'all, with its own 19-inch HD screen. It doesn't come cheap: Zarick will build an XBook One S for you for $1,495 (£1,152 plus postage) for a 500GB hard drive version, while a 1TB hard drive will set you back $1,545 (£1,190).

Star Wars: WRECK OF THE DESERT N64

Star Wars: WRECK OF THE DESERT N64

Creator: Vadu Amka

What did you do to displace your frustration awaiting the arrival of The Force Awakens? Rewatch all the old films (not the prequels, you monster)? Invent your own Star Wars drinking game? Sob about Jar Jar (again)? French console modifier Amka had a far more artful outlet, spending some 30 hours of sanding, bashing and painting to create this beautiful custom N64 that appears to have emerged from the battle-scarred sands of Jakku. It's only succeeded in heightening our Force Awakens fanaticism - anyone for a fourth trip to the IMAX?

Tron Legacy N64

Tron Legacy N64

Creator:  Zoki64

Glow in the dark panels, a hardened black paint job, this one-of-a-kind beauty was created by console moder Zoki64. Commissioned by a private collector reported to own one of the largest collections of Nintendo 64 consoles in the world, this TRON Legacy-themed build deserves to be kept in an exhibit with low lighting. And no, you're right - there isn't a TRON game for the N64. 

Orange glow Xbox One

Creator: Ryan Griffin

When he's not building lasers or crafting coil guns, Ryan Griffin spends his time making altogether less threatening console mods. Less than a week after the Xbox One hit shelves, Griffin had already torn his apart and thoroughly pimped it, adding a orange LEDs to both the console and controller and a plexiglass viewing window. Unfortunately, Griffin is only a hobbyist, so you're just going to have to cut into your own Xbox One if you want something this pretty. 

Castlevania SNES

Castlevania SNES

Creator: Vadu Amka

Part console, part diorama, this intricately detailed SNES is an artistic homage to Castlevania's Castle Dracula. Commissioned by Noob web series actor Fred 'Sparadrap', we'd be pretty scared of trying to blow in the slot of this beast. 

TMNT Party Wagon NES

TMNT Party Wagon NES

Creator: PlatinumFungi

Most modifiers work their magic on the existing box of the console - but PlatinumFungi doesn't do things easily. Boasting working headlights and a light-up driver's cabin, this toy has been heavily tweaked to incorporated a fully functioning NES. Power port and TV output in the rear, controllers to the side and cartridges slip in the top. Drop PlatinumFungi a line if you'd like him to make you one (which you obviously do). 

Steampunk Xbox 360

Steampunk Xbox 360

Creator: Dopelgunder

If you're going to void the warranty of your Xbox 360, you might as well do it in style. This fully-functioning steampunk vessel is the work of Dopelgunder, who tore apart his console to insert glowing red lights and a clockwork interior. Regrettably, there are no moving parts. 

NES cartridge Gameboy

NES cartridge Gameboy

Creator: robotswillkillyou

Not quite a console modification, this inspired build has snuck a Nintendo emulator into the shell of a NES game cartridge. The buttons of a NES consoles have been grafted into place below a 2.8-inch LCD screen. As well as playing NES, Gameboy and Gameboy colour games, it also works as an MP3 player and radio. So long, iPod.

Survival horror PlayStation

Survival horror PlayStation

Creator: Vadu Amka

Another twisted creation from Vadu Amka, this skin-crawling PlayStation is a physical embodiment of the 'Survival Horror' genre. With a tortured controller and in-built eye (that we swear we saw move), you can be sure your little sister isn't going to borrow it to play Just Dance

Golden PlayStation 4

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Golden PlayStation 4

Creator: Gatti Luxury Lab

No, this wasn't made by someone on Reddit in their shed. This lavish lump of metal was created by Italian jewellers Gatti for the Middle Eastern retailer Jumbo Electronics. The 226g of nine-carat gold use in the case pushed the price of the console up to £8,500. The matching Xbox One looks equally decadent. 

Walnut NeoGeo

Walnut NeoGeo

Creator: Analogue Interactive 

From golden next-gen to wooden retro-gen, this grainy beauty is a luxury version of the 1990's NeoGeo. An arcade classic, you can pick up one of these walnut wonders for £415 - or, sink £320 on this metallic NES

Super Nintoaster

Super Nintoaster

Creator: Vomitsaw/RichDaluz

Take one SNES, one cannibalised a toaster, add four types of glue and what do you get? Well, if we were building it, a bit of a mess - but in the hands of one Vomitsaw you get a work of art. Games slot into one side of the toaster unit, while controllers plug into the other. And the temperature knob? That controls the glowing red LEDs, obviously. Unfortunately it doesn't still make toast, but we can't imagine the crumbs are good for the cartridges. 

Steampunk NES

Steampunk NES

Creator: Andrew5785

When you were a kid, what did your uncle give you for your birthday? A greasy £5 note and a ruffle of your hair? A tip on a runner at the 2:30 at Cheltenham? One lucky tyke got this - a steampunk NES, designed by Reddit submitter Andrew5785. He does provide a (rather limited) photo guide of his build, so you could always have a go at making your own? 

Wall-E Gamecube

Wall-E Gamecube

Creator: thechoozen

Given the cutesy proportions of Nintendo's Gamecube, you'd have thought it would be ripe for all manner of itty-bitty modifications. Crafted out of plexiglass and perspiration, this Wall-E-inspired build is one of the less twee we've come across. 

Fallout 3 PC Case

Fallout 3 PC Case

Creator: Dewayne "Americanfreak" Carel

The eagle-eyed amongst you will be keen to point out that this isn't a modified console, and you'd be right. But such is the detail of AmericanFreak's PC creation that we had to include it. The build incorporates several aesthetics straight from the world of Fallout 3, including a flickering needles, oversized cooling fans and a replica Pip-Boy 3000 wrist computer. 

Mega Man NES

Mega Man NES

Creator: PlatinumFungi

Another gem from long-time modifyer PlatinumFungi, this backlit Mega Man console glows a satisfying red when powered on. And yes, despite the design, you can still play Super Mario Bros. on it. 

Chrome Xbox 360

Chrome Xbox 360

Creator: XCM

Sleek, shimmering, unquestionably cool - but just think of the fingerprints. Also, leaving the sun to strike this case unattended may result in a house fire... 

R2-D2 ten consoles in one

R2-D2 ten consoles in one

Creator: Brian M De Vitis

A while back we covered someone's epic build of an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the shell of an R2-D2. We thought it was pretty neat, until someone pointed out that there was another R2 unit with eight consoles. We thought that was really neat, but then we discovered this - an R2 with TEN consoles in. TEN. An Atari 7800, NES, SNES, Sega Saturn, N64, Dreamcast, PlayStation, GameCube, PS2 and Xbox - and there's even a projector in the head unit and a PSP in one of the joints. This is the droid you're looking for.

Portable N64

Portable N64

Creator: Bungle

Yep, you read that correctly. The creation of console modder Bungle, this hand-hugging controller contains everything that was in your beloved grey-lump that was the N64. Just remember to take a power cable with you on holiday - the battery only lasts for four hours. 

XDCX Dreamcast

XDCX Dreamcast

Creator: Unknown

We've no idea who's responsible for this brilliant build, but it plays on a long-standing rumour that Sega were eager for Microsoft to have the Xbox support Dreamcast games. Supposedly built for a Japanese gaming mag, we'd love to know where this ended up. 

PlayStation

PlayStation

Incredible War PC case

Incredible War PC case

Creator: Hiroto Ikeuchi

If there were prizes for modifications, Japanese maker Hiroto Ikeuchi would have a garage full of them. His tweaked phonecases, laptops and PCs all look like they've come from a futuristic world of chaotic beauty. While this war-ravaged build is a PC rather than a console, it's so staggeringly good that we had to finish with it. A year in the making, we doubt you'll find anything better - and we'd love to be proved wrong. 

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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