The PS Hanami: A Portable PlayStation 1

No emulation, just a real PlayStation motherboard crammed into a tiny case

The PS Hanami: A Portable PlayStation 1
Image Source: YveltalGriffin

For gamers and tinkerers alike, there's something truly special about taking an iconic console and reimagining it in an entirely new form factor.

Such is the case with the PS Hanami, a handmade portable version of the original PlayStation 1 that defies expectations.

Created by a passionate modder YveltalGriffin in just one month, the PS Hanami is a marvel of DIY engineering and a testament to the unquenchable thirst for new gaming experiences.

At its core lies the guts of a real PlayStation (PU-18) motherboard, carefully cut in half, folded like the pages of a book, and rewired by hand.

All of this fits into a form factor just slightly bigger than a PS Vita.

Image Source: YveltalGriffin

This is no emulation hack or software shortcut.

The PS Hanami contains the authentic heart of Sony's pioneering 32-bit console, beating with the same MIPS processor that brought classics like Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid, and Crash Bandicoot to life decades ago.

Measuring just 181 x 91.5 x 30.25mm, this portable powerhouse feels like an impossibility made real through ingenuity and an unwavering commitment to preservation.

No longer tethered to a TV, the PS Hanami frees these unforgettable games from the living room while retaining every ounce of their timeless charm.

Image Source: YveltalGriffin

The project's creator was driven not just by technical curiosity, but by a profound love for the games themselves. To that end, the PS Hanami delivers an authentic, pixel-perfect 480p VGA output via a custom open-source scaler board.

Paired with beefy stereo speakers, it recreates the original PlayStation experience with remarkable audio and video fidelity.

While the internals are a pristine marriage of new and old hardware boundaries pushed to their limits, the exterior showcases a celebratory embrace of gloriously rough edges.

The modded console sports blobs of hot glue, a wonderfully "janky" aesthetic that makes its feat of engineering all the better.

Of course, no passion project of this ambition is without its quirks and rough edges. The PS Hanami proudly wears its jank on its sleeve, but that doesn't make it flawless.

There are no volume controls, and the power LED and reset button were left unwired. The latching power button is finicky, making it easy to accidentally turn the unit off with a stray brush.

Under extended play sessions, the lack of heatsinks causes the compact console to get toasty. The custom Shinobi scaler can also act up, latching onto composite video noise and causing disruptive picture artefacts until you reboot.

And when those battery cells eventually run dry, there's no graceful shutdown or smart battery management - the screen just cuts out.

It remains to be seen whether the creator will circle back to address these idiosyncrasies.

For now, they're part and parcel of the PS Hanami's delightfully unvarnished charm. This is a first-of-its-kind piece of gaming hardware, brought into existence through stubborn willpower.

A few tolerable imperfections are a small price to pay for such an audacious feat of engineering.

In a world where things are designed to break, often disgarded as we move on to the next big thing, it's heartwarming to see folks putting love and effort into projects like this.

It's an inspiration to gamers, makers, and nostalgic tinkerers alike – a reminder that the only limits are those we impose on ourselves.