We just came across an incredible new reactive light portable Nintendo Wii made by modder ShankMods that they are calling the GloWii.
Surely this thing would be pretty obnoxious to play in bed if ShankMods had a partner next to them trying to sleep.
But it would get a lot of looks of interest if they were playing this out in public. Actually, I kind of doubt anybody would have any idea what they were even looking at.
So we can all understand it better, let’s take an in depth look at the new reactive light GloWii to see what exactly is inside this portable light show.
GloWii by ShankMods
The GloWii features a real minimized Nintendo Wii motherboard inside. Which is always a point of pride for this kind of advanced level modders.
It’s one thing to stick an emulator inside a shell, but to have the skills to rework the real hardware is some true mastery.
We have covered some pretty incredible home consoles being crafted into beautiful portable forms in the past.
This beautiful handheld Wii by GingerOfMods or this wild PS2 portable handheld we tested out are just a couple examples of this.
What makes this new GloWii so special is the incorporation of reactive ambient LED lighting into the shell of the portable Wii.
Reactive Ambient Lighting
For those unfamiliar with the concept of reactive ambient lighting – a video signal can be analyzed and essentially extended to the background of the display used.
This concept has a lot of fun applications for home entertainment setups.
When done properly, it should actually reflect the content on the video signal.
Well, ShankMods took this concept one step further and put it in a handheld gaming console.
Something that they (and I) had never seen before. But now that we see it, it makes so much sense!
This custom reactive LED system uses a Raspberry Pi Zero W to manage 74 individual LED lights for this stunning effect.
ShankMods says they had been thinking about the concept for over four years.
And he makes a really good point about his idea: With the displays on cell phones extending to the edges of the device, but retro consoles benefiting from physical buttons in that area…
Making a console that feels like the content extends to the borders is a really smart way to combine those two ideas in a new and fun way.
Besides the really unique feature of incorporating reactive ambient lighting, the GloWii is everything you’d expect from a portable Nintendo Wii.
The console is based on the G-Wii, an open source design for building a minimized and portable-ized Nintendo Wii.
Needless to say, this is pretty high level work to modify and combine all of the pieces necessary to make a portable Wii come to life.
The GloWii has RVLoader onboard to allow for the use of ROM files to play Wii games without original disk media.
So this thing should play all of the best Nintendo Wii games. Or at least all of the ones that do not need motion controls.
Sadly, due to the massive amount of power this handheld actually needs, it will only last around two hours at a time.
But surely that’s enough time to get a psychedelic light show and a quick game of Super Smash Bros. Brawl in.
Disabling the reactive lights with the convenient switch that ShankMods included should increase that to around 3.5 hours. Not too shabby!
Our conclusion about this project is one that ShankMods also mentioned at the end of their Youtube video:
If you have a really awesome project that you have created, why not share it with the community and make it open source?
Doing so means that other members of your community can get their hands on it and take it a step further.
Thus taking the mods into unique territory that previously didn’t seem possible or hadn’t even been considered.
Surely ShankMods’ concept of using reactive ambient lighting in a portable game console is a unique idea, but is one that will also be further developed by him and others now.
And heck, maybe it’s a feature we will see in future handhelds that we can actually buy and play ourselves.
And I hope to see this kind of sharing and growth continue in the gaming world and the modding niche.
So big thanks to ShankMods for sharing his awesome project with us all.
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Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.