The Game.Work Console Powered by a Framework Mainboard

Framework’s laptop embraces a modular motherboard design that allows for CPU upgrades simply by replacing the motherboard, obviating the need to discard the entire machine. However, users may ponder the utility of the replaced motherboard. Framework offers a case that can transform the motherboard into a desktop. Yet, there’s room for users to unleash their DIY prowess. For instance, some have considered crafting a gaming console from a Framework motherboard.

Abe Haskins, a YouTube contributor, drew inspiration from the antique gaming console TurboGrafx-16. Introduced by Hudson and NEC in the 1980s, this console featured a unique, compact, card-like game cartridge, in stark contrast to the larger cartridges prevalent at the time. Haskins adored this design and created a similar-looking microSD card reader. He affixed retro covers made with an instant printer onto the casing, and designed a slot that emitted a clicking sound when the cartridge was inserted, imbuing the project with a decidedly tactile quality over a technical emphasis.

Although the Framework motherboard does not include a direct video output interface, it can be expanded via a USB-C port. Haskins has shared the entire process and design of the project on his video and GitHub. Furthermore, to avoid the coarse exterior of a completely 3D-printed console, Haskins integrated some pre-made parts for a more polished finish, underscoring a commendable approach considering the current limitations of 3D printing precision.

Of course, if you don’t aspire to mimic Haskins’ cartridge design, the process becomes simpler. By designing a case and installing front-end software like RetroArch or EmulationStation, you can transform the motherboard into an emulation console. Considering the robust emulator performance of Framework’s earliest Intel Core CPUs, even PS3 games are within reach. Those interested are encouraged to explore and tinker with this potential.