Posted on May 10 2015 by Al Luijendijk
We’ve all seen it. Even if you’re only slightly involved in anything related to gaming, you’ll have come across at least one custom console or controller on the internet. Strangely, these amazingly detailed objects always seem so distant, because you know you’ll probably never make one yourself, or you’re never going to commision or even see one of these amazing works. Often the only thing we as fans can do is stare at our screens in awe, or leave a comment praising the artist for the incredible work they’ve done.
Back in March, while visiting one of Belgium’s otaku and geek conventions called ‘Made in Asia,’ I got the chance to see several works by graphic designer and creator of custom consoles, Vadu Amka. We’ve covered her work before, and it was an amazing experience to see two of the Zelda related consoles she has made over the past years in all their glory. After asking, I found out that Kate, the artist, was present herself, and I was lucky enough to ask her a couple questions about her history, work process, and the console mods she has created. Keep in mind that everything has been translated from French, meaning some details might have gotten lost in translation. The full interview can be viewed below.
When and why did you start making custom consoles?
VaduAmka: Well, primarily I am a graphic designer and have also studied graphic design, but I first started making console modifications back in 2012. Before starting with consoles though, I experimented with some normal objects, like a steampunk themed iPod Touch case. One of the first consoles I made was actually a very simple Zelda related N64. The very first console modification I did was for a friend. I had seen other people’s work on the internet, and wanted to try my hand at creating something along those lines. I enjoyed it so much, that I kept on going!
How do you generally make them?
VA: It’s a very long process. First I get contacted by a client, who commisions a certain theme which is mostly related a certain video game or series. I then ask what their favorite moment in the game or series was, and center my console around that moment. I start out by sketching out several designs roughly, then narrowing down which designs suit the system better and move on to sketching them in more detail. Throughout the entire process I stay in constant contact with the client, asking for feedback and approval. Once the planning and sketching is done, I ask the client to specify a texture and colour. In the meantime I look for a broken version of the console of choice, which I repair later on. Once all that is done, I can move on to actually customising the console’s exterior, using resin, acrylic paints, and resin epoxy among other items. Whatever serves the purpose of what I’m making. Once all the exterior work is done, I use UV laque as a finishing coat. Most of my expertise comes from the twelve years experience I have in arts.
How do you choose which console to modify?
VA: The client mostly chooses which console I work on, but sometimes I decide to make a console for myself or a friend. The themes aren’t always game related though, I’ve made a The Walking Dead themed Xbox 360 and a Ghostbusters themed Sega Master System II.
Moving on to Zelda, are you personally fan of the franchise? Is it your favorite video game franchise?
VA: Not really (laughs), I’m a big Final Fantasy fan, but the Zelda themed consoles are certainly the most popular if not the most requested. I think it’s mostly because there are a lot of possibilities with The Legend of Zelda, and because it has such a large following. The Wind Waker themed Gamecube was a lot of fun to do though, and I do like the challenge.
What’s your next project or what are you working on now?
VA: My most recent project (at the time) is a Half-Life themed Dreamcast, which is exclusive to Made in Asia. My next project is Gameboy themed around Super Mario Land, which you can look forward to soon!
There you go! Not the longest interview, but still quite an interesting one. Be sure to check out all of her amazing console modifications here. Also, be sure to check out her latest console, which is another amazing Nintendo 64 based on Ocarina of Time! Loads of images of her Zelda projects can be found in the gallery below.