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Showcase: Custom Backlit TMNT NES by Platinumfungi and Custom NES Guy

Growing up in the 80s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles made a huge impact on me. The cartoons, the movies, the games, the toys, the costumes, the clothing – they were everywhere, and they were awesome. – Ryan Fitzpatrick, a.k.a. Platinumfungi


Artists work in many different mediums.  While there are plenty of traditionalists that take pleasure in forms that have been around for hundreds of years, there are those using technology as their canvas, and showing the world that art is always evolving.  One such talent is Platinumfungi, a.k.a. Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Ryan has spent a long time creating beautiful artwork using the classic Nintendo Entertainment System, and he’s let nostalgia be his inspiration.

IMG_3958 2When he was growing up, Ryan absolutely loved TMNT II: The Arcade Game.  With a friend on hand to help kick Foot Soldier butt, Ryan spent hours playing the game on his own NES, and wanted to recapture those memories through his artwork.  So, he set out to create the Backlit TMNT NES system – a one-of-a-kind design that gives classic gaming a turtle-y awesome feel.  To help in his project, Ryan turned to the Custom NES Guy, and together they designed and painted the system to bring the old-school turtles to life once again.



In choosing the appropriate design, Ryan focused on the color palette above all else.  He decided on something that looked like the turtles, including dual shades of green to resemble a turtle shell; brown around the vents and controller ports to represent the belt; and silver power and reset buttons to showcase the weapons.  “I really wanted to make something that had the look and feel of the original TMNT series. … When you’re working with something that’s so close to people’s hearts you have to make certain you’re careful with how you treat it,” Ryan said.



In creating a system like this, special attention had to be paid to the details.  One such example is in designing the decals around the audio/video ports.  Ryan wanted them to resemble the old TMNT logo, meaning they had to be red and white (with Raphael’s head added for something extra).  The system also had four controllers custom painted, one for each turtle, which included each individual’s color and an 8-bit head for a great way to play.  The plug for the controller port is even brown to blend nicely with the “belt” along the vent on the main system.  There was also need for care in the paint job on everything.  Fortunately, Custom NES Guy has been painting show cars for 16 years, and he used professional automotive-grade paint to give everything a clean look.

The most impressive part of the system, however, is where the system draws its name – the backlit element.  Ryan spent an excruciating amount of time cutting four designs that mirror the character selection screen in TMNT II, and laid them into the top of the NES system, where they glow brightly when the lights go out.  The artist used a dremel tool, files, and sandpaper to craft these cutouts, choosing to do the work by hand instead of with lasers or professional machines.  The backlit element is his own creation, and one that he’s applied to several other NES themes as well.  It’s a labor of love that Ryan is only too happy to do.

After two months, Ryan finally had his TMNT NES in working order, and he added it to his growing collection of fun classics with a modern twist.  Ryan shows exactly what talent and creativity can accomplish when combined with a brand new medium and a little nostalgia for motivation.  He has certainly earned the right to be called a true TMNT fan, and hopefully he can continue to support his artistic endeavors to create more awesome pieces.  If you would like to see more of Ryan’s creations, and show a little support for his work, then check out his website, here.  Give this honorary turtle his due, and help spread the word about just what he is capable.

The Author

Zach Gasior

Zach Gasior

Zach Gasior is an author and English professor at Baton Rouge Community College in Louisiana. His short stories have been published around the world, and he has two non-fiction books in print. He has contributed articles to several different sites, and has been a fan of the turtles since he was two years old, and his favorite ninja turtle is Raphael.

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