Gamers, especially the old fashioned ones and those who love a bit of nostalgia, would almost definitely want to play some classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games should the devices permit. After all, if anyone still had an old NES console, it may not even work. However, what if there was a way?
Creating Your Own NES
This can be perhaps a throwback to your geeky afternoons tinkering with your own gadgets. However, yes, this is actually extremely possible. All you need are a few things to get you started with your dream to create a new NES or SNES system for you and your games.
This is thanks to the powerful technology of Raspberry Pi, a miniature computer, and some code courtesy of the RetroPie project. It also has its own tutorials, alongside code, to help turn the Raspberry Pi and transform it into your own system.
What Do You Need
You of course have to buy yourself the right gear to get yourself in the job right. You’re going to need a Raspberry Pi, which you can purchase in stores such as the Adafruit and Pi Hut for rather cheap prices.
- These devices cost around $34 to $44.
If you already have the Pi, it’s efficient if you get the dedicated gaming version of the Raspberry Pi as it has the RetroPie software in it on top Raspbian, the Pi’s original operating system.
This tutorial needs the Raspberry Pi 3, or the newest model to be released. You also need the following:
- You may also need a Micro SD card that has at least 8GB of memory.
- You will also need a keyboard to easily set up the system.
- You may also need a flash drive to copy your games from your computer.
- If this is your very first Pi, you better buy your kit too. This is the only way you can get a Pi with a case.
On the Case
If you want to get your own case, you can buy generic ones offline. If you have a 3D printer, you can also design and print your own case if you want.
- According to Tech Radar, twanksys from Thingiverse and All3DP has more than enough cool cases templates you can do yourself.
- However, be sure to setup the Retropie properly first before you put the device inside the case.
Make sure the case you get also has enough room to make it easier for you to remove the SD card every now and then.
Installing Retropie should be your next step in the process. You can download the primary files in the main Retropie website.
- The file you’d be downloading will most likely have the extension .gz, which means you have to decompress it using 7zip or WinZip or WinRAR.
- You have to decompress the file into an .img format, and then you have to install it inside the MicroSD card you have.
- Windows can do this using the Win32 Disk Manager, and Raspberry Pi has a tutorial for that as well.
- Mac users, meanwhile, can use the Apple Pi Baker to get the image installed instead.
Afterwards, get your cables and the controllers and connect it to your Raspberry Pi.
Getting It Set Up
When you open the RetroPie, you will see a configuration screen of sorts. This is explanatory for gamers, as this simply just needs them to “map” their options for controls.
- When the emulator loads, however, you may be disappointed that it’s blank. This is because, for copyright reasons, there are no games with the RetroPie.
Unfortunately, games are obtained through ROMS. Basically, they are files that contain a digital copy of the data inside the game cartridge. In this case, these are gams inside the NES and SNES.
RetroPie lists a lot of ways to transfer your ROMS to the Raspberry Pi, the easiest of which is via a flash drive, which luckily you may have right now.
- Connect the disk first into the computer and create a RetroPie folder. Afterwards, eject it safely and place it on one of the ports of the Pi. The light in the Pi should stop flashing.
- Remove the stick then, and go back to the ‘retropie’ folder inside the stick. There should be a ‘roms’ folder inside, and this is where you should place the games.
- There’s a number of folders inside, where you place the NES ROMS in the ‘nes,’ and, likewise, the SNES ROMS in the ‘snes’ folder.
When you safely eject this and plug it in your Raspberry Pi, you should finally be able to see a screen that allows you to choose the game you want to play. Hooray!
This wouldn’t make your games magically work again, but it does have its charms. It’s the closest you could get to make Nintendo Classic games work without having to buy to classic console and hope it, or your cartridges, works.