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How to make your own NES Classic Mini using Raspberry Pi

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Nintendo has discontinued its massively popular NES Classic Mini console just months after launch, with every indication that the tiny, non-upgradeable, 50-game console was only ever supposed to lead a brief, shining existence as a festive special edition.

However, just because Nintendo’s own Linux-based emulator console is off the market doesn’t mean you have to give up hope of getting your 1980s 8-bit kicks.

Our Raspberry Pi 3 project comes in at a similar cost of around £50, depending on your choice of case and controllers, can give you far more than 50 games to play and isn’t hobbled by the oddly short controllers that came with Nintendo’s mini console.

Hardware kit list

  • A microSD card (minimum recommended 2GB)
  • Card reader for your PC
  • USB stick
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
  • Micro USB cable and power supply (e.g. a phone charger)
  • HDMI cable
  • A USB gamepad
  • A case

Required software

  • RetroPie operating system image
  • 7-Zip
  • Win32DiskImager (Windows)

The recommended hardware requirements for this project are a Rasberry Pi, video and power cables to connect it, a microSD card and an adaptor to plug it into your PC, a USB stick and at least one USB game controller (a keyboard will do in a pinch). We strongly recommend using a case – the one we used costs £6 from Amazon and takes less than five minutes to assemble.

You may want a second controller for the ideal NES living room experience, and we also recommend having a wireless or wired USB keyboard to hand in case you want to carry out advanced configuration, such as enabling wireless internet connectivity.

For a more authentic NES feel, you can 3D print a free case design or buy a ready-made one, and get a couple of NES-style USB controllers, which not only look more authentic but cost a lot less than the Xbox joypads we had lying around.

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