Tired of trying to get your hands on the Nintendo NES Classic Edition? Pray for SNES Classic? Stop wasting time and build your own using the Raspberry Pi and the RetroPie emulation package. Here’s how to do it.
Create your own NES or SNES Classic Edition
While the Nintendo NES Classic Edition and the SNES variant may arrive easier these days, you don’t have to wait for the right deal.
You can build your own Nintendo NES Classic Edition today using an inexpensive Raspberry Pi computer! We recommend the Raspberry Pi 3 for best results, although you can squeeze some more juice using the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ (although this may be less stable).
You will also need:
- 8 GB microSD card
- Reliable power supply
- Etcher SD card for writing software from etcher.io
- Filezilla FTP client software from filezilla-project.org
- HDMI cable
- Nintendo style USB game controllers
- Optional USB keyboard (for initial setup)
- Suitable occasion (for this authentic look)
Matching game controllers can be bought online, as can Nintendo and NES-style cases. Some Amazon sellers bundle the Raspberry Pi 3 with a matching case and game controllers.
Before you begin, make sure your Raspberry Pi is connected to your TV and your game controllers are ready to use. The power supply must be within easy reach, but switched off. You should have downloaded the suggested software and had an SD card handy.
Playing classic NES and SNES games on Raspberry Pi
Retro gaming software makes it easy to install and play classic NES and SNES games on your Raspberry Pi. Dreaming of playing back with Super Mario Bros 2 or The Legend of Zelda? Want to tackle Donkey Kong Country and finally complete it?
However, there is one caveat. For these games you will need ROMs, snapshots of data from the original cartridges. If you can’t do it yourself (it’s not easy), you will need to find the files online. Similarly, you will also need the BIOS files that allow you to run emulators.
Detailed information on Nintendo Entertainment System BIOS files can be found on the RetroPie:NES BIOS wiki.
Note that the SNES does not require a BIOS file.
Unfortunately, we cannot tell you where to find the ROM. Most games are copyrighted; in fact, unless you own a copy of the original game, you shouldn’t be using the ROM file.
However, you will find what you need using your favorite search engine, but be careful. In 2018, Nintendo stopped popular retro gaming sites from sharing their classic games. Therefore, searching the ROM may take some time.
(If this all sounds a bit disappointing and you still want to play retro, don’t worry. We’ve listed 10 classic games you can play on your Raspberry Pi without emulation.)
Installing RetroPie on Your Raspberry Pi
To install this you need to go to retropie.org.uk and download the correct version for your Raspberry Pi. As noted, the best results can be achieved with a Raspberry Pi 3, although older versions will also work with Nintendo games.