Someone Has Made a Mini NES That Plays Tiny Cartridges

By Julian Benson on at

Earlier this month Nintendo announced the Mini NES Classic, a re-release of the old console preloaded with 30 classic games. It's a wonderful looking device, largely because it's adorably dinky. One of the disappointments of the machine, however, is that it is only able to play those 30 games. It can't connect to the internet download new games, nor does its cartridge slot open to let you play games off cartridges.

Enter Daft Mike:

Using a Raspberry Pi computer, a 3D printer, and technical wizardry. Mike has built a fully functioning micro NES and a set of mini games cartridges loaded with classic games. It even has a pair of shrunk down controllers.

Here's what the thing looks like on the inside:

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Down in the bottom left, the orange connector is the power light and it's next to the Power and Reset buttons. At the top of the image you can see the HDMI, power, and audio sockets.

Here's a few of the mini cartridges against their grown up versions:

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Mike even has his mini NES able to play games from other Nintendo systems, thanks to the emulators loaded on to the Raspberry Pi. For instance, it is able run versions of Pokémon Red and Blue.

Mike's mini NES doesn't actually play games off the cartridges, there isn't any data stored on them. What he's done is really nifty: there's an NFC tag on the case. When he inserts the game cartridge into the console, if the mini NES can read the NFC tag, and recognise that it refers to a game that's already stored in the Raspberry Pi's memory then it boots up the game.

You can see a more detailed development diary in this gallery and a much more in depth breakdown over on Mike's blog.