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Raspberry Pi Mini NES is Better than the Real Thing

Raspberry Pi Mini NES

Can’t wait for the NES Classic Edition to hit stores? One enterprising chap 3D printed his very own Raspberry Pi Mini NES Classic Console.

For gamers of a certain age, the new NES Classic Edition from Nintendo is an atomic bomb of nostalgia. It’s so small! And cute! With a pre-loaded library of classic games!

But it’s far from perfect. The software is non-expandable, for starters, so you can’t have more than 30 (admittedly classic) games. And the flip-top lid for the cartridge slot doesn’t open. Even the connectors for the controllers are proprietary, so you can’t add your own.

These kinds of limitations give one pause, regardless of the affection we have for the iconic hardware and software.

But thankfully, there is an alternative! A talented maker by the name of “Daftmike” has crafted a Raspberry Pi Mini NES classic console, complete with 3D printed case, joypads, and game cartridges.

“It was inevitable. I have a Raspberry Pi, I have a 3D printer, I’m a huge nerd. At some point I was going to print a case for it in the shape of the old Nintendo Entertainment System,” he explains in a blog post.

See how it was made and how it works in the video below:

NFC Game Cartridges in Raspberry Pi Mini NES

What really stands out about the Raspberry Pi Mini NES is the loving attention to detail.

For one thing, Daftmike dug his original NES out of mothballs to measure the case and recreate the precise dimensions at 40% scale in Autodesk123D.

When it came to 3D printing the components, he sourced the filament from Faberdashery to precisely match the color scheme of greys, blacks and whites.

But the icing on the cake is how he employed NFC technology for the game cartridges. How do they work? They tell the emulator software on the Raspberry Pi which pre-loaded game to run. The cartridges effectively use the same technique that the amiibo system uses to interface with Wii U and 3DS consoles.

A completely unnecessary flourish, perhaps, but to the end user it looks and feels exactly like an original NES, right down to pushing the cartridge bay down and hearing the latch click.

Ironically, Daftmike had begun his project several weeks before Nintendo announced the NES Classic Edition. Read his blog for the complete journey, all the way from inspiration and inception, to details about the specific switches he used for the “Power” and “Reset” button.

It’s wonderful stuff if you’re interested in Raspberry Pi and 3D printing, and — yes — a complete nerd.

Raspberry Pi Mini NES