It looks like the NES Classic is sold out every where, and there are scalpers on eBay trying to bilk old fans out of their hard-earned coins. Now, I don’t want to get an NES Classic on account of owning a couple of the featured games, as well as owning them on the Virtual Console. But since the lack of want doesn’t stop me from tinkering, I made my own.
It’s quite easy to make a tiny device which can emulate and play NES games; it’s already been a reality for a long time. In my case, I took a Raspberry Pi 3, got the official Raspberry Pi touchscreen, a case to contain these parts, an old SD card with an install of RetroPie on it, and a Classic USB NES controller. And just for shits and giggles, I also hooked up the whole thing to a 20Ah battery so that I can play it on the go.
This was a fun little project, but it does have its setbacks. The Raspberry Pi, along with the other attachments, draws a good amount of current, and so has a problem with voltage (that’s the reason it has two USB connectors). Also, if you want good sound, you’ll have to use a different sound output; the on-board audio jack is terrible. Then there’s the price: this little beauty set me back around $200. So while the NES Classic will set you back $60, at least that’s an official machine, and has a few bells and whistles. Still, this device is easily configurable, and I can add as many games as I want. So it not just plays NES games, but also SNES games.