How to make a NES Classic counterpart with a Raspberry Pi – Gary explains

Nintendo® launched a NES Classic Edition towards a finish of 2016 and afterwards abruptly withdrew it reduction than 6 months later. The NES Classic Edition was a tiny reproduction of a strange Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) video diversion console. It came with a library of 30 built-in games and used software to obey a strange console. The emulator ran on an Allwinner R16, that is a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 formed processor.

It is estimated the Nintendo® sole over 2 million Classic Edition units and a direct remained high, even when Nintendo® pulled a plug. In fact, in some weird way, a success was one of a reasons that it was private from sale.

So if a NES Classic Edition left we with a enterprise to play some selected games from a 1980s, though we didn’t conduct to get your hands on one, afterwards fear not, here is my beam on how we can make your possess NES Classic Edition counterpart regulating a Raspberry Pi.

What we will need

At a unequivocally smallest we will need a Raspberry Pi and a USB diversion controller. Any Raspberry Pi will do, including a Raspberry Pi Zero W, however for a best formula we should use possibly a Raspberry Pi 2 or a Raspberry Pi 3.

If we wish a full NES Classic Edition demeanour and feel afterwards make certain your USB diversion controller looks identical to a NES controller and we competence wish to get a NINTENDO® desirous box for your Pi. we systematic my box from eBay from a seller who specializes in 3D printed cases.

You will also need a microSD label and a PC (with Windows, macOS or Linux) to write a handling complement image. If we are going to use NOOBS (with Lakka or recalbox) then for a initial setup we will need a keyboard and mouse.



The Raspberry Pi is means to run several opposite handling systems however a default OS is called Raspbian, a specialized Linux placement for a Pi. While it is probable to setup NES simulation underneath Raspbian, a some-more user accessible proceed is to use a dedicated retro simulation placement like RetroPie. Based on projects like EmulationStation  and Retro Arch, we can use RetroPie though a keyboard or rodent instead relying on your diversion controller.

To implement Retropie we need to download a picture record from a downloads page and write it onto a microSD card. Note that there are dual downloads, one for a Raspberry Pi Zero and strange Raspberry Pi and one for a Raspberry Pi 2 and 3. To write a picture to a microSD label afterwards use There are versions of Etcher for Windows, OS X and Linux.

If we have finished this kind of thing before with your Raspberry Pi afterwards removing RetroPie adult and regulating shouldn’t be a problem. However if we are struggling afterwards RetroPie has a extensive installation guide or we could burst to a NOOBS territory below.

Note that a RetroPie picture is compressed, however if we are regulating Etcher afterwards we don’t need to uncompress it, a program handles a decompression for you!

Once a picture has been created to a microSD can, insert it into your Raspberry Pi, check that we have your diversion controller connected, and energy on.

After a complement has booted we will need to configure your controller. This step is unequivocally true brazen usually press a symbol on a controller that corresponds to a object in a menu. If we controller doesn’t have a symbol requested, usually prolonged press on any symbol on a controller to leave it uncertain and to pierce on to a subsequent button.

Now your NES Classic Edition counterpart is adult and running, though sadly we don’t have any games. If we are in possession of some .nes ROM record afterwards a easiest proceed to use them is to copy them onto a FAT32 formatted USB peep drive.

On a peep expostulate emanate a folder called retropie and inside that folder emanate another folder called roms. Finally in the roms folder emanate a folder called nes. Copy all of your NES games into the nes folder.

Plug a USB expostulate into your Raspberry Pi and restart EmulationStation. To perform a latter we need to press Start and afterwards pierce down to a QUIT menu. From there name RESTART EMULATIONSTATION.

Now a categorical shade will uncover that the Nintendo Entertainment System choice is activated and how many games are available. To start regulating a NES emulator usually daub “A” on your controller.


RetroPie isn’t a usually resolution for branch your Raspberry Pi into a NES Classic Edition clone. As Yoda would say, “there is another.” In fact there are during slightest dual others. we am articulate about Lakka and recalboxOS. While both are accessible as standalone installs from their particular websites, they are also accessible as partial of a Raspberry Pi’s NOOBS (New Out Of a Box Software) system.

Installing an OS around NOOBS is unequivocally simple. Download NOOBS LITE from a Raspberry Pi downloads page and unzip it into a folder. Make certain your microSD label is formatted regulating FAT32 (check out the SD Card Formatter for help) and afterwards duplicate a essence of a NOOBS LITE folder onto a card. Stick a label into your Raspberry Pi, bond  a mouse, and energy on.

Your Pi needs to be connected to a network, possibly connected or wireless (depending on your Pi model) so a installer can download a OSes. Tick Lakka and recalboxOS from a list of accessible handling systems. If we wish to use your Raspberry Pi for other activities, and we have a large adequate microSD card, afterwards we should also parasite Raspbian. Click Install to start a installation.

When a implement is finish and a Pi restarted, we will get a foot menu that allows we to collect that OS to boot. It is also value observant that if we implement both emulators we will need a keyboard connected to that we can collect one from a foot menu!


While Lakka is a central Linux placement of RetroArch and a libretro ecosystem, altogether it isn’t as easy to use as RetroPie. Finding a games from an outmost USB hang isn’t candid and we found that we indispensable a keyboard trustworthy so that we could ESC out of a stream diversion and lapse to a menu.

Having pronounced that, a games themselves play unequivocally good and we theory if we invested some time into training a user interface afterwards it could be a good solution.


recalbox includes a far-reaching preference of consoles and diversion emulators including a NES, a MEGADRIVE and even some 32-bit platforms, such as a Playstation. Like RetroPie it uses EmulationStation, so many of a user interface aspects are a same. However distinct RetroPie we found that we still indispensable to keep a keyboard trustworthy to get out of a games and lapse to a emulator menu.


Overall a peculiarity of a simulation for a NES is glorious and unequivocally a choice comes down to that emulator we wish to use and that Linux distribution. Although we unequivocally wanted to like Lakka and recalbox since they come as partial of NOOBS, altogether we found a RetroPie to be most better, especially since we didn’t need anything else connected to my Raspberry Pi other than a diversion controller.

Disclaimer: “Nintendo” is a purebred heading of Nintendo of America Inc. Android Authority does not acquit a use of bootleg ROMs or diversion piracy. If in doubt, find authorised advice.

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