Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé promised that, while the demand for the NES Classic Edition is greater than what the company anticipated, gamers around the world will be able to buy the retro console before Christmas.
With Christmas just a few days away, however, the supply shortage for the NES Classic Edition continues despite retailers releasing units of the retro console in one-day sales. The hype for the device has so far failed to die down, with the reported 196,000 units sold in November surely to be even higher if Nintendo had been able to keep up with demand.
Fortunately, for gamers who have not been able to get their hands on the NES Classic Edition, there is a way to build their own mini NES devices using the Raspberry Pi computer and a few other components.
Do-It-Yourself Mini NES Requirements
The things that gamers will need to acquire to be able to make their own version of the NES Classic Edition are the Raspberry Pi 3 computer, a case for the Raspberry Pi, a power supply, an HDMI cable, a microSD card and a gamepad.
All these components, except for the gamepad, can be purchased as Raspberry Pi starter kits. There are many such bundles sold online such as the CanaKit, which goes for $74.99. For the gamepad, there are many USB controllers in the market as well, with some even emulating the look of NES controllers.
Starter kits come with a case for the Raspberry Pi, but for gamers who would like their mini NES to look like the original NES and the NES Classic Edition, ordering a $39 case from Pitendo is an option. Pitendo also offers a complete bundle with everything that gamers need to set up their own mini NES for $139. However, for those who have access to a 3D printer, there are many blueprints online that they can use to create a Raspberry Pi case that looks like the NES.
Bringing The Mini NES To Life
After acquiring the necessary components, it is time to bring them all together to create the build-your-own NES Classic Edition.
There are several operating systems available for the Raspberry Pi, but the one that the mini NES will use is Retropie, which can be downloaded for free. Retropie should be installed in the microSD card using Win32DiskImager for PC and Apple Pi Baker for Mac, and then the card inserted into the Raspberry Pi.
The Raspberry Pi should then be connected to a TV or monitor through the HDMI cable and to a power supply to turn on the computer, which will automatically boot into Retropie. The first boot will allow users to set up the configuration of their gamepad.
The mini NES will be completely empty at first though, as to play games on it, users will need to transfer ROMs into the Raspberry Pi. The easiest way to do so is through a USB stick, with the first step being connecting it to a PC to create a "retropie" folder. The USB stick should then be inserted into the Raspberry Pi, and once it stops flashing, should be re-inserted into the PC. There will now be a "roms" folder in the "retropie" directory, where gamers will place the ROMS of their favorite NES games.
After downloading ROMs and transferring them to the Raspberry Pi, the do-it-yourself mini NES is complete.
Is It Worth It To Make Your Own Mini NES?
Purchasing the components required to build your own mini NES will cost around $100, and a bit more if you want an NES case to complete the look. This is more than the $60 price tag of the NES Classic Edition, but far cheaper than what the retro console is going for in auction websites such as eBay.
In addition, the mini NES created through RetroPie is actually also capable of playing emulated games from other consoles such as the SNES and the Sega Mega Drive, which actually makes it several retro consoles in one.