NESPi: the DIY mini NES

Why wait for the NES Classic Edition by Nintendo to have that old 8-bit console replica in your living room?

Daft Mike is an electronics geek and loves retro games. He wasn’t going to sit around for the release of the official mini NES on November 11! Oh no… He has a 3D printer, a Raspberry Pi 2, the will, and the skills. He wanted to make his own and nothing was going to stop him.

Sure! There are endless 3D models available to download. But that wasn’t enough. He wanted it to be a perfect replica, to scale, with the original north-american design by Lance Barr.

So, he did. Behold, the NESPi.

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At first sight, it’s simply a NES and its controllers at 40% of their original scales. But look closely and you’ll notice the nice touches Mike added to make the experience more authentic. One of them, notably, is the cartridges.

The cartridges for the NESPi also look like their normal-size counterparts. Each of them are made to look like the original game, label, colour, and all. The interesting part is what they have inside: an NFC chip. It contains the name of the game file stored on the SD card inserted underneath the NESPi. Once the cartridge is inserted and the Power button is pushed, a program Mike wrote will read the datum in the NFC chip and load the game ROM if found on the SD card. With the amount of games an SD card can hold, the library of titles can be far more varied than the one offered with the NES Classic Edition.

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Actually, since it’s just a file name, you can also load any ROM of any platform supported by EmulationStation, the emulator manager used on the Raspberry Pi. He showed an example with the Pokemon cartridges he made to look like if those Game Boy games were initially released for the NES.

Everything feels authentic, albeit small, especially the controller. Maybe that should have stayed at scale. And let’s hope Nintendo doesn’t react to this with a cease-and-desist.

After his detailed blog article and his first video about the NESPi (shown above), Mike has released two videos with updates already. He’s also currently releasing the blueprints for his mini console while he teased his new project to miniaturise the Japanese Super Famicom.

Photos from blog by Daft Mike.

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