RetroArch Game Emulator Can Now Run on Nintendo NES Classic Mini and Famicom Mini

Nintendo NES Classic Mini is a smaller replica of Nintendo NES with an HDMI output, and powered by an Allwinner R16 SoC. Nintendo has released a model with the same or similar hardware, but a different case for the Japanese market called Famicom Mini. Those two consoles are pre-loaded with about 30 games, and in theory you can’t add any more games. But as everything with an Allwinner processor, it can be hacked to match your needs, and people have already managed to add games using the micro USB connection and Hakchi2 script. What’s new is that you can now run RetroArch on the consoles, and probably on other Allwinner R16 platform such as the upcoming Banana Pi BPI-M2 Magic board, provided it’s connected to an LCD display.

Nintendo NES Classic Edition (Left) and Famicom Mini (Right)

To achieve that, first you’ll need to install the latest Hakchi 2.12 tool with the procedure, clearly explained (with an older version) on this YouTube video, involving getting a micro USB to USB cable connected between your game console and your computer.

Once this is done, you can go to the next step with the installation of RetroArch mod for hakchi, based on LibreRetro work, and that comes with the following cores:

  • fceumm (NES, many mappers, UNIF support)
  • nestopia (NES, FDS)
  • snes9x2010 (SNES)
  • gambatte_libretro (GB, GBC)
  • mednafen_gba (GBA)
  • genesis_plus_gx (SMS/Genesis/MD)
  • mupen64plus (N64)

Watch the video below, if you want to check out how it performs on NES Mini Classic Edition console before trying it on your own device.

Thanks to Harley for the tip.

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16 Replies to “RetroArch Game Emulator Can Now Run on Nintendo NES Classic Mini and Famicom Mini”

  1. @cnxsoft:
    Nintendo’s gadgets both use EPMI EP952 I2S audio and RGB video to HDMI converter since R16/A33 has no HDMI output. Some speculations why can also be found in your blog:

    Allwinner added support for this converter chip in their BSP kernel and I doubt anyone inexperienced will get this running with the Banana board: MIPI-DSI there and not RGB LCD, no idea about audio though since BPi folks as usual don’t release schematics (timely).

    But why bother? Everything needed for cheap retro gaming is an inexpensive H3 SBC and free RetrOrangePi gaming distro. Though it’s also possible to spend huge amounts of money on the same attempt:

  2. Wish that we could just by good clones of the NES Classic Mini chassi as a case for Raspberry Pi 3 and similar embedded boards like Odroid-C2.

    Have anyone found anywhere you can by copies of the NES Classic Mini chassi as a case for Raspberry Pi 3?

    I had a NES growing up and get really nostalgic about the look of the NES Mini, but NES Mini can not be bought in Europe any longer for the release price.

    In any case I don’t really need or want the embedded computer board from the NES Mini as it have limited disk space and no networking. I would just love to be able to buy a not too expensive finished copy the NES Classic Mini chassi as a case for Raspberry Pi.

    I know that you can 3D print a case but that is not the same and too much work to get as good looking as the NES Mini.

  3. @tkaiser
    Yeah. I never said it would be easy, but it should be feasible. There’s a 2-pin “SPK” header on BPI-M2 Magic, so I guess with battery, LCD and speaker, one could make a portable game console from it.

    It’d be really cool to get Nintendo NES Classic Mini cases for Raspberry Pi, ODROID, or Orange Pi boards, but Nintendo would not be too happy about it.

  4. Lakka runs also on the H3 boards and even runs on various S805 and S802 based mini-pc’s. I have it running on my OPI-one and M8S. I already played Zelda OOT and Majora’s Mask with Mupen64plus core and they run great even on the H3.

  5. @theguyuk
    Sorry but none of the 3D-printed models looks any good. And to get them to look good you would have to spend a lot of time (and skill) to sand and paint all the parts individiually.

    I would just like to buy a finished professionally made injection mouled case, just like most existing Raspberry Pi cases out there today.

  6. @cnxsoft
    Well the case for Raspberry Pi would not have to be an exact clone of the NES Classic Mini, but instead more a scaled miniature replica of the original NES console. chassi.

    The original NES was released in 1983 for the USA and in 1986 in Europe, which means that its design is now over 30-years old.

    Industrial design right for visual design in Europe is only 25-years and only 15-years in the USA, which means that Nintendo could not any longer sue anyone for making and selling a replicate of the original NES console. Their patents for the design have run out.

  7. @Harley
    Well a quick internet search shows 3D printed cases can be made or bought made at various places. You can buy American or European style case and someone already sells a RPI Zero Case.

    You sound like you are seeking a mass production supply?


    For others wanting their own

    Daftmike’s blog tells you how to make your own Rpi Nes.

    Seeking Pi Zero case? See below.

  8. @theguyuk
    Correct, I do not want to buy a 3D-printed case. I would like to buy a finished high-quality case from mass production supply that uses professional injection molding manufacturing.

    Just as you can buy cheap replica NES and SNES game controllers from china that looks like the original. Qualitywise they look like the origial, even if the buttons do not feel the same. Only I don’t want to buy a NES game controller, as I instead want to buy a replica or clone of the NES Classic Mini case.

    No more links to 3D-printed cases please.

  9. @cnxsoft
    The case from DX is different, it has 2 usb ports on the front and the hdmi connector on the back. It’s a little bigger I think, but it seems better if you want to use a odroid C1 or C2 for example in stead of a rpi. It’s also a lot cheaper.

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