No NES Classic? No Problem. Lets try the RetroPie!

The NES Classic is still scarce in the wild. RetroPie fixes that problem and so much more.

So you’ve been looking for an NES Classic Edition since November 11. You might be in luck. Although available for a very long time, the Raspberry Pi is a very widely available micro-computer that allows for the installation of RetroPie.

RetroPie is a powerful multi-console.

The RetroPie system runs on EmulationStation and allows you to install (almost) out of the box roms from almost any console. My current setup includes roms from Atari 2600, NES, SNES, N64 GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, Sega Master System, Sega GameGear, Genesis and PS1. With the ability to upload additional roms for almost anything I see fit. With close to perfect compatibility thus far. Save for some N64 Roms. It also allows for the installation of Kodi, a streaming video service. So you’ll never be without entertainment. The Raspberry Pi is extremely small, smaller than the NES classic with a low power draw. I’ve been able to run it using just my TV’s USB port and HDMI cable. Kind of amazing really.

Raspberry Pi setup is simple.

Damn near drag and drop really. The Raspberry Pi only requires the image of RetroPie to become this amazing piece of kit. You’ll need an SD card. My Kit came with one with N00BS pre-installed, a quick format and the installation of the RetroPie image and away I went. Installing Roms was simple as well. Drag and drop from FTP or wirelessly, or via a USB device. The only real hassle came in removing duplicates or hacked roms. Who needs those?

The GUI can be customized.

The consoles you can play don’t show up until you install roms to the respective folders. So at first, you might think your install didn’t actually work. It did, if you see EmulationStation on screen you’re good to go. Once you install the roms the image of the hardware appears on screen along with its name. I’m currently using the “Pixel META” theme, Showing 16 bit sprites of each system or its logo in place. Clicking into each one will reveal the roms. The default theme is quite nice as well. If you’d like to see the box art to your games, you need to “scrape” for the roms hash files or upload them manually via FTP. Simple process. The downside however is that the built in scraper is quite slow, so you could be waiting upwards of all night or all day to see the box art you want for each game on each system. It wont scrape translated or hacked roms either. So I remove them for the sake of cleanliness. For a faster scraping experience, try SSelph’s scraper.

For less than the cost of the NES Classic Edition, all of this can be yours.

It is a tad bit time consuming trying to figure it all out. But its a fun project and is fairly straight forward. You can also get yourself used to the command line at the same time and become a linux wizard. Or just use the system straight of the box. Its up to you in the end. There are some other great things you can do with a Raspberry Pi, set it to turn off and on lights or turn it into a tablet. Your options are almost endless. Bluetooth controllers work great or you can simply use a mouse and keyboard. A keyboard is almost a necessity anyway. If your pining for an NES Classic Edition and just cant wait. And have a few hours to spare. Grab one of these kits. You wont be disappointed.


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Living in St.John's Newfoundland, Dave has been a gamer all of his life. Starting with the NES and working both backwards and forwards, he intends to play the new along with the old!