Learn how to build a raspberry pi Super Nintendo. Recently, the NES Classic made a big splash. The ability to play all your old favorites on a tiny device! However, it only plays NES games, and can fit upwards of 30 games maximum on it. We would all like the ability for a device like this to play our entire library of roms, including SNES and Sega!
Luckily, if you buy a Raspberry Pi, know a little bit about Linux, and can use Emulators and Roms, you can build a raspberry pi Super Nintendo! That is what I’ve based my project on. Luckily for you, I knew nothing about Raspberry Pi, or linux when I first started this project, so this tutorial will cover the steps from the beginning. So let’s get started!
Part 1 – The Parts
First, we’ll need to start with the parts. This includes both hardware and software. So let’s break it down by section.
- Raspberry Pi
- Tinyendo SNES Case For Raspberry Pi
- Micro SD Card
- Power Supply
- HDMI Cable
- USB or Micro SD Card Adapter
- TV or Monitor
I wanted the latest model and most up-to-date Raspberry Pi, so I went with the Raspberry Pi 3b model. You can get more information on the models available back on our models page. A Raspberry Pi 2 is fine, but the 3b model comes with more ports to connect to and on-board WiFi! You have the option of buying all the parts separately, as this tutorial will list, or buying them in a kit. I chose to purchase them in a kit and buying a separate 64GB micro SD card.
In the photo above, the Raspberry Pi 3b was part of the CanaKit Raspberry Pi 3 Complete Starter Kit – 32 GB Edition. I discuss this product more in depth here. I also decided that 32 GB just wasn’t enough for me, so I opted in for a separate 64 GB micro SD card, which I will discuss soon.
Even though the Raspberry Pi Kit comes with a case, we want to make this project look awesome. There are even cases that are sold that look exactly like miniature Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems! This TinyTendo is what we are going to go with for this project.
This will give the gift / project the aesthetic to seem more real. I have built a couple Raspberry Pi’s now, and the SNES case is by far my favorite. It even comes with a tiny fan that you can wire in to vent excess heat. For more information, please check out our review on the TinyTendo SNES case.
It is recommended to get a minimum of 8GB, this will be the ‘hard drive’ of the Raspberry Pi. We want to have plenty of space for plenty of roms! It might have been overkill, but I went for the 64 GB SanDisk Micro SD Card. The CanaKit comes with a 32 GB card, but I am over cautious and like my space, so I went with the larger one. Will 32 GB be enough? Yes, but I plan on adding Nintendo 64 Roms eventually, and even more later on and so on..
The CanaKit also comes with Noobs pre-installed on the Micro SD card, which is essentially an easy OS (operating system) installer, which installs Raspbian. Raspbian will be one of the first OS we download onto this Raspberry Pi, but we will get to that later. Due to the easiness of the preinstalled Noobs, I chose the Canakit. However if you are buying all the parts separate, you can download a copy of it here.
4) Power Supply
A Power Adapter is essential. This specific one is 2.5A 5V, which will work on all Raspberry Pi’s. This power supply comes with an on-off switch. Be aware, it is not recommended to disconnect or turn power off for Raspberry Pi during use, as it may corrupt the data on the SD card. This one works just fine for the job it needs to do.
If you find an Android charger around the house, those will work also. They are pretty much AC adapters, and if it fits, it works. Although the power button on the above adapter is recommended.
5) HDMI Cable
For this project, we will use an HDMI cable to connect our Raspberry Pi to a monitor or TV. I have a 60″ TV that I want to use for a serious binge of SNES. I chose this 6 ft. HDMI Cable that also supports 4K and 3D audio. Who knows, I might also use the same cable to connect to my PS4 if I ever get a 4K TV! The price of this is a little more expensive than other cables, but I wanted to upgrade.
Just in case you decide to go with the CanaKit, the case does come with an HDMI cable, just not as awesome ;).
A very important aspect to this project, especially if you plan on playing video games! The two options to choose from are the wired and wireless controllers. The wired controllers give it a more natural and realistic vibe, so if you plan on giving it as a gift, go with the wired controllers. I grabbed the wired controllers, but now that I look at them, the wireless ones look amazing.
We need a USB or Micro SD Card Adapter for the ability to easily transfer and backup our Raspberry Pi software. I have the software ‘Noobs’ as stated before, which is a great way for beginners to load Raspbian on their Raspberry Pi. Basically the CanaKit above comes with a preloaded Micro SD Card, and a USB drive containing NOOBS. If you opted for the CanaKit, you can skip this section. If you have your own USB device, you can use that for this purpose.
8) TV or Computer Monitor for playback/setting up software
9) Computer to transfer ROMs and to install the Raspberry Pi Software
Again, you can buy this stuff separately to build a Raspberry Pi Super Nintendo, but Amazon does sell a kit from Raspberry Pi hobby shop called CanaKit for about $75 that includes everything you need except for the game pad.