The NES Classic is impossible to find in retail stores these days, probably because the $60 box of nostalgia is so much fun. But inside the retro shell, the NES Classic is far from a gamechanging piece of technology.
So, as Ars Technica‘s Andrew Cunnigham explains in a detailed how-to, you can make your own at home with a Raspberry Pi, some basic computing skills, one spare evening, and some beer.
The system is relatively straightforward: get yourself a Raspberry Pi and some retro gaming controllers, load up some free emulator software, “acquire” the ROMs for the old games of your choice, and put it all together.
Cunningham’s build comes to around $100, although assuming you already have stuff like an SD card and maybe some Playstation controllers, you could put it together for a lot less.
A DIY build has a few advantages over the NES Classic as well: you’re not limited to the 30 games Nintendo loads onto the Classic, and you’re not even limited to Nintendo games or games at all. The Raspberry Pi is a ridiculously useful micro-computer that you can co-opt to make all kinds of things, from smart-home controllers to a home media center, or stuff far, far weirder.
It’s also a lot cheaper than trying to buy all the original Nintendo parts to make a NES Classic yourself, or buying one on eBay for that matter.
You might think that sitting down and building your own NES Classic from bits on the internet sounds like a lot of hassle to play Super Mario, but consider this: some people have been camping outside Target all night to maybe have the chance to possibly buy a NES Classic. You’re going to build one with unlimited games and possibilities for less, and the UPS guy will deliver it to your door, some assembly required.