How to Build Your Own NES or SNES Classic with a Raspberry Pi and RetroPie

How to Build Your Own NES or SNES Classic with a Raspberry Pi and RetroPie

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Are you tired of attempting to obtain a Nintendo NES Classic Edition? Do you want a SNES Classic? Stop wasting your time and make your own with a Raspberry Pi and the RetroPie emulator. This is how you do it.

Building Your Own NES or SNES Classic Edition

While the Nintendo NES Classic Edition and SNES version are more widely available these days, you don’t have to wait for a good offer.

Using a low-cost Raspberry Pi computer, you can create your own Nintendo NES Classic Edition now! For the best results, we recommend a Raspberry Pi 3, while a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ will give you a little more juice (although this might be less stable).

You’ll also require the following items:

  • MicroSD card with 8 GB of storage
  • The consistent power supply
  • Etcher SD card writing software is available at
  • Filezilla is a free FTP client available at
  • HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)
  • USB game controller in the style of Nintendo (s)
  • USB keyboard (optional) (for initial setup)
  • Appropriate case (for that authentic look)

Game controllers, as well as Nintendo and NES-style cases, can be purchased online. Some Amazon sellers include a casing and game controllers with the Raspberry Pi 3.

Make sure your Raspberry Pi is connected to your TV, and the gaming controllers are ready to use before you begin. The power supply should be easily accessible but turned off, and you should have already downloaded the recommended program and prepared the SD card.

Playing NES and SNES Classic Games on Raspberry Pi

Thanks to retro gaming software, it’s simple to install and play classic NES and SNES games on your Raspberry Pi. Do you want to relax while playing Super Mario Bros 2 or The Legend of Zelda? Do you want to take on Donkey Kong Country and finish it?

Yes, you can!

There is, however, a catch. For these games, you’ll need ROMs, which are snapshots of the data from the original cartridges. If you can’t make them yourself (it’s not easy), you’ll have to look for the files online. Similarly, BIOS files are required for the emulators to function.

The Nintendo Entertainment System BIOS files are described in length in the RetroPie wiki: NES BIOS wiki page.

A BIOS file is not required for the SNES.

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide information on where to obtain ROMs. Most games are copyright protected, and therefore you shouldn’t use a ROM file unless you genuinely own a copy of the original game.

You will, however, be able to find what you require using your preferred search engine, but be cautious. Nintendo made it tough for famous retro gaming sites to share their classic games with the public in 2018. As a result, your ROM search may take a while.

(If all of this sounds a little too much for you, don’t worry: we’ve compiled a list of 10 classic games that you can play on the Raspberry Pi without emulation.)

Installing RetroPie on Your Raspberry Pi

You’ll want to play your ROMs once you’ve acquired a few. While various vintage gaming systems on the Raspberry Pi, RetroPie is the best option for Nintendo games.

  • To get started, go to and download the appropriate version for your Raspberry Pi. As previously stated, the Raspberry Pi 3 produces the greatest performance, while older versions will also run Nintendo games.
  • Etcher image writing software is suitable for installing an operating system on your Raspberry Pi. Before continuing, please download and install it from the URL provided above.
  • Insert your Pi’s microSD card into your PC’s card reader after making sure you know where you downloaded RetroPie to.
  • After that, launch Etcher and choose the RetroPie disc image from the Select image menu. Check that your microSD card is shown under Select drive (if it isn’t, click the button and browse to it), then Flash to start writing RetroPie to it. When the process is finished, Etcher will alert you, and you should safely eject the card, insert it into your Raspberry Pi, and power up.

Our guide on installing the Raspberry Pi operating system has more information.

What if you don’t want to format the SD card because you’re using your Raspberry Pi for a specific purpose? You’re in luck: RetroPie can be installed as an app on your Raspberry Pi, allowing you to load your emulation software as needed.

When you first start RetroPie, you’ll be asked to set up your game controller. Follow these steps to ensure that the controller is properly configured so that you can navigate the EmulationStation user interface. This is RetroPie’s “front end,” and it organizes your emulators and ROMs for convenient access.

Turning Your Raspberry Pi Into an NES

You’ll need to copy the ROM and BIOS files you obtained to your Raspberry Pi once RetroPie is installed. The simplest way to achieve this is to use an FTP client that supports SFTP. The best option is FileZilla, but you’ll need to activate SSH on the Raspberry Pi first.

There are a variety of other ways to copy data to a Raspberry Pi.

Navigate to the Configuration menu using your controller (or keyboard) and select raspi-config to enable SSH. Select Interfacing Options > SSH from the Raspberry Pi Configuration screen that appears. After selecting Enable, restart your Raspberry Pi.

Open FileZilla on your PC and select Site Manager after the machine has restarted. Click New Site and fill up your credentials. The IP address of the device (available in the Configuration menu) and the default username and password are required. This is set to pi and raspberry’s default Raspbian username and password.

Browse the contents of your PC (left pane) and your Raspberry Pi (right pane) with the SFTP option chosen (right pane). FTP is straightforward to use: on the left, browse for the files you wish to copy, and on the right, locate the target directory. To begin copying, double-click the files.

Copy the ROM files to the /nes/ directory to run your NES games with RetroPie. Don’t forget to copy the BIOS file into the /bios/ folder as well.

When everything has been copied over, press the Menu > Quit button on your game controller. Wait until you select Restart EmulationStation. Your NES games will be ready to play on your Raspberry Pi in a matter of minutes!

Running SNES Games on Your Raspberry Pi

To use RetroPie to play SNES games, repeat the steps above but copy the SNES files to the /snes/ directory.

Once the files have been moved across, it’s a good idea to reboot. RetroPie will then display a SNES menu with all of your games listed and ready to play!

You Just Built a Raspberry Pi Gaming Console!

The Nintendo NES Classic Edition is hard to come by and somewhat pricey, and it also does not support SNES games.

Meanwhile, the Raspberry Pi is simple to obtain, inexpensive, and capable of playing NES and SNES games. Oh, and you’ll be able to play PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, and even Commodore 64 games, among many more!

Meanwhile, because of the Pi’s modest size, you can utilize it for gaming in various ways, from inserting it inside a game controller to making your arcade system. Even though your Raspberry Pi resembles a miniature Nintendo, you may use it to play almost any gaming.

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I hope you found this information helpful. Please fill out the form below if you have any queries or comments.

User Questions:

  1. Will RetroPie be able to play NES games?

Copy the ROM files to the /nes/ directory to run your NES games with RetroPie. Don’t forget to copy the BIOS file into the /bios/ folder as well. When everything has been copied over, press the Menu > Quit button on your game controller, and wait until you select Restart EmulationStation.

  1. Is Retropie a crime?

The RetroPie software, on the other hand, is legal, and it’s the equivalent of labeling a DVD player illegal because it can play illegally burned DVDs.

  1. Do I require noobs to use RetroPie?

You can acquire retropie by installing Noobs, but you don’t have to. Images from Retropie/hyperpie can be written straight to an SD card. NOOBS is useful when you don’t know what to install and need a menu to choose an operating system.

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  1. Would it be a mistake to buy a SNES classic instead of making a retro-pi?

Would I be a fool to purchase an SNES classic as opposed to building a retro-pi? from RetroPie

  1. I made my own SNES Classic Edition using a RetroPie inside a SNES cartridge.

I made my own SNES Classic Edition using a RetroPie inside a SNES cartridge. from RetroPie