Super Nintendo Classic Edition

Inspired by the official Nintendo NES Classic Edition and the need for a housewarming/birthday gift for a friend, a mini Super Nintendo is born!

Housed in the excellent Mini SNES model created by AndrewBougie (Thingiverse link), the Raspberry Pi 2 at the heart of the system provides enough grunt to emulate a number of systems including the Atari 2600, NES, SNES, Genesis, Turbografx 16, Sega CD, Playstation and a few hand-held systems like the Gameboy, Gameboy Advance and Gamegear.

Here’s a few pictures of the finished product. The shell was printed in two pieces (printing timelapse), finished with Bondo glazing putty, filler primer and cheap spray paint (Rustoleum Sandstone Grey and Gloss Grape for the buttons), then oil washed to fill in the details and add a bit of gloss to the body. A simple red LED was run off the Pi’s 3.3v GPIO pin and some counterweights were added to even out the weight distribution to help it sit nicely on the TV stand.

Getting Started

Getting started on your RetroPie project is pretty easy, once you have the necessary hardware on hand you simply need to obtain the RetroPie OS image, follow the setup guide and transfer your ROMs to the system. See the resources section at the bottom of this article for links to the recommended hardware and the RetroPie website where you’ll find a regularly updated step-by-step basic setup guide.

Following the RetroPie setup guides will get you started, from there you can play as-is or make a few tweaks to really make it shine. Below are some optimizations and fixes I’ve picked up while building my own RetroPie systems:

  1. If you’re installing to a MicroSD card larger than 32Gb, you will need to follow these instructions to force the card to be FAT32 formatted: Large MicroSD FAT32 Formatting
  2. Poor performance, USB devices dropping and a little lightning symbol appears in the upper-right of the screen? Your power supply isn’t providing enough power, see the link in the resources below to buy an adapter that supplies more than enough power for a Pi + USB wireless controller dongles and 802.11 adapters.
  3. When configuring Xbox 360/One controllers use these bindings, then follow the instructions to swap the game picker A & B buttons: Xbox 360/One Binding Recommendations
  4. Playstation DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 controllers can also be used but it’s a little more complicated: DualShock 3 Instructions, DualShock 4 Instructions
  5. The Raspberry Pi 2/3 is a pretty powerful little device, but can still drop frames and lag a bit when running some systems (the 16-bit era and upwards.) I recommend dropping the emulator framework’s resolution down to 720p. It’s hard to notice the difference a few feat away from the TV and the performance gains are well worth it. Instructions to make this change are here: Changing RetroArch’s Resolution
  6. No audio through HDMI? You might be using a TV or monitor that has goofy audio EDID information. Following these steps to fix the boot configuration: Changing your HDMI Drive Options
  7. Black border around the image or it looks like it isn’t scaled to the full width of your screen? Change Your Raspberry Pi’s Overscan Settings
  8. Are your Sega CD games crashing or not playing CD audio? File Setup Tips for Sega CD Games
  9. Do you want to play TurboGrafx CD games? Instructions for Adding TuroGrafx CD to RetroPie
  10. Would you like awesome little box images and synopsis information for your games? Here’s How to Use the Proper Game Scraper


Related Knowledge Base Articles

External Resources

Mini SNES – Raspberry Pi 2/3 Case by AndrewBougie

Raspberry Pi 3 (Pi 2 will also work but is smidge slower, lacks integrated WiFi)
Element14 Pi 3 or Micro Center Pi 3

MicroSD card (I’ve had really good luck with these Samsung Evo cards)
32Gb Samsung Evo or 64Gb Samsung Evo

2.5amp+ MicroUSB Power Adapter (good reviews on this one, long cord)
Keten MicroUSB Charger (Amazon)


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