Tech

The palm-sized NES clone reproduces classic cartridges using the same chips as the original Nintendo.

Why is it important: NES enthusiasts have several viable options to fix this in 2022, including a brand new console built using the same processor and PPU from the original Nintendo Entertainment System. Best of all, it’s available for pre-order and should be shipping in a few months.

Nintendo’s NES Classic Edition is a robust plug-and-play system that includes a collection of fan-favorite games and authentic gamepads.

Emulation on a modern PC is straightforward enough, but some legality issues can be deterrent, while others will no doubt miss out on physical gaming carts.

Where cartridge reproduction is required, original equipment is still available from third party marketplaces. Prices are going up, though, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find prices at a pawn shop for vintage equipment.

There are also third party options like Analogue Nt, but you’re going to pay an arm and a leg for one on eBay or the like.

TinyNES, short for Tiny Nostalgia Evocation Square, is another alternative. Think of it as the original NES put on a diet. It doesn’t provide nifty features like scaling or HDMI output, doesn’t connect to the internet, doesn’t come preloaded with games, or has internal memory to save game states. All it does is play the original NES games, just like … well, the original NES.

It is built using mostly modern components, with the exception of two key parts: the MOS 6502-based Ricoh RP2A03 processor (central processing unit) and the Ricoh RP2C02 PPU (image processing unit), both of which were featured in the original Nintendo console.

Tall Dog Electronics, which makes TinyNES, also offers a slightly cheaper version of the console that uses cloned chips instead of genuine Ricoh chips. These clones, CPU UMC UA6527 and PPU UMC UA6528, have minor documented differences that most people probably won’t even notice.

Elsewhere you’ll find a top-loading cartridge slot, a power switch, a reset button, two controller slots, a power jack, an RCA mono analog audio output jack, and an NTSC compatible RCA analog video output jack. The body is constructed from fiberglass-reinforced epoxy laminate and is secured with standard hex head screws. It’s about the same size as the NES cart and weighs just 0.78 pounds.

Tall Dog Electronics recently met its funding target for Crowd Supply and systems are still available… With the original chips, one power adapter, one power cable, a set of RCA cables, and one randomly selected cartridge game, the TinyNES will set you back $ 199. Those who are fine with the clone chips can save $ 20 on their purchase, bringing the total cost down to $ 179.

Notably, the TinyNES doesn’t ship with any controllers, so you’ll need to purchase your own or use the ones you already have on hand. It’s compatible with the original NES wired controllers, as well as a host of third-party options like the $ 25 8BitDo N30 wireless controller.

Orders placed now are expected to ship by May 27, 2022.

Image Credit: Victoria Sergeeva




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