Smallest NES Contender Built Using Orange Pi Zero2

Orange Pi
(Image credit: Print 'N Play)

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is one of Nintendo’s most memorable consoles. It was favored so much that it received a second release in a much smaller form factor called the NES Classic. But if that isn’t small enough, you may want to check out this project, created by a developer known as Print ‘N Play over at YouTube. Print N’ Play has taken the NES and miniaturized it further in a project he dubs the NES Micro.

Print ‘N Play has a history of creating fun Raspberry Pi projects and, as the channel name suggests, usually has a strong focus on 3D printing. To get an idea of what he’s been up to, we previously covered his Raspberry Pi-powered bartop arcade and Pico-driven Space Invaders replica. However, this retro gaming mini console is built using an Orange Pi Zero2.

To create the NES Micro, Print ‘N Play designed and 3D-printed a custom case from scratch that looks almost exactly like the original console, including a miniature NES controller. Only a few changes were made to accommodate the board inside and make adjustments for port access. Of course, the retro system wouldn’t be complete without a proper display, which is a miniature 3D-printed TV with a wood grain finish.

The housing is shaped like an NES but features two USB ports on the front that can be used for connecting controllers, an HDMI port is accessible on the back. The cartridge slot swivels open to provide access to the micro USB port and in a notable finishing touch, the microSD card can be stored inside of a tiny NES game dust sleeve.

Orange Pi

(Image credit: Print 'N Play)

An Orange Pi Zero2 is mounted inside, but this project could easily be adapted for another board like the Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W. It’s used to emulate the NES system and store ROMs locally. A 30mm fan was also included to help cool the operation. The TV features a 5in LCD screen for video output which requires the pixels to be scaled up so games are playable.

Check out the original video shared to YouTube by Print ‘N Play to get an up-close look at this project in action. It shows off the final product and includes an inside look at how the NES Micro goes together. Be sure to follow Print ‘N Play for more microelectronics and Raspberry Pi projects, as well as any future updates the NES Micro design.

Ash Hill
Contributing Writer

Ash Hill is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.

  • hotaru.hino
    Granted it wouldn't really be affordable for small time production, but I always wondered what would it look like if we could make say an NES-on-a-chip or whatnot. I can't imagine the NES having more than say 100K transistors for the entire system. And given we can stuff billions of them on the footprint of a pinky even at 16nm...

    Heck you could probably power the entire thing with a potato. Or at least a coin cell battery.