TinyTendo Fits NES Hardware Inside Game Boy-Sized Shell

(Image credit: Redherring32)

It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of retro gaming here at Tom’s Hardware. But while most of the retro gaming projects we cover are in the form of Raspberry Pi emulators or running Doom on things that shouldn’t be running Doom, today’s project takes everything we’ve seen about retro gaming in the modern era and flips it on its head. Meet TinyTendo—the pocket-sized NES experience created by a maker known as Redherring32 that uses actual NES hardware. No emulation is used in this project at all.

If you’re wondering how Redherring32 managed to cram an NES inside such a small form factor, we’re clear that no shrink ray was used in the development of this project. Rather, Redherring32 carefully cut original NES hardware and ground the edges until the components fit inside the shell. The final product weighs in around 10 oz, uses 4 AA batteries like an original Game Boy, and is housed comfortably inside of a custom shell with dimensions of 148 x 90 x 32mm.


(Image credit: Redherring32)

According to Redherring32, the final chips that he cut take up less than 7% of their usual size. They also fit onto a custom PCB that’s smaller than a Raspberry Pi 3. The hardware was physically cut and sanded by hand and finished with a Dremel tool.

In addition to using original NES hardware, it also includes some features that make the unit stand out as a viable modern handheld. Of course, it has an integrated screen and buttons on the front for input. It also uses a USB-C port for charging, a special switch is included to adjust the voltage between 5V and 3V to save power and the power button is a latching push switch like the original NES. There’s also a special brightness control module created by YveltalGriffin.

Because it’s using original hardware, you may be curious how it loads games to play. Instead of storing everything on an SD card and building some sort of interface, this project uses custom made tiny cartridges. They plug into the back just like a Game Boy game but load NES games. These mini cartridges were created by a maker known as BucketMouseBite. Redherring32 confirms, it’s possible to use original carts with the setup but an adapter would be necessary.

If you want to get a closer look at this project, check out the original thread shared to Twitter by Redherring32. We would also like to assure that only one NES with a damaged motherboard was used to build this project.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer 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.

  • TerryLaze
    Admin said:
    Redherring32 has crammed NES hardware inside of a Game Boy-d shell for old school gaming on the go.

    TinyTendo Fits NES Hardware Inside Game Boy-Sized Shell : Read more
    If there was one picture you had to show in the article to make what you say make sense, it is this one.
    Top big ic and bottom small ic are the same thing.