Much to the chagrin of some 80s kids, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is considered retro. That means it's cool to hook up an old system, play games that some millennials could have sworn were from just a few years ago, and get a lot more street cred for it than when the games were just for kids or for nerds. It's a lot easier to hack game cartridges, and playing custom NES-style games (or old games with abandoned copyright) merely requires getting the right equipment and connecting it to a board. If you'd like to rebuild an NES or create a custom gaming console with original designs, here's a few options and ideas to take advantage of a childhood turned into a retro fad.
Understanding Game Emulation
The topic is steeped in controversy, as some of what happens in emulation is of questionable legality. Not too long after the Super Nintendo Entertainment System became replaced by newer consoles, these barely-outdated games started popping up on the internet under the term "ROM."
ROM is Read Only Memory, and it refers to chips that are written with specific information and not able to be edited. For gamers, this means that files representing games such as Chrono Trigger, Super Mario Bros, and Battletoads could be downloaded. Following this illegal process, many gamers started making their own games to create a legal, culturally-robust community of homebrew games.
Downloading is just the first part of the process. After downloading the file, you need something that can play the games. Legal copies of the game were put onto boards with the ROM, representing the Nintendo cartridges. Computer users could download emulators to play their games with just a few clicks.
Although a good way to play custom games, many gamers and designers wanted to play their games on the authentic system. It can be done by programming the game onto a blank cartridge, but the innovation didn't stop there.
Customized Game Systems And Repairs
The NES and many other emulated systems are old, and it was hard to get a hand on some proprietary parts. With the advent of cheaper manufacturer, 3D printing and home development, the one top-of-the-line designs of old systems can now be replicated with amazing results.
These third party components, such as the 72 pin connector and the SHVC Plug-in Sound Module can be picked for repairing existing consoles, but they can also be used for creating new machines. Arcade cabinets with customized connectors and multiple games can be designed, or a new programming dock for installing your own ROMs can be made without having to dig through old, broken systems.
If it's authenticity you need, these professionals can get a hand on both original parts and re-released repair parts from Nintendo's vendors. Keep an eye out for the parts you need and contact a gaming parts professional, such as Culsams Original NES Store, to discuss other project plans.