What Is This, an NES for Ants?

A couple of years ago, Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition to great acclaim and buyer fervor. It’s essentially a miniature version of the original NES that’s designed purely to emulate the included library of 30 games. Notably, however, it doesn’t work with actual NES cartridges, which means you’re limited to just the pre-loaded games. TinyNES is also a miniature NES, but it actually works with the original hardware — including cartridges and controllers.

With fewer and fewer NES consoles still functioning, they’re getting harder to find and prices are just going higher. TinyNES features that same great hardware, but in a small, modern package. That package isn’t much bigger than the NES cartridges themselves. It’s a small black box that clearly wasn’t designed to garner nostalgia credit by mimicking the appearance of the original NES. But, it does mimic the important stuff: the hardware.

Instead of falling back on glitchy emulation, the TinyNES uses the same CPU and PPU (picture processing unit) that were in the original NES. That ensures smooth console-correct gameplay and compatibility with game cartridges and accessories. The rest of the circuit has been modernized, and the CIC lockout chip has been removed so you don’t have to worry about game region issues. It doesn’t have HDMI or upscaling, just composite video like the original. If you want a faithful recreation of the NES experience, this is it.

TinyNES isn’t for sale yet, but will be launching on Crowd Supply soon. Be sure to sign up for updates so you know when it’s available.


What Is This, an NES for Ants? was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original article: What Is This, an NES for Ants?
Author: Cameron Coward