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January 2017 Retro Gaming Article

January 7, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Add ROMs to the NES Classic Edition over USB with recent system hack

Hacked NES Classic Edition
A recent hack seems to allow adding more games to the NES Mini console without opening the case or soldering.
Hackers in both Japan and Russia have devised ways to add additional games to Nintendo's impossible-to-buy NES Classic Edition mini console. The method is gaining traction due to it's non-invasive soft-mod. You don't need to open the case or solder anything. You can even use the included USB cable to connect it to your PC.

I've usually been hesitant to mod any of my systems due to the soldering component. That's not my primary skill and there always seems to be some step that isn't quite clear... and I stop. I can't complain. I adore my systems and view mods from a standpoint of technical innovation. There are some truly talented folks out there with a knack for seeing things in a different way.

Basic Background Info

Each game, on the NES Classic Edition, has an associated image file that must be added in addition to the ROM files. These images identify each game in the on-screen selection menu. It's being reported the NES Classic Edition has a total of 512MB for the images and ROMs. Folks are beginning to post the games they have successfully added. I have not yet seen any posts about incompatible games. At this time it's hard to know if any NES ROM can be added.

NES Classic Edition As time passes, it will be interesting to see if hacks delve deeper into actual hardware mods inside the box. It's hard to imagine curiosity not taking that path. Apparently the internal emulator is quite robust and hackers might be inclined to further probe it. At the same time, if Nintendo ever releases the NES Classic Edition in proper quantities for retailers, they may make changes to thwart the mods discussed here.

A word of caution: while this hack may seem simple due to not requiring any soldering inside the NES Classic Edition, you can still damage the unit! During this modification, you will be making changes to the unit's files to facilitate the addition of more games. It's not simply "adding games". You need to change settings that you may not be able to recover from if done incorrectly or something goes wrong.

Some folks are reporting viruses tagging along when they try ti install the applications and files needed to alter the NES Mini console. This is not a point-and-click solution that does all the work for you. If you're not familiar with modding software, you may want to enlist some qualified help. I've seen some folks asking how to connect the console to a PC and others asking it the mod is an automated process. They should not be attempting this mod.

Since this device is very difficult to purchase at standard retail pricing, be careful if you choose to add more games via the hack. Details of the hack have been posted online. Good luck if you choose to add more files!

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