Looking for a way to play Nintendo Entertainment System games in 2022 but don’t have the original hardware? TinyNES is the answer, and it ships by the end of May.
Equipped with the same CPU and PPU (picture processing unit) found in the original NES (or clones), Tall Dog Electronics’ TinyNES ensures console-correct gameplay and is compatible with original game cartridges and accessories. Early orders of the TinyNES even get a selection of free games to enjoy.
Nearly half of the systems with free game cartridges are spoken for at this point, so place your pre-order now if you want to ensure you get one! https://t.co/KeghLV2Gn1— Tall Dog Electronics (@tall_dog) December 27, 2021
Preferable to an emulation system (whether a Raspberry Pi, the Nintendo Classic Mini, or the expensive Analogue Nt) or even playing NES games on the Nintendo Switch, the TinyNES (Tiny Nostalgia Evocation Square) will play original cartridges. While far smaller than the original NES and missing modern enhancements like HDMI, graphical upscaling, save game states, and internet connectivity, it does provide a more authentic NES experience. So, no remapping of buttons, no hidden extras, no menu system. Just a plug-and-play gaming experience.
Importantly, the TinyNES is not an emulation system, and does not rely on FPGA (field-programmable gate array). While the mainboard is new, the underlying hardware is not.
Inside the FR-4 (circuit board material) case is a MOS 6502-based Ricoh RP2A03 CPU and a Ricoh RP2C02 PPU (picture processing unit), just like an original NES. These are found in the premium option, whereas cheaper models use clones (the UMC UA6527 CPU and the UMC UA6528 PPU). The TinyNES features a cartridge slot, power switch and reset button, along with a pair of controller slots. The device can be connected to a TV with RCA ports, and supports mono analog and NTSC-compatible analog.
TinyNES Hardware Specification:
- Controller ports: 2 original NES-style 7-pin controller ports
- Video: NTSC composite (CVBS) analog video output via yellow RCA barrel jack
- Audio: Mono analog audio output via red RCA barrel jack
- Power: 5V DC input via 2.1 × 5.5 mm center-positive barrel jack
- Enclosure: Matte black FR-4 (glass-reinforced epoxy laminate) with M2.5 hex screws
- Dimensions: 138.5 mm × 130.0 mm × 32.5 mm
- Weight: 0.36 kg / 0.78 lb
TinyNES is licensed under the CC BY-SA 4.0 (Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International) license, making it completely open source. All NES cartridges are expected to work with the TinyNES, except one, the RetroUSB PowerPak ROM loader cartridge. Meanwhile, the TinyNES can also play Famicom games. These had a different connector (60 edge pins rather than 72) so compatibility is via an optional adapter.
The premium TinyNES with genuine chips costs $199, while the clone chips versions is $20 cheaper. Original wired NES controllers and alternatives (such as the 8BitDo N30 wireless) are compatible, but be sure you have something ready to use before the TinyNES arrives as it does not ship with any controllers.
Find out more about TinyNES on its CrowdSupply page.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.