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Emulation hardware (NES, SNES...)

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Posted on Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by dnannznnws to r/retrogaming | Emulation | 2 points

i am trying to get a birthday gift for my dad, which showed interest in buying these all-in-one emulators (NES, SNES...). the most important games would be mario, contra and yo noid anyways lol

i am aware that emulating software on pcs is better, but i hope that there is a hardware option with old school controllers that we can just plug into TV. I dont care if the console has pirated games, but many of the "1000+ games consoles" have just a few actual games and the others are copies in different color schemes.

my budget is around 60$. polymega caught my attention so I'd gladly hear an opinion. any input appreciated, thanks in advance!

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@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by _GlitchInTheVoid | 2 points | Reply

Are handhelds in the cards? If so, check out Taki's channel;

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by retromale | 2 points | Reply

You can get a snes mini and mod it

You can use a pc and hook up some controllers

You can get a real Nes and an everdrive

You can get a Retron 5

There are various Nes knockoff s that do what you are asking

Polymega is more than $60


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by thisusedyet | 1 point | Reply

Could also always set up a retropie[] & get some of the USB old controllers.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by dnannznnws (OP) | 1 point | Reply

that looks good, do You reccommend any tutorial?


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by thisusedyet | 1 point | Reply

The one I linked worked OK for me.

You can try a video tutorial here[], or some of the other links there if that doesn't work for you.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by dnannznnws (OP) | 1 point | Reply

alright I'll check it out thanks!


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by s1eve_mcdichae1 | 1 point | Reply

>that looks good, do You reccommend any tutorial?

The only supported tutorial is the official one[].

There are also the r/retropie sub and official forums[] for additional resources.


@ Wednesday, September 20th 2023 by TechBliSTer | 1 point | Reply

>You can get a real Nes and an everdrive

The N8 by it self is more than a hundred dollars.

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by Vertania_III | 3 points | Reply

That $60 budget is going to limit your options significantly. Honestly, getting an 8bitdo controller or two in the style you want (SNES/NES/etc.), connecting it to a PC or laptop, then running it on your TV with a CRT filter will likely be your best bet.

I've never heard of Polymega, but it looks to be way out of that $60 price range. Even the mini consoles are usually more than that, though I've seen the (probably unofficial) Sega Genesis one at Family Dollar for about $40.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by dnannznnws (OP) | 2 points | Reply

I am aware of the limiting budget, but unfortunately thats a bit more in my country. controllers alone dont seem right for me for a gift, but thx for the reccomendation

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by thekaufaz | 2 points | Reply

Recommend something with Wi-Fi so you can do retro achievements.

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by viverx | 1 point | Reply

Its a lot of work but I would suggest buying the best Bluetooth Controller you can and get like A Firestick 4K Max . Retroarch lemoroid are both on the Googleplay/Amazon Stores so its all about setting it up and possibly getting a cheap USB flash drive with an OTG cable/hub.

Generic Googletv/Android TV Sticks should work too provided they are running a version of android TV earlier than 11 or 12. (The latest version of Android/GoogleTV updated some security features which breaks most emulators because its makes it impossible to open files not in the app directory)

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by tacticalTechnician | 1 point | Reply

I would probably go with something like a Rasbperry Pi / Le Potato / Odroid / Orange Pi (whatever is available and cheapest) with an 8bitdo controller (and a USB Bluetooth adapter if the computer you bought doesn't have one). RetroPie is the most popular, but you also have Batocera and Lakka, if depends on the specific computer. You need an SD card to install the OS and the games (that you need to find yourself), but the emulators themselves shoud be more or less configured properly.

There's also the option of buying an old mini-PC on eBay, like a ThinkCentre M93P. You can usually find them for really cheap and while they're not crazy powerful, it's more than enough for emulation up to N64 / Saturn. In that case, I recommend Batocera as the OS, it's pretty simple to use, it doesn't even need an hard drive (you can install it on a USB drive) and it works on basically everything.

Of course, there's also the modded SNES Mini / NES Mini / Genesis Mini / PS1 Classic alternative, if you can find any of them cheaply, it's gonne be limited to SNES / GBA at most, forget PS1 and over, but it's a decent option, probably easier to configure than RetroPie / Batocera.


@ Wednesday, September 20th 2023 by dnannznnws (OP) | 1 point | Reply

much thanks for Your response! I have decided that I'll go with some kind of homebuild, not modded console. do You know where I could research this stuff more thoroughly? i would like to fit in the budget and I am pretty sure someone already did that sort of thing


@ Wednesday, September 20th 2023 by tacticalTechnician | 1 point | Reply

If you go with a Raspberry Pi or similar, the official RetroPie instructions[] are pretty useful. There's also a ton of video on Youtube explaining what to do, I found this one[] totally randomly and it seems pretty good. If you go more on a PC, I recommend Batocera and this official guide[], it's easy to follow.

I you would prefer an handheld, r/SBCGaming is really good for informations, reviews and helps. It's also in theory for Raspberry Pi and others, but it became a lot less popular in the last two or three years.

As for the games... I can't really recommend anything here, it's not exactly legal and this is not a subreddit for that.

Finally, I really recommend checking the channel Retro Game Corps, they did a really complete guide[] a few months ago about transforming any PC into an emulation box and they always post really useful guides and reviews about basically any new emulation consoles releasing, but it's ususally about handhelds or high-end mini-PC.

I won't lie, $60 will be a little hard. You can probably find a $40-$50 computer on eBay, but a decent controller will cost around $30-$40 (or course, you can re-use an old Xbox 360 / PS3 controller if you have one). The Rapsberry Pi is really hard to find right now for a good price, the Le Potato is $35 on Amazon and it can run EmuELEC (essentially the same thing as RetroPie / Batocera), but you need a Bluetooth adapter if you want to use a wireless controller. It's definitely not impossible for your budget, but you'll need to be a little creative.


@ Wednesday, September 20th 2023 by dnannznnws (OP) | 1 point | Reply

thanks for Your response! so if I'll just use the wired controller, LePotato could be the only thing to buy? also, wouldn't I find an used raspberryPi on my local internet shops? I am not sure which model would be enough for retro gaming cause I havent found information, but I could try that


@ Wednesday, September 20th 2023 by tacticalTechnician | 1 point | Reply

You also need an SD card for the OS and the ROMS (unless you want to put a lot of PS1 games, 32GB shoud be plenty, even 16GB if you have one lying around), a USB charger (you can use the USB port on your TV or any phone charger) and optionally, a case to make it look neater since it's since a bare board (it's compatible with the Raspberry Pi 3 cases, you can find plenty of them for cheap).

The problem with Raspberry Pi is that they were out of stock for the majority of 2020, 2021 and 2022 (and still kinda to this day, it's still not that easy to find them), so resellers began selling them for crazy prices. I certainely wouldn't go for older than Raspberry Pi 3 nowadays, but I wouldn't pay much for it (the LePotato is between the Raspberry Pi 3 and 4 power-wise and the 2GB model is $35, which is plenty for what you want to do). If you can find a 3 for, let's say, $25, then yeah, it's a good deal.

Realistically, if you really just want NES, you could go with a Zero W (or the regular Zero if you don't want WiFi for updates and automatically putting images and description of each games), but it has difficulties with SNES (but runs fine for Genesis / GBA), you need a Mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter to connect to a TV and a Micro-USB OTG adapter to connect a wired controller (but the W model has integrated Bluetooth). At one point, those were sold for less than $10, but right now, I think they're closer to $15-$20, I don't know if it's really worth it.


@ Thursday, September 21st 2023 by dnannznnws (OP) | 1 point | Reply

wow, thanks a lot!

@ Wednesday, September 20th 2023 by Wachenroder | 1 point | Reply

$60 budget is really limiting.

I'd definitely go with a Small Form Factor HP workstation PC. You can get up to a gen 4 pretty cheap. They are small and you'll have an easiy time hooking it up to an LCD. Also more options for controllers. You can hook pretty much anything that takes USB to a PC. They even make replica controllers for most classic consoles for this very reason.

60 dollars should be able to get you everything you need if you dont mind a bit of bargain hunting.

@ Wednesday, September 20th 2023 by TechBliSTer | 1 point | Reply

Buy a used official "Classic" mini system and mod it your self for more games. That's your option.

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