Got an NES Classic? Here’s how to hack it to play more than 700 games

The NES Classic has a strange history. After a hugely successful launch in 2017, Nintendo discontinued the product, only to start production again a few months after the announcement. Then, Nintendo ceased production on the NES Classic and SNES Classic. It’s been two years since the last run of mini retro consoles, so we probably won’t see them again any time soon (maybe a re-rerelease 30 years down the line). To give your shrunken console a second lease on life, here’s how to hack an NES Classic.

Although it comes with 30 of the best NES games, even masterpieces like Super Mario Bros. 3 get old after a while. Fortunately, you can easily add additional games to your NES Classic. The device is essentially a tiny computer running an emulator, which is a program that imitates the software on a console. With a little tweaking and a lack of scruples, you can add any NES games you want to your Classic. Even better, you won’t need to do much in the way of “hacking,” as some savvy Nintendo fans have already developed programs to load games from a computer onto an NES Classic.

Keep in mind, though, that you’ll need a digital copy of any game you want to install on your NES Classic. While it’s not illegal to modify your NES Classic or download a program like the one in our example, NES games are typically copyrighted. There are many popular sites where you can download NES ROMs, but make sure that any ROMs you download are legal.

Here are the step-by-step instructions for hacking your NES Classic to add to its library.

Further Reading

How to hack your NES Classic

To install games on the Classic, you will need a program like Hakchi, which we’ll be using in our example.

Nintendo NES Classic Edition

Step 1: First, plug your NES Classic into a Windows-based PC via a USB cable.

Step 2: Find the most version of Hakchi from the developer’s page and download it. If you’re a Windows 10 user, you can easily right-click on the file and choose Extract All as this version comes as a ZIP file. Otherwise, you will need to extract it using a program such as WinZIP or 7-Zip.

Step 3: Run the Hakchi program after you’ve extracted it.

Step 4: The program will open a window. Click the button labeled Synchronize Selected Games With NES Mini.

Step 5: Select Yes when the program asks you to dump the original kernel image.

Step 6: Next, Hakchi will give you a few instructions to follow. Ensure that the Power button on the NES Classic is off and connected via a USB cable.

Step 7: Press down on the Reset button and hit the Power button (while still holding the Reset button). Then, let go of the Reset button.

Step 8: In Hakchi, click the button prompting you to install drivers.

Step 9: Once the program finishes dumping the kernel, click Synchronize selected games with NES Mini again.

Step 10: Select Yes to start flashing the kernel when prompted. Once the process finishes, click OK, and you can begin loading games.

Step 11: Once you have the game files on your computer, click the Add more games button in Hakchi. Select the files you want to add and click OK.

Step 12: Once you have added all the games you want, click Synchronize. Easy as cake.

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