Modders hacked NES Classic Edition, expanding its library to 84 games

NES Classic Mini

Less than two months after its worldwide debut, the NES Classic Edition has been hacked to add support for many Nintendo Entertainment System games that aren’t featured in the plug-and-play console’s default lineup.

Initial reports claimed to expand the NES Classic Edition library to 60 games, including titles such as River City Ransom, Bucky O’Hare, and two entries in Capcom’s Mega Man series that aren’t normally playable using stock hardware. Over the weekend, another hacked system surfaced with 84 games.

The video above shows both gameplay and the game catalog from an NES Classic Edition modded by Russian hacker Madmonkey. It appears that the 84 games may be the console’s limit. The video description said the console booted to a black screen when the console has more than 90 games installed.

Released in November, 2016, the NES Classic Edition quickly sold out of its initial retail allotment and became one of the holiday season’s most sought-after gifts for longtime gamers. Designed to resemble a miniature Nintendo Entertainment System, the plug-and-play console includes a selection of 30 built-in games, including The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. 3, and Kirby’s Adventure.

While initial teardowns revealed a compact circuit board that many feared would be difficult to hack, the NES Classic Edition was recently modified to run a custom build of Ubuntu, giving hackers a glimmer of hope regarding expanded mod support. As of this week, two hacker groups now claim to have bypassed the NES Classic Edition’s security features to add new games to its playable lineup.

Hackers from Russia and Japan were among the first to report successful hacks via the NES Classic Mods subreddit. In addition to the hack mentioned above, Japanese hacker Honeylabs recently got the console to recognize an SD card reader, potentially leading to a wealth of modding possibilities in the future.

Both groups have released tools allowing users to hack their own NES Classic Edition consoles, but the platform’s modding scene is still in its early days and amateur modders should exercise caution when running unsigned code.

Updated on 01-09-2017 by Steven Petite: Added video and description for hacked NES Classic Edition with an 84 game library.