DIY: Super Nintendo nostalgia on your TV

I’m going to put this in Brewing, as in your own homebrew Super Nintendo, since it’s the best category I have for now.

When we were in Montreal, we stumbled on this cafe that had a Super Nintendo with Super Mario for customers. It was the coolest idea, video games while you enjoy your coffee. I suppose the area was for kids, given the low ceilings and bright colors. We enjoyed ourselves regardless, and I resolved to work up something similar.

Now, back in New York, I started looking into getting a SNES for our apartment. Turns out they can be had for $40-80 used on eBay, with an extra $20-25 or so per game. Watch out because some of these are remade hardware and not original. For $100 or so you can get yourself set up with some still functional nostalgia. However, given that you can get a Gamecube or other more modern system for even less, you’re paying for the nostalgia factor.

Materials

I found the low-budget route: OpenEmu, a free open source emulator for Mac, has support for SNES, Genesis, original Nintendo, and more. Just add a controller and connect to your TV.

Here’s the route I went:

Total cost: $32

Setup

OpenEmu runs from a folder without much of an installation process. You don’t actually need a controller or TV, a laptop monitor with keyboard controls will work to start. Here are the steps:

  1. Download OpenEmu
  2. Hold the control key and then double-click to override the security settings for unrecognized applications
  3. Google SNES ROMs and download. Watch out for popups and spam. Drag-and-drop the ROMs to load them into OpenEmu
  4. Plug in controller
  5. Go to Preferences > Contols to select the USB gamepad and map it to the proper keys. OpenEmu will lead you through this process
  6. Link your computer to TV using the HDMI cable (or preferred option)
  7. Play

Next steps

There’s a SNES mini console being re-released by Nintendo at the end of September 2017. It will come with two controllers and 20+ games for $80. It’s a good place to start if you’re looking for a list of must-try games for your new system.

Now that I have the SNES all set up with Mario, Kirby, and the rest, I’m going to head back to Google and find Sonic the Hedgehog. If you’d like to step even further back in time to play Pitfall! or Centipede, there is support for the Atari 2600 / 7800.

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