Luckily, those days are gone now. NES emulators can be found for the PC. These nifty little programs are designed to run NES games as accurately as possible. All you need is the emulator itself, and a ROM for a NES game. Remember, owning a ROM without owning the original game cart might be illegal where you live.
'Now, on to the topic of the instructable':
I wanted to play NES and other oldish consoles on the NES PC, and also play Divx/DVD videos etc.
Playing NES games on your computer is fine, but I wanted more of an original feel to it. I thought I'd be able to put a PC full with hard drive and DVD drive inside of a NES case, attach some controllers to it, and hook it up to my TV.
Here's the full list of consoles my NES PC currently has installed.
- Super NES
- Sega Mega Drive / Genesis
- Sega Master System
- MAME (Arcade)
- Game Boy (Color)
- Game Boy Advance
- Sega Game Gear
- Turbo-Grafx 16 / PC-Engine
- Sony Playstation (games run from CD drive)
- Nintendo 64
The NES PC is used without mouse or keyboard! Everything is be done using the gamepads, which makes it feel more like a console (like it should!)
Step 1: Parts you'll need
You're free to use a non-working one, as the only part you'll be using is the case.
2. Computer parts
You will need a motherboard and processor. Because of the tiny size of the NES case, you're not going to be able to fit a normal ATX motherboard. I used a mini-itx motherboard. They are 17cm by 17cm, so it's a great fit for the NES case. Mini-itx boards can be bought at least here. I bought a 'Jetway 1.5GHz C7D' board. It was relatively cheap and powerful enough for my needs. Mini-itx boards come with an integrated (built-in) processor, sound card and video adapter. This is great when space is a luxury you can't waste. You should make sure the processor won't generate too much heat. There's little space for air to move around in the case, so it might get a bit too hot. I learned this the hard way...
It's also important to have a tv-out connection: either S-Video (preferred) or Composite. If you have an LCD screen you might want DVI or HDMI.
The motherboard needed DDR2 memory, so I got a 1gb stick of that.
I already had an old 40gb 2.5" laptop hard drive. It won't work with a standard IDE connector, so I got a 44pin->40pin IDE adapter.
I also had a slimline DVD/CD drive from the same old laptop. It also needed a slimline -> IDE adapter to work.
You will need a PSU. There's a problem, though. ATX power sources are too big to fit inside the case. I ended up using an 80 Watt picoPSU. It's a tiny DC-DC power source. It works like a laptop's power source: you attach an external power brick that handles the AC/DC and provides the picoPSU with 12V DC power.
You will need leads to attach the power led, power switch and reset switch to your motherboard. I got them from an old computer I had lying around. I also ended up using some old case fans I had. If you've chosen a cooler motherboard/processor, you might not need extra fans. There are some very cool fanless VIA EPIA boards, but they're not very powerful performance-wise.
You won't be needing any special tools other than a Dremel or something similar. It's used for cleaning out the case bottom and cutting out the hole for the backplate. You'll also need to solder some wires for the power/reset switches.
NOTE: Take care when handling the motherboard, memory, etc. They are pretty sensitive to static discharge, so make sure you're properly grounded!