How To Add More Games to the NES Classic

The hype around the NES Classic in 2016 was huge, and as expected, units are already selling for excessively high prices on eBay. The console shipped with 30 games pre-installed, primarily first-party releases from Nintendo. But worry not — there’s now a way to add more games to your NES Classic!

Like many a good hack, this one spawned from a forum community. [madmonkey] posted on GBX.ru about their attempts to load extra games into the console. The first step is using the FEL subroutine of the Allwinner SOC’s boot ROM to dump the unit’s flash memory. From there, it’s a matter of using custom tools to inject extra game ROMs before reburning the modified image to the console. The original tool used, named hakchi, requires a Super Mario savegame placed into a particular slot to work properly, though new versions have already surfaced eliminating this requirement.

While this is only a software modification, it does come with several risks. In addition to bricking your console, virus scanners are reporting the tools as potentially dangerous. There is confusion in the community as to whether these are false positives or not. As with anything you find lurking on a forum, your mileage may vary. But if you just have to beat Battletoads for the umpteenth time, load up a VM for the install process and have at it. This Reddit thread (an expansion from the original pastebin instructions) acts as a good starting point for the brave.

Only months after release, the NES Classic is already a fertile breeding ground for hacks — last year we reported on this controller mod and how to install Linux. Video of this ROM injection hack after the break.

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Motorcycle Sound Effects

[Winfred] was thinking one day, of how the world would be a different place if everything we owned had little start up and shut down sounds like our computers. Historically computers would just beep after passing their power on self test, and many PC’s still do, but in the 1980’s as machines became more powerful and home users wanted more flexibility in their hardware, startup chimes started to creep into our lives. And why not extend that little moment of joy to other objects, like adding Windows XP startup and shutdown sounds to your motorcycle.

Electronically the bill of materials looks like hobby shop catalog, featuring a Freeduino (Arduino variant), Adafruit wave shield, marine speakers, and a cheap-o mp3 amplifier from ebay. While admittedly not the cheapest way to play an audio clip [Winfred] offers a few suggestions to help drop the 100$ price tag, including just skipping it all together and mimicking the sounds with your voice.

Its a fun idea, its sure to earn some odd looks from his neighbors, and it will probably make you chuckle a little too.

Gameboy Color boot ROM

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It’s only been a week since the Super Gameboy’s boot ROM was dumped by [Costis] and he’s already at it again. This time he’s managed to grab the Gameboy Color’s boot ROM. He found the newer Gameboy Color’s hardware is able to cope with a clock speed up to 100MHz, so the original clock increase trick he used on the Super Gameboy wouldn’t work again.

Instead he discovered a quick disconnection of clock and power before 0xFF50 would make the Gameboy jump to a random area within the ROM. Then it was only a matter of entropy, luck, and some special NOP instructions until eventually he had the boot ROM. Keep up the good work [Costis].

Super Game Boy boot ROM dumped

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[Costis] managed to dump a copy of the boot ROM for the Nintendo Super Game Boy. This small piece of code (256 bytes) writes a graphic to the display at boot time as it loads the ROM on the game cartridge. He was able to dump the code by finding the exact point at which the device locks down the boot ROM. Just as that point approached he overclocked the device causing it operate so fast it couldn’t write the lockout bits into the register. Once past that single point of security, he executes a code that writes the boot rom out to a different address that he is able to read from. He’s got a copy of the dump along with the explanation up for your enjoyment.

[Thanks Anthony]