Passion Project Turns BeagleBone Into Standalone Super NES

So you want to play some retro games on your BeagleBone, just load up Linux and start your favorite emulator right? Not if you’re serious about it. [Andrew Henderson] started down this path with the BeagleBoard-xM (predecessor of the BeagleBone Black) and discovered that the performance with Snes9X wasn’t quite what he had in mind. He got the itch and created a full-blown distro called BeagleSNES which includes bootloader and kernel hacks for better peformance, a custom GUI, and is in the process of developing hardware for the embedded gaming rig. Check out the documentation that goes along with the project (PDF); it’s a blueprint for how open source project guides should be presented!

The hardware he’s currently working on is a Cape (what add-on boards for the BBB are called) that adds connectors for original Nintendo and Super Nintendo controllers. It also includes an RTC which will stand in for the real-time clock features included in some cartridges (Pokemon Yellow). Also in the works is a 3D printed enclosure which would turn it into a portable, something like this other BBB portable hack.

Check out a demo of what BeagleSNES can do in the video after the break.

16 thoughts on “Passion Project Turns BeagleBone Into Standalone Super NES

    1. I spent so much time writing the BeagleSNES docs because I learned a long time ago that every hour that you spend writing clear information for the end-user will save you ten hours of answering support mails! Plus, I wanted to practice my LaTeX skills a bit, so I found a nice book template and went to town.

    2. I spent so much time writing the BeagleSNES docs because I learned a long time ago that open source software is only as usable as its documentation. Also, every hour that you spend writing docs will probably save you ten hours of answering support mails. I still get a lot of mails about BeagleSNES, but they are mostly from brand new BBB users that are having HDMI cable troubles or are having difficulty writing the BeagleSNES image to a microSD card. I try to help out everyone that I can, but there are a lot of people asking questions and there is just me! Plus, I wanted an opportunity to practice my LaTeX, so I found a nice LaTeX book template and went for it.

  1. Has anyone heard anything about a possible update to the black? It should be getting about that time in the lifecycle…

    days since black – 648 days – 1 year, 9 months – 21 months
    black vs beaglebone – 540 days – 1 year, 7 mo
    beaglebone vs xM – 412 days – 1 year, 1 mo
    xM vs BeagleBoard – 788 days – 2 years, 1 mo

  2. Nice project, beaglesnes is what my old beaglebone runs most of the time now after finishing the schoolstuff on it.
    I have to say that I did cringe a bit at the probably autorouted PCB, but for something like this it should be ok I guess.

    1. Yes, DKC was playable ever since the very first version that I released back in 2013 on the BB-xM. Pretty much all the games are playable, thought the games with the FX chip drag a bit in the older versions and are borderline playable in the newest version. Here is DKC from the original release video (using the awful S-Video output of the BB-xM board), which is briefly seen at 0:42: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pl87z0w8B0

    2. Yes, DKC was playable ever since the very first version that I released back in 2013 on the BB-xM. Pretty much all the games are playable, thought the games with the FX chip drag a bit in the older versions and are borderline playable in the newest version. Here is DKC from the original release video (using the awful S-Video output of the BB-xM board), which is briefly seen at 0:42: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pl87z0w8B0

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