One Home Made NES To Rule Them All

The Nintendo Entertainment System, or Famicom depending on where in the world you live, is a console that occupies a special place in the hearts of people of a certain age. If you lived in a country that Nintendo didn’t ship its consoles to in the late ’80s and early ’90s though, you might think that it would be an experience that would have passed you by. Eastern Europeans for instance didn’t officially meet Mario for years.

A Pegasus NES clone. Ktoso the Ryba [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
A Pegasus NES clone. Ktoso the Ryba [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
Fortunately for them there was an industry of Chinese and Taiwanese clone makers whose products were readily available in those markets. For the countries without official Nintendo products it is these consoles and their brand names that have achieved cult gaming status rather than the real thing.

In Poland, [phanick] wanted to recreate his youth by building his own clone console (Polish Language, English translation via Google Translate). His chosen target was the Pegasus, the Taiwanese NES clone that was the must-have console for early ’90s Poles.

But he wasn’t just satisfied with building a Pegasus clone. Along the way the project expanded to include support for 72-pin NES cartridges as well as the 60-pin Pegasus ones, and the ability to play both PAL and NTSC games. For this dual-system support he had to include both sets of processor and graphics chip variants, along with logic to switch between them. He goes into some detail on the tribulations of achieving this switch.

The result is a very impressive and well-executed piece of work. The PAL games have a letterbox effect with black bars at top and bottom of the screen, while the NTSC games have slightly washed-out colours. But if you were a gamer of the day you’ll see these as simply part of the genuine experience.

He’s posted a descriptive video which we’ve embedded below the break, but with non-English commentary. It is however still worth watching even without understanding the audio, for its view of the completed board and gameplay.

We’ve featured a lot of console projects over the years, but many of them have been emulators like this Nintendo-inspired example based on a Raspberry Pi. This project stands apart from the emulators, as far as we can find in our archives nobody else has cloned the original, and certainly not with support for so many variants.

[Thanks pmilian]

10 thoughts on “One Home Made NES To Rule Them All

  1. Beautifully custom made PCB! He even made a toner transfer overlay.

    AND then he drilled the holes! There must be a thousand of them and he drilled them, my god!

    I am making a CNC driller and this is why. If I drilled that board then I would be committed for psychiatric assessment!

    A thousand holes – he drilled them!

    1. Not that bad. I did a quite complicated board once. The drilling of the component holes was no problem with a small drill stand for a “Dremel”-like small electric drill. The real problem were the vias. I noticed only when the layout was finished, that they were really small and I had to drill about 150 0,5mm vias and solder them with thin wire. This was a little more than 20yrs ago. We could do double sided at the university, but not plated through holes and industrially manufactured boards were considered way too expensive for a student project. They were really expensive that time.

  2. Not sure about MT-555DX and IQ-502, but I heard that Pegasus MT-777DX(unlike Dendy, Terminator, Polystation and dozen others) was actually nintendo licensed clone.
    Is it true or usual BS?

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