Super NES Cartridge Pulls A Sneaky, Plays Minecraft

Sometimes it’s the little touches and details that make a project. That’s certainly the case with [Franklinstein]’s Super Nintendo (SNES) Cartridge Hard Drive. It might only be an enclosure for a solid-state hard drive with a USB interface, but the attention to detail is what really makes it worth checking out.

A SNES cartridge has a pretty standard clamshell-ish construction, but fitting the solid-state drive plus cable adapter turned out to be a bit of a challenge.

Since [Franklinstein] wanted the cartridge to look as original as possible, careful measuring and cutting was needed to securely fit the drive and provide an unobtrusive USB-C port tucked discreetly into the cartridge’s opening. We like the technique of using a 3D printed fixture to take up the slack on the cable by exactly the right amount, resulting in a 100% rattle-free end product. A custom Minecraft sticker label provides the finishing touch.

Being able to plug it into a computer and actually play Minecraft is a neat gimmick, but it really shows that some careful construction and assembly can be what makes something look like a clean build instead of a hack job. Take a look at additional build detail and pictures, and check out the video of the build, embedded below.

Hey, if sneaky cartridge mod tricks intrigue you, then you’ll absolutely want to check out how it was possible to play DOOM on a NES from a cartridge. Maybe that’s the next evolution for a cartridge with a Minecraft label on it?

24 thoughts on “Super NES Cartridge Pulls A Sneaky, Plays Minecraft

  1. Can the hacking community please stop promoting low effort retro and raspberry pi and it plays doom things? There’s so much cool stuff that doesn’t get as much attention because of these things

      1. Hey, have the deleted comments :)

        Honestly I’d agree with the deleted comment chain; this is literally just a usb drive with a minecraft label.

        What’s interesting to me is that for most of these simple YouTube clickbaty projects, the articles on them never really get into how they work, they just make vague statements like “Being able to plug it into a computer and actually play Minecraft is a neat gimmick”. The educational value of that is none.

        I personaly love this site because of it’s interesting technical content that I learn things from. I don’t want it to just turn into an entertainment farm like YouTube kinda is.

        (Not to criticize all YouTube videos, but for all the good ones out there, there are a lot that are high production value + entertainment rather than learning/documenting projects and the like)

        1. When I clicked this I thought maybe it was some kind of emulator that you can run on NES and then through a combination of hardware / software in the shell it helps the NES run Minecraft. That would be cool and worth an article.

          This is a hard drive case…

    1. Yup, I believe the SNES has video on the cartridge pins, so I was thinking he crammed a Pi or something into the case and was running Minecraft on that… Very disappointed when I clicked the link.

      Nothing on the original creator, this is a nice little project, but we’d just expect something a lot more technically challenging on here.

  2. Wow harsh. I believe the hack here relates to the wonderful craftsmanship, attention to detail, and imagination that went into this project, not so much the functionality. Perhaps you could post a link to one of your projects so that we can more easily see what a real hack is in your mind.

  3. The PAL SNES cartridges (the ones with the convex shape to the front) perfectly fit a 2.5″ HDD or SSD, with just enough room for the USB-SATA PCB if ypu chose the right enclosure to harvest from.
    I’ve made a few enclosures from old (non valuable) cartridgea for disks pulled from laptops etc when upgrading various laptops etc.
    A bit of hot glue makes for a nice LED diffuser too.

  4. Now I’m wondering what the communication protocol for the original SNES cartridges is and if you could keep the original pin connector on this and have some sort of video pass through, so that you could actually plug it into a SNES console and play minecraft.

    1. ive seem mods that stuff a pi or something into the cartridge, the pi does the heavy rendering and just dumps the frame buffer to a dual ported ram that serves as a stand in for the rom chip.

    2. The NES port of Elite had a chip that rasterized the graphics to a spritemap which could be natively rendered by the console. A rbpi should be able to pull of a similar feat so this is very doable.

      I’m also curious about Mario paint, it could natively display rasterized graphics, does it internally do the same by having the canvas display a sprritemap that’s stored in ram (rather than rom)?

  5. Haha you’re right. Those comments including mine just said “headline misleading, the whole thing not worth the post”.

    And they all got deleted. No hate, just plain opinions.

    @HaD staff: this really makes me wanna delete the hackaday bookmark :(

  6. Great job for the creator but bad job from the HAD editor. HAD editor, please don’t publish these kinds of things here. Doing so is a transparent cashing in on people’s love of snes and Minecraft with only the most tenuous, superficial connections to them. Please have more respect for your audience.

  7. Sorry, but this plays Minecraft how? Seems like the computer you have to plug it into is the one doing the work. By this definition, any USB drive with enough space on it can play Minecraft too.

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