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Microscopic TinyNES can run actual game cartridges, available now

Recently, we reported on the announcement of the games lineup for the Amiga A500 Mini, and in doing so commented on the bizarre recent trend of retro consoles being shrunk down to compact sizes – making them pocketable, but at the same time, something you can resell fans who already own one. Sure, you own a NES, but do you own one that you might accidentally lose in the dryer? Thought not. As for me, I prefer mine in LEGO. Costs double, but is about thrice as cool.

lego nes
Plug. The screen actually moves. Plug, plug.

But what if we were to take it one step further? Which is to say, stripping even the minimalistic mini versions down to their absolute bare essentials. Fancy plastic casing? Who needs it. Stylistic design? ‘Tis for chumps. Anything even vaguely resembling the original system on which it’s based? You’re having a laugh. In that instance, you’d probably end up with something like the appropriately-named TinyNES, revealed in 2018 but only just now hitting the market.

As Gizmodo reports, the diminutive gadget contains all the core bits and pieces that made Nintendo’s inaugural hardware outing tick, meaning it’s technically fully functional. It may look like a formless plastic brick, and it kind of is, but whack an NES cartridge in there from the 1980s, and it’ll run it no questions asked. In that respect, this is rather cool, and has a bit of a novelty factor to it.

I feel like during intense play, things could very easily come disconnected from this. Perhaps it’s heavier than it looks.

“The miniaturization of the TinyNES leaves the console looking not much bigger than an actual NES game cart,” describes the report, “but it still includes a cartridge slot on top, and two classic NES controller ports on the front compatible with the original gamepads or modern replacements.” What you won’t be able to do, though, is hook it up to any modern TV screens without a lot of fiddling. There’s no in-build HDMI compatibility, and all you’ll find on the back “is a mono audio RCA jack and an NTSC composite RCA jack,” which to me is less ‘pleasingly retro’ and more ‘needlessly inconvenient’. Maybe I’m square.

Should you still wish to get your hands on one – and, to be fair, it does have its charms as a talking piece – it’s currently available via “pre-order through the crowdfunding site Crowd Supply (it just surpassed its $20,000 funding goal) for $200, although you can save $20 if you opt for a version with cloned chips instead.” Even accounting for inflation, something tells me that’s a wee bit of a markup over the original console. Someone pop back to the late eighties and check for me, would you? 

If you just fancy playing NES on the go, however, Switch Online is right there for like 4 bucks, and won’t require you to lug a portable generator about with you. A shame for all the stockholders of your local portable generator company banking on this thing creating a windfall.

Are you interested in the TinyNES? Let us know!

Via, Gizmodo.

Bobby Mills

Motor-mouthed Brit with a decades long - well, two decades, at least - passion for gaming. Writer, filmmaker, avid lover of birthdays. Still remembers the glory days of ONM. May it rest in peace.
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