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Buying a Mini Console for hacking - Why?

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I've seen a few comments in the Megadrive Mini thread along the lines of "I can't wait! Hope it's moddable.  The insides look like a SNES mini so fingers crossed.  I'd love to swap Sonic Hedgehog  for (insert obscure Japanese game with tan translation here), loved that game in 1993"

 

Thing is, as we've covered extensively in the retro folder, there's a million ways to play these games if you want to resort to hacking your console.  To me, emulation is something I really enjoy, but there's always going to be a small sense that you're doing something a bit dodgy.  I have a Japanese Famicom yellowing in the attic and I have my Super Mario World, All-Stars, Stunt Race FX ready to go.  But emulaiton gives me the opportunity to play these without having to resort to getting it all out, blowing on cartridges, and so on. It's just easy to have a Rasperry Pi or a modded Wii under the telly with everything I ever loved on it, ready to go.

 

However, I fully understand why these Mini consoles are so popular.  They are branded, official, proper pieces of kit. They look the part.  They are clean and shiny and new.  You're getting the SNES Mini set up and suddenly you can play Mario All Stars, Stunt Race FX and all those games you loved, as Nintendo intended.  I get the idea of owning these consoles, they are lovely.  A nice shiny, TINY megadrive will be a welcome addition to my setup.

 

What I don't get is, taking all the above into account, you basically have 2 options.  You have the hacker option where you stick whatever roms you like on a modded old console, and play them to your hearts content.  A great option, if a little unofficial and grubby.  Or you have the nice shiny new official mini consoles.  So I don't understand why anyone would be anxiously awaiting the release of, say, the Megadrive Mini, with a sense of anticipation that (a) it will be able to be modded hopefully, and (b) I can't wait to fill it with my hacked roms and do things on it that it was never intended to do.

 

I understand there's a feeling of nostalgia, playing that obscure Megadrive game on the Megadrive hardware.  But it's not Megadrive hardware, is it?  It's a Raspberry Pi in all but name in a nice looking case with an accurate reproduction controller. The 32X and MegaCD for the Mini are literally models in plastic - there's no hardware in them at all.  And yet, you can play all games from all regions, whether CD or cartridge on pretty much anything these days.  A Wii for example is easier to mod than a Snes Mini, so why do people go down that route?

 

Basically, I'm asking, why are people interested in modding Mini consoles to play other games, when you can already do it better with so many old consoles you probably already own? I know that emulation is equated with piracy, but why would you want to go down the piracy route on spanky new shiny official hardware?

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I bought a SNES Classic mini around launch and it remains unmodded - I have a PC for emulation purposes, and whilst that might render mini consoles pointless, for me it was about buying an officially licensed product having never owned a SNES when I was younger. :) Also I feel like sticking a custom front end and hundreds of badly-labelled roms on there would, I dunno, cheapen the experience?
 

I can maybe understand the appeal of modding if the tech inside is decent and the price is low... but modding a Megadrive mini to put more Megadrive games on isn’t something I care about. ;) 

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15 minutes ago, dumpster said:

So I don't understand why anyone would be anxiously awaiting the release of, say, the Megadrive Mini, with a sense of anticipation that (a) it will be able to be modded hopefully, and (b) I can't wait to fill it with my hacked roms and do things on it that it was never intended to do.

 

Everyone has their own favourite games, and these little consoles look and feel cool. That's it.

 

If a little Megadrive that looks like the import I used to have playing the games I used to play elicits some good memories, why not?

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20 minutes ago, dumpster said:

I've seen a few comments in the Megadrive Mini thread along the lines of "I can't wait! Hope it's moddable.  The insides look like a SNES mini so fingers crossed.  I'd love to swap Sonic Hedgehog  for (insert obscure Japanese game with tan translation here), loved that game in 1993"

 

Thing is, as we've covered extensively in the retro folder, there's a million ways to play these games if you want to resort to hacking your console.  To me, emulation is something I really enjoy, but there's always going to be a small sense that you're doing something a bit dodgy.  I have a Japanese Famicom yellowing in the attic and I have my Super Mario World, All-Stars, Stunt Race FX ready to go.  But emulaiton gives me the opportunity to play these without having to resort to getting it all out, blowing on cartridges, and so on. It's just easy to have a Rasperry Pi or a modded Wii under the telly with everything I ever loved on it, ready to go.

 

However, I fully understand why these Mini consoles are so popular.  They are branded, official, proper pieces of kit. They look the part.  They are clean and shiny and new.  You're getting the SNES Mini set up and suddenly you can play Mario All Stars, Stunt Race FX and all those games you loved, as Nintendo intended.  I get the idea of owning these consoles, they are lovely.  A nice shiny, TINY megadrive will be a welcome addition to my setup.

 

What I don't get is, taking all the above into account, you basically have 2 options.  You have the hacker option where you stick whatever roms you like on a modded old console, and play them to your hearts content.  A great option, if a little unofficial and grubby.  Or you have the nice shiny new official mini consoles.  So I don't understand why anyone would be anxiously awaiting the release of, say, the Megadrive Mini, with a sense of anticipation that (a) it will be able to be modded hopefully, and (b) I can't wait to fill it with my hacked roms and do things on it that it was never intended to do.

 

I understand there's a feeling of nostalgia, playing that obscure Megadrive game on the Megadrive hardware.  But it's not Megadrive hardware, is it?  It's a Raspberry Pi in all but name in a nice looking case with an accurate reproduction controller. The 32X and MegaCD for the Mini are literally models in plastic - there's no hardware in them at all.  And yet, you can play all games from all regions, whether CD or cartridge on pretty much anything these days.  A Wii for example is easier to mod than a Snes Mini, so why do people go down that route?

 

Basically, I'm asking, why are people interested in modding Mini consoles to play other games, when you can already do it better with so many old consoles you probably already own? I know that emulation is equated with piracy, but why would you want to go down the piracy route on spanky new shiny official hardware?

 

 

I modded my SNES mini so that i could put the games i wanted to play onto it. The original list of 20 was great, but i wanted my favourites on there too.

 

You get the official nintendo hardware, the lovely snes pads - a fantastic interface (both audo and visual), save states, rewind features - everything you can wish for.

 

I could not do this better with anything i own, like a Pi, its good but not as good as a moded snes mini.

 

Just think of it as nintendo releasing it with 100 of your favourite SNES games rather than 20.

 

 

Same with the Megadrive mini - with three regions varying in the games available, with some notable exclusions, of course prople are going to want to hack it to place their own favourite games onto Sega hardware.

 

Just because you dont seem to understand why anyone would want to do this, doesnt mean its grubby, or anything lesser. 

 

Im just glad people can still buy official SNES and megadrive hardware and have a fantastic experience with a game collection they love.

 

And if i want to put castle of illusion rom on the Asian version through hacking, so what?

 

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what @stefchasaid essentially.  Adding in the novelty of the plastic 32X/mega cd repros that you can get, and adding a few 32x etc games on there, and thats it, thats the appeal.  

 

 

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No, I don't think I put the point across well enough in the OP.  

 

I think the Mini consoles are great.  I think Emulation is great, but it's unofficial and a bit grey.  I can totally understand why people would look forward to the release of a Megadrive Mini, but am confused by those that are eagerly awaiting it so they can remove all the games and stick a load of roms on it.  If you want to play roms, you already can, so why be pre-ordering a mini in the hope that you'll be able to do it on that?  I'd prefer to keep my Mini consoles as God and Nature intended.

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ah ok, well, i think i'd only put snes games on the snes mini and md games on the MD.

 

For clarity, i havent hacked my snes because i was ok with the selection of games.  With the MD i wanted the JPN physical machine but with some of the games from other regions (or some games that dont appear on any (e.g Tatsujin or something).  

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Dumpster, you've made several threads about turning your console into an fantastic emulation machine, so I don't really understand the confusion here. People are turning their Classic machines into fantastic emulation machines. What makes doing it with a SNES Mini different from a Wii U?

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8 minutes ago, dumpster said:

No, I don't think I put the point across well enough in the OP.  

 

I think the Mini consoles are great.  I think Emulation is great, but it's unofficial and a bit grey.  I can totally understand why people would look forward to the release of a Megadrive Mini, but am confused by those that are eagerly awaiting it so they can remove all the games and stick a load of roms on it.  If you want to play roms, you already can, so why be pre-ordering a mini in the hope that you'll be able to do it on that?  I'd prefer to keep my Mini consoles as God and Nature intended.

 

I'd give exactly the same answer as I gave previously, there's nothing there to warrant a different response. 

 

Also I wouldn't remove all the games, nor would I stick a load of ROMs on. I think on the SNES one I took off Mega Man X, added 6 or so new ones, and swapped out FFIII for FFVI with a better translation. The interface is the same, and I improved all the art because the "as God and Nature intended" version actually had inconsistently sized boxart thumbnails in a couple of cases (Earthbound was the standout, I think), it was a bit of a mess really. In the end I've got the best of all worlds with none of the compromises presented by your either/or stance.

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I haven’t hacked my minis yet, but if I do I’ll only add a small selection of personal favourites or missing classics. I’d want to use the existing UI and functionality, not replace it with Retroarch or whatever. I owned a Pi 3 and set it up for emulation and it was a poor user experience, prone to crashes and had a horrible DOS back-end.

 

A Mini Classic which allows me to plays games for that console easily on approximations of the hardware and controllers is much preferable to the rom emulation scene and an 8bitdo.

 

That said I’m not sure why I’m buying a MD Mini as it was inferior to the SNES and the best games have been available elsewhere for ages. At least SNES mini had Starfox 2 and Nintendo games which have aged like fine wine. FOMO I suppose.

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I bought a PS Classic in order to mod it but the thread about it makes it seem such a faff to get it to a state where it's a really good emulation solution that I just haven't bothered.

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2 hours ago, dumpster said:

Thing is, as we've covered extensively in the retro folder, there's a million ways to play these games if you want to resort to hacking your console.  To me, emulation is something I really enjoy, but there's always going to be a small sense that you're doing something a bit dodgy.  I have a Japanese Famicom yellowing in the attic and I have my Super Mario World, All-Stars, Stunt Race FX ready to go.  But emulation gives me the opportunity to play these without having to resort to getting it all out, blowing on cartridges, and so on. It's just easy to have a Rasperry Pi or a modded Wii under the telly with everything I ever loved on it, ready to go.

 

Why don't you take that actual real - custom hardware loaded - Japanese (Super) Famicom, buy a flash drive for it and one of these amazing new HDMI adaptors - https://www.retrogamingcables.co.uk/RAD2X-HDMI-CABLES/SUPER-NINTENDO-PAL-GAMECUBE-N64-HD-RAD2X-HDMI-CABLE

 

 ...then enjoy all the SNES games ever as they were intended on being played all with - consistent low lag - and complete accuracy?

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I have the means to play the games on multiple machines or the PC but having the SNES games YOU want on your own little console is where the appeal lies. You have an official authentic look and also the appeal of joypads from the official machine. A lot of the time the knock of pads are crap and well, the pads you get with these consoles feel just like the original.

 

Also no real faffing around besides hacking it/transferring the games in the first place and the ability of saving your games.

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2 hours ago, dumpster said:

No, I don't think I put the point across well enough in the OP.  

 

I think the Mini consoles are great.  I think Emulation is great, but it's unofficial and a bit grey.  I can totally understand why people would look forward to the release of a Megadrive Mini, but am confused by those that are eagerly awaiting it so they can remove all the games and stick a load of roms on it.  If you want to play roms, you already can, so why be pre-ordering a mini in the hope that you'll be able to do it on that?  I'd prefer to keep my Mini consoles as God and Nature intended.

 

But most people are not "removing all the games" are they?

 

Most people who hacked the snes mini just did so to put their favourite games on there. Im sure _some_  also put some megadrive games on there too, but it seems in the minority.

 

And the experience of playing snes roms on the snes mini is so much better than playing snes roms on a wii, a Pi or PC. The machine, its controller and interface are full of Nintendo charm and magic. And the process is easier, no letterbomb hacks, no unix commands... anyone can do it with hackchi.

 

It's really, really odd and ironic that you, champion of using other machines to load emulators and roms, see this as "grubby", "grey" and you want to keep them as "nature intended".

 

I thnk you have misjudged this, and with the greatest of respect, have come across as a hypocrite.

 

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1 hour ago, ulala said:

It's really, really odd and ironic that you, champion of using other machines to load emulators and roms, see this as "grubby", "grey" and you want to keep them as "nature intended".

 

I think you have misjudged this, and with the greatest of respect, have come across as a hypocrite.

 

 

Oh my!

Well, this post is more of a discussion point - I don't begrudge anyone doing anything with the stuff they own - I just don't see the appeal myself of buying something to immediately alter it to make it something different.  My favourite emulation piece is the Wii, because it's out of date, everyone bought one, they are in lofts, they are at Car Boot Sales or Cash Generator.  They have a whole new lease of life as an emulation machine.

 

To use myself as an example, I really like that my Nintendo Switch has a load of emulators on, and it's become an essential travelling companion, even when I'm the driver! (lolz) but I wouldn't recommend buying one for that purpose.  I had one anyway and wasn't using it for anything other than Mario and Zelda so I looked into what else it could do.  Some of the posts on here seemed to be saying that people couldn't wait to get a Megadrive Mini on launch day and hack it asap to put better games on.  To me, I didn't see the point of that, especially when it's not proven it will be moddable anyway (although it is very likely).  What you have with the Mini consoles is a proper, branded official product and that makes it better than emulation, so turning into an emulation machine seems almost a step backwards.  But like I say, I don't begrudge anyone doing it, I'd just personally like to keep my new toy pristine, maybe add extra games later when I'm bored with the ones supplied.  Do all the emulation on a Wii with a broken CD drive that would have gone in a skip otherwise. But it's fair if that's just me.

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I've kept both my NES and SNES minis as they were when I bought them and intend to keep them that way, I'd do the same when I eventually get the PlayStation and Mega Drive ones too.

 

But if someone wants to edit the list of games on theirs and make a collections that's curated to their tastes/memories of those consoles, then that's totally fine too.

 

Are there games on, say the PlayStation Classic, that I have fonder memories of than something like Rainbow Six which pretty much everybody agrees with shouldn't be there? Definetly, but I've got other methods of playing other games, but I'm not going to (G-)Police what others do with theirs.

 

But what better way to emulate your original experience of a machine than by having a miniature version of it with the games you want to run on it?

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The answer is that the Mini's are official hardware. Pi with a Mega Drive case is not official SEGA approved hardware.

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My NES classic sits unmodded. I did have it modded when it first came out so I could put SNES stuff on it. 
 

then Nintendo announced the SNES mini so I unmodded it. 
 

My SNES mini got modded to add Final Fight Japanese version (favourite SNES game ever), super tennis and like above, fix FF3 with proper translation and real title screen and name. 
 

My psx classic, currently most played console in my collection, has been a bit of a project. I’ve swapped a few images out for ntsc versions and better games such as Toshinden for Bust a Move 2. Cover art has been swapped where the included versions were an abomination (FF7, Resi). Then there’s trying to make the emulation better with ini files, replacing bioses and disabling processes. Honesty, I’m enjoying the tinkering as much as playing it. 
 

the PC engine and Megadrive will be on my list in the future. At least with these, the companies get some royalties rather than the raspberry pi fully loaded piracy images. 

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I’ve got a SNES Mini and do intend to add some games on eventually but won’t do yet until I’ve played through the majority of what’s on there initially. Wanted to keep myself limited to those for the time being to avoid that syndrome of too much choice. Also a lot of the games I’ve played in the 90’s and would like to return to and some I haven’t had chance yet. 

 

As for why I use one, well that lies in the fact I don’t really use anything else for emulation. I have a laptop but don’t like gaming with it as I prefer to lie down and use my TV. Connecting the laptop usually involves more messing about and I just love that the SNES Mini works by switching it on and that’s it. It’s easy to carry about too. I love the official pads and so far it’s super tight with no crashes or glitches at all. My TV and laptop don’t work well with one another either as I have issues with how it displays and smoothness. Also lag appears when I do that too. It’s perfectly fine with the MINI and I’ve enjoyed Contra on hard without lag issues affecting play. 

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7 hours ago, grindmouse said:

I haven’t hacked my minis yet, but if I do I’ll only add a small selection of personal favourites or missing classics. I’d want to use the existing UI and functionality

 

Both my SNES and PS mini are hacked while retaining the exact same UI and functionality (although the PS mini loses the two-player functionality in the process). In other words, they look like the original minis but with more games on it.

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One: the Mini misses some definitive titles that I want to include in a one-stop MD shop (Revenge of Shinobi, Thunderforce 4, S3&K, some various EA titles I loved)

 

Two: I’ve got some ROM hacks with improvements (better voice samples, tweaked colour palettes, etc)

 

Three: I don’t give a fuck about faffing around with one of those Pi things or any other emubox but I love the idea of having a cute little SNES and a cute little MD handy on HDMI.

 

 

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I've not yet hacked my SNES Mini, initially for much the same reason as Soulstar where I didn't want to overwhelm the thing with so much choice that I play nothing. Unfortunately, that was achieved by all of my other gaming hardware anyway, so each and every one of those 21 games sits unfinished, two years on, as my mini collection grows to four.

 

I'm thinking I should just go ahead and stick ISS Deluxe and Super Mario All Stars on.

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