Since the NES Classic was first announced, fans have been wondering if it would be possible to somehow add more games to Nintendo's diminutive retro console, which comes with 30 curated titles and no official options to add more. But over the weekend, news broke of the first successful NES Classic hack that manages to add more NES games to Nintendo's console.
As expected, the hack relies on the fact that the NES Classic is, in essence, simply a Linux computer running an emulator, which in theory makes it easier to modify than Nintendo’s proprietary software on its other consoles. By connecting the console to a computer and booting it up in FEL mode (a recovery mode built into the version of Linux the NES Classic runs), you can add more games to the device. This works by dumping the entire software onto the computer, copying over the new games, and then overwriting the original software with the new, modified version.
The hack has already grown considerably in the last few days since the original announcement, with the latest version offering a GUI-based tool called Hakchi that automates the process of adding the ROM files, complete with metadata and cover artwork to fit in with Nintendo's officially offered titles.
There are instructions including in the video above, and while they seem pretty simple at this point, keep in mind that if something goes wrong, you’re probably outside the limits of your warranty here. Additionally, along with the technical know-how to get the games installed, you'll also need ROM files for the new NES games (its legality is typically dubious at best). Interestingly, Nintendo's decision to make the NES Classic completely disconnected from the internet makes it almost impossible for the company to block the hack on existing devices through any firmware updates.
So, if you're willing to risk your console (which is still almost impossible to find in stores) and can make peace with the legality of ROMs, know that it's at least possible to add more games to the NES Classic.