BeagleSNES: Now You Can Build Your Own Embedded SNES

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There is no denying that Raspberry Pi is at the top of the heap when it comes to mind-share — and profit-share — of small computers.  The Raspberry Pi has revolutionized not only the way we think about small computers, but has also given us a glimpse into a future of nearly disposable, single-duty, utilitarian appliances.  But the Pi does have it’s competitors, many of which we’ve reported on here at The Powerbase.  One of those competitors is the Beagle Board, and for it, a fully bootable SNES appliance has been made.


Here is the description from the developer Andrew Henderson

BeagleSNES is an embedded Linux appliance that turns your BeagleBoard-xM hardware into a Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It combines the SNES9X emulator, a custom GUI front-end for selecting games, and patched bootloader with Linux kernel to create a stand-alone console capable of playing SNES software. BeagleSNES boots a Linux kernel and OS from the BeagleBoard’s MMC SD card, allowing you to update your BeagleSNES system by mounting the SD card under Linux and then directly modifying its contents. SNES ROM images, as well as saved games (for the SNES titles that originally saved games to their internal SRAM), are also stored onto the SD card.

For authenticity sake, Beagle SNES is configured for S-Video output.  That’s a bit better than the RF-switch you had daisy chained to your Sega Genesis and basic cable connection when you were a kid, but will still effectively hook up to your dusty old CRT TV and feel like the real deal.  Perhaps the coolest thing about BeagleSNES is the fact that it does not require a keyboard and a mouse.  Just a controller.  Andrew mentions on the project’s homepage that the only ‘supported’ controller right now is the Tomee USB SNES gamepad, but mentioned that anything with a sufficient number of buttons should work fine as well.   So it could be assumed that the real-deal would work with just an adapter.

At the same time, I’d like to go out on a limb and say that this is probably good, legit software judging by Ryan’s email address (@icculus).  It seems that Andrew has some level of association with Linux gaming legend Ryan Icculus by only a slim degree of separation.

Source | BeagleSNES


Dean Howell

Dean Howell has over a decade of experience with Linux and nearly 2 decades of experience with computers in general. Currently, Dean is Editor-in-chief of The Powerbase and also works for one of the world's largest providers of Linux-based NVRs.

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  • Andrew Henderson

    Hello Dean. I am Andrew Henderson, the author of BeagleSNES. I noticed that some traffic was coming my way from thepowerbase.com, so I stopped by to see what was going on. I wish that you had contacted me prior to writing this article, since there are many more aspects of the BeagleSNES project that I think would be of more interest to your readers than the particular points that you mentioned. Probably the most important point is that BeagleSNES now also runs on the BeagleBone Black platform, which is a direct competitor cost-wise to the the Raspberry Pi. If you’d like to do a follow-up article or interview, I believe that I can provide you with a great deal of content that your readers might be interested in. Feel free to contact me at hendersa (at) icculus.org.

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