The TinyTendo – The World’s Smallest “REAL” NES

Redherring32 designed and developed the world’s smallest portable NES that uses authentic Nintendo hardware.  This project is called TinyTendo.  While the size of the final product is absolutely incredible, the manner in which redherring32 achieved this is even more impressive.

First, I want to start off with a bit of history.  You may know redherring32 from some of his previous projects, one of which is the OpenTendo.  OpenTendo is a open source, complete reverse engineering of the original Nintendo Entertainment System’s motherboard.  After redherring32 completed that project he was able to start the TinyTendo project which leveraged heavily from his findings from OpenTendo.

With his knowledge of the NES’ motherboard, he was able to shrink it down to it’s bare essentials.  But he still had one issue.  The size of the NES’ PPU and CPU were just too large.  So he had to get creative and eventually devised a plan to make them smaller.  This involved cutting thise chips down to a size no larger than one square centimeter and sanded down the bottom to expose the chip’s traces and die.

Now that he was able to trim down the CPU and PPU, the hardest part was essentially done and the rest just stemmed from there.  He gave himself a few constraints to guide the rest of the projects design.  He wanted the shell of the TinyTendo to be exactly the same outer dimensions as a Game Boy DMG.  Additionally, he wanted the game cartridges to also be the same as a Game Boy’s.

Speaking of the game carts, redherring32 sought the help of another familiar modder, BucketMouse.  BucketMouse has extensive experience with reverse engineering retro video game carts, ranging from the Sega Genesis, all the way to the NES.  His expertise in this area was vital to shrinking down the TinyTendo carts.  BucketMouse designed a few different TinyTendo cart types to support different games.  The carts are also hardware accurate and use modern readily available components.

So at the end of the day, the countless hours that redherring32 (and his collaborators) has dedicated to this project has really paid off.  He has successfully made the world’s smallest NES!

Now I have to caveat that this will not be made into a kit for purchase, nor will there be sold as fully assembled units.  Redherring32 has made this project completely open source for anyone who would want to make one themselves.  I do have to warn you however, it is a very, very difficult mod.

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