Hacking the SNES Classic to add more games is one of the hottest mods for retro gaming fans. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you step-by-step through the entire process, from understanding the benefits, choosing games, hacking using Hakchi CE, adding ROMs, organizing your library, and resetting to factory defaults.
As an IT professional with over a decade of experience in hardware hacking and software modding, I‘ve helped hundreds of fellow retro gamers unlock their SNES Classics. By the end of this guide, you‘ll have expert knowledge for adding massive game libraries and enhancing gameplay. Let‘s get started!
An Introduction to SNES Classic Hacking
Here‘s a quick primer before we dive into the technical details:
The SNES Classic is a miniaturized, plug-and-play version of the beloved 90s Super Nintendo console.
It comes preloaded with only 21 classic SNES titles.
Using a Windows PC and hacking software called Hakchi CE, we can add hundreds more games.
Game additions are done by adding ROM files, which are digital copies of game cartridges.
This process is fully reversible, allowing you to reset back to factory defaults.
As long as you own the original cartridge, making ROM copies for personal use is legally protected under copyright laws.
Now let‘s look at why you should hack your SNES Classic and the requirements.
The Benefits of Hacking Your SNES Classic
Here are some of the main benefits you‘ll enjoy:
Massive Game Library
The default SNES Classic only contains 21 built-in games. By hacking your system, you can add hundreds of titles across multiple retro consoles, including:
- Super Nintendo (SNES)
- Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
- Sega Genesis
- Nintendo Game Boy
- Nintendo 64
- Sony PlayStation
- Atari systems
The possibilities are nearly endless! Having so many iconic retro games in one place is any classic gamer‘s dream.
The RetroArch emulator software enables save states, cheat codes, filters, and other enhancements when you add games. This allows:
- Saving progress anytime
- Rewinding and fast-forwarding
- Using cheat codes for infinite lives, items, etc.
- Applying custom visual filters for nostalgia
- Remapping controls
Hacking unlocks the SNES Classic‘s full potential for customized retro gaming.
With so many titles added, organization is key. Hakchi CE lets you neatly sort games into folders by console or other categories. This keeps your mega library manageable.
It‘s 100% Reversible
Concerned about messing up your SNES Classic? No worries. The hacking process is totally reversible, allowing you to reset back to factory condition at any time.
Your nostalgic mini console will remain safe throughout the process.
Legal Game Copies
As long as you legally own the original physical game cartridge, you are free to create digital copies for personal use on emulators under copyright fair use laws.
Just don‘t download pirated ROMs online—support game publishers by owning the originals.
SNES Classic Hack Requirements
To hack your SNES Classic, you will need:
- SNES Classic console
- A Windows PC (the hack software only works on Windows)
- USB cable to connect SNES Classic to your PC
- Original game ROM files to add (your own legal backups)
Optional but recommended:
- USB hub if your PC lacks spare USB ports
- MicroSD card for storing ROMs to simplify transferring to multiple devices
Let‘s move on to choosing which games to add.
Choosing Games to Add to SNES Classic
The fun part is picking which retro titles to include on your hacked SNES Classic!
Here are some tips for curating your ultimate classic games library:
Consider All Retro Consoles
While the SNES Classic plays 16-bit Super Nintendo games natively, the hacking process lets you add ROMs from other consoles too, including:
- 8-bit NES
- 16-bit Sega Genesis
- 8-bit Game Boy and Game Boy Color
- 32-bit Nintendo 64
- Disc-based PlayStation games
Survey your existing game collection across all retro platforms. Check your old cartridges and discs for classics to add.
Curate by Genre
Gather titles covering various genres to fulfill all your retro gaming desires:
- Platformers (Super Mario, Sonic, etc.)
- RPGs (Zelda, Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest)
- Fighting (Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat)
- Action (Contra, Castlevania, Mega Man)
- Adventure (Metroid, Star Fox)
- Sports (Madden, NBA Jam, Tony Hawk‘s)
A good genre mix provides gaming diversity. Include your personal favorites.
Manage Space Limitations
The SNES Classic has limited storage, typically around 300MB. With an average ROM size around 25MB, you can add 10-20 games safely.
To maximize capacity, consider trimming your list to focus on top 10-15 "must have" games per console. Quality over quantity!
You can also add more games than storage allows, but you‘ll have to remove some to add new ones. A microSD card helps by storing your full library for easy swapping.
Okay, with your desired games selected, let‘s move on to the hacking process!
Step-by-Step Guide to Hack the SNES Classic with Hakchi CE
Follow these steps to hack your SNES Classic using the Hakchi CE software on Windows:
Step 1: Download and Extract Hakchi CE
Hakchi CE is a user-friendly, open-source program for hacking the SNES Classic. It‘s trusted by the mod community.
Visit hakchiresources.com and download the latest release of Hakchi CE. It will download as a ZIP folder.
Extract the contents to a memorable spot on your PC, like your desktop. Delete the downloaded ZIP afterward, leaving only the extracted folder.
Tip: Avoid installing Hakchi CE in a system folder like Program Files which may block write access. I suggest extracting it to your desktop or documents.
Step 2: Launch Hakchi CE as Administrator
Browse to the Hakchi CE folder and launch the "hakchi.exe" application.
Be sure to right-click hakchi.exe and Run as Administrator – this grants the necessary system access. Click Yes on the UAC prompt.
Accept any other startup prompts that appear on first run. Hakchi CE is now ready to hack your console!
Step 3: Connect SNES Classic to PC
With the SNES Classic powered off, connect it to your PC using the included USB cable.
If your PC lacks available USB ports, connect a USB hub first, then plug the SNES Classic into the hub.
Having separate USB connections for Hakchi CE and your SNES Classic can avoid issues.
Step 4: Install Custom Kernel
In Hakchi CE, go to Kernel > Install/Repair. This will prompt you to install a custom kernel on your SNES Classic which enables game additions and mods.
Carefully follow the on-screen instructions:
- Hold Reset on the SNES Classic console
- While holding Reset, power on the console
- Release Reset after a few seconds, leaving power on
- Wait for kernel installation to complete
This may prompt a driver installation on your PC. Allow it to proceed.
Once complete, your SNES Classic can now accept game additions and run mods.
Tip: Having connection issues? Try a different USB port, cable, or hub. The connection process can be finicky.
Step 5: Add RetroArch Cores
RetroArch is an all-in-one emulator program we‘ll install to run games from other consoles.
In Hakchi CE, go to Modules > Mod Store. Install RetroArch Neo and any additional RetroArch cores needed for your ROMs.
For example, to play NES games, install the QuickNES core. For Sega Genesis games, install Genesis Plus GX. Only install what‘s needed.
Here are common cores:
- QuickNES – 8-bit Nintendo NES games
- SNES9x – 16-bit SNES games
- Genesis Plus GX – 16-bit Sega Genesis
- Gambatte – Game Boy & Game Boy Color
- Mupen64Plus – Nintendo 64
- PCSX ReARMed – PlayStation 1
Add the necessary cores for each console ROM type you‘ll include.
Step 6: Install Extra Modules
Still in Modules, go to Install Extra Modules and check all the RetroArch cores you added. This will install them onto your SNES Classic.
Wait for the process to complete. Your console now has emulators ready for other console ROMs!
Step 7: Add ROMs
Now you can finally add ROMs – these are your game files. In Hakchi CE, click Add More Games and select your ROMs.
Remember to add ROMs for each console to the corresponding emulator:
- Add NES ROMs and set core to QuickNES
- Add SNES ROMs to the default Canoe emulator
- Sega Genesis ROMs use Genesis Plus GX
- Game Boy uses Gambatte
- Nintendo 64 uses Mupen64Plus
- PlayStation games use PCSX ReARMed
Mixing up cores can cause games to crash. Set each properly.
You can also right-click games to download box art assets for a nicer menu display.
Step 8: Organize Your Games
Under Structure, choose how you want games organized. I suggest "Folders" to keep things tidy.
You can tweak the folders later. Good organization helps manage large libraries.
Step 9: Synchronize Games to SNES Classic
Finally, under Synchronization, choose to sync your games to the SNES Classic. This loads the ROMs and mods onto the device.
The initial sync may take a while depending on how many games you added. Wait for completion.
Your SNES Classic now has all your games!
Playing Your Hacked SNES Classic
After completing the hack process, here are tips for playing and managing your expanded library:
New games will appear in folders on the home screen
Open folders to browse and launch titles
Favorites can be pinned to the home screen for quick access
Press Select + Down to save states and Select + Right to load
Use Select + Start to open RetroArch settings
To reset a frozen game, press Reset on the console
If you added too many games, remove some ROMs in Hakchi CE and re-sync
A microSD card lets you store your full library to easily swap games
Enjoy your hacked SNES Classic! Try using save states, cheats, rewinding, and other enhancements for each game. The possibilities are endless with so many nostalgic classics at your fingertips.
Resetting to Factory Settings
If you ever want to undo the hack and restore your SNES Classic to factory condition, follow these simple steps:
Connect your SNES Classic to your PC as outlined earlier
Launch Hakchi CE if not still open
Go to Kernel > Advanced > Factory Reset
Confirm reset when prompted
Wait patiently for the process to complete
Your SNES Classic will reboot into factory condition, with only the default 21 games present and the hack fully reversed.
Common Questions and Troubleshooting
Here are some common issues and questions about hacking the SNES Classic:
Q: Can I hack a SNES Classic Mini purchased in Europe or Japan?
A: Yes! The region of your SNES Classic does not matter. The process works the same worldwide.
Q: Help! Games are crashing on a black screen!
A: You likely matched a ROM with the wrong emulator core. Double check your cores assigned in Hakchi CE.
Q: Will this hack work on an NES Classic?
A: Yes, Hakchi CE can hack NES Classics as well. The process is nearly identical.
Q: After syncing, my SNES Classic won‘t power on!
A: Your kernel is likely corrupted. Reconnect to Hakchi CE and re-install the custom kernel following the instructions earlier.
Q: Can I damage my SNES Classic if I mess something up?
A: Bricking your console is highly unlikely. At worst, you may need to factory reset it if things go wrong. Just follow each step carefully.
Still having issues? The Hakchi CE community is hugely helpful for troubleshooting. Ask your question in their forums for personalized advice.
As you can see, hacking your SNES Classic takes a bit of effort and technical skill – but the payoff is massive once completed.
With your customized firmware and hundreds of retro classics added across multiple consoles, the SNES Classic becomes an amazing all-in-one retro gaming machine.
Just remember to make legal backups of games you physically own. Avoid piracy by dumping your own cartridges and discs.
I hope you found this comprehensive guide helpful for unlocking the true power of your SNES Classic. Game on! Let me know if you have any other tips or mod suggestions.