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How to hack your SNES Classic Mini

It’s now possible to hack your SNES Classic Mini thanks to Hackchi2, but it will void the warranty

The original SNES offered a library of roughly 1,750 games, so you’d be forgiven for feeling a little miffed by the 21 pre-installed titles on the SNES Classic Mini. There are some gems among the 21, without a doubt, but if you want to explore the entire range of the SNES catalogue you’re going to need to do some DIY. Fortunately, it’s just as easy to increase your games library as the original NES Mini – here’s how to hack your SNES Classic Mini.

READ NEXT: Our SNES Classic Mini review

Hacking the SNES Mini: A quick disclaimer

It should come as no surprise to find out that hacking a device is in its very nature a little bit legally dubious. At the moment, the legality of hacking a SNES Mini is unclear; the only thing we can say with any certainty is that doing so will void your warranty with Nintendo. If you’ve only just purchased your SNES Mini, you may want to consider having a bit of patience before you take a metaphorical crowbar to it. These tiny consoles are hard to come by, after all.

That being said, there are reports of an Easter Egg hidden by Nintendo that is designed to be viewed only by those of you brave enough to hack the SNES Mini. Given how easy it was to hack the NES Mini – and that the SNES Mini is built on the exact same core architecture – it’s not surprising that Nintendo has anticipated the hackers.

Hacking a SNES Mini: What does hacking get you?

Using Hackchi2 (more on that later) you’ll be able to access 300MB of storage reserved for save files. With this space free to access, all you need to do is grab a game ROM of your choice and plonk it on the SNES Mini – any ROM you choose will be automatically converted into a file format that is compatible with the console.

300MB is nothing by today’s standards, but don’t panic: the largest game file size we’ve found is Tales of Phantasia, weighing in at a gut-busting 6MB. Most SNES games will sit between 2-3MB, so you won’t have to worry about running out of space unless you’re on a mission to install all 1,750 SNES games.

Hacking a SNES Mini: How do you do it?

The process of hacking a SNES Mini is wonderfully simple, and will leave you feeling like a bone-fide tech genius. The first step is to download the Hackchi2 software from Github onto a Windows PC. Once you start the installer (which should be called Hackchi2_web_installer.exe) it will guide you through the process of installing the Hackchi2 software on your SNES Mini and downloading the ROM of your choice. And that’s it. Provided you followed the instructions, you’re good to go.

Hacking a SNES Mini: Things to keep in mind

As every great hacker knows, there will always be a few pitfalls and obstacles to contend with during the hacking process. The most significant of these is that you must be sure to download US-language ROMs (rather than those from the UK/EU) to avoid problems with refresh rates when playing.

Hackchi2 is an impressive bit of software that runs almost invisibly, allowing you to make use of the SNES Mini’s pause/resume, rewind, and save state features on any of the ROMs you install. It also offers a spectrum of more advanced tools for users who know what they’re doing; we recommend avoiding these unless you’re certain that you are one of those users.

There are of course limits to Hackchi2’s powers: the creator of the tool estimates that it will function correctly with around 75% of original SNES games. If you want to keep things running smoothly, we suggest avoiding convoluted folders-within-folders. Users report slower loading times when the console has to navigate multi-branching folder structures.

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