As you may have noticed from my SNES Classic Mini unboxing post, I managed to get my hands on this beautiful machine! It is a wonderful piece of kit that comes with 21 games built in, which is just awesome. However, the SNES has hundreds of amazing games, so I’m sure there is an absolute tonne of them that you wished were on the SNES Classic Mini but aren’t.
Well, they can be with Hackchi2.
Hackchi2 is a program that allows you to flash SNES ROMs onto your Classic Mini, expanding the number of games that you have to play on the console. It’s also super easy to do, which is a huge positive. But, since it can be a bit nerve-racking at first, I thought I’d put together this Hackchi2 Tutorial.
Disclaimer: you are only legally allowed to have ROMs that are backups of games that you already own.
Getting Started With Hackchi2
The first thing you’ll need to do is download the Hackchi2 program, which you can find on the program’s GitHub page here. There are a few different options, but I would recommend downloading the standard ZIP file version (not the debug version). This way, you can unzip it anywhere you want on your PC or Mac, meaning that if you ever want to put additional plugins into it, you can find it easily.
Once it is downloaded and unzips, the program is ready to use. Just make sure that, if you are on Windows, you set it to open as an Administrator (right click on the program, and click Run as Administrator). Oh, and if you’re like me and you find that there is an issue with your computer when trying to get everything set up, you can always call an IT support company. This will mean that it is now ready and setup for the next step.
Now inside Hackchi2, select the version of the SNES Mini Classic you have (SNES for Europe and the States, or Super Famicom for Japan), and you’re in. From here, the first thing you’ll want to do is go to Kernel in the top menu and click on Dump Kernel. This is so that you can get a backup of the original system from your SNES Mini Classic – that way, if ever something goes wrong, you can do a factory restore.
After confirming that you want to dump the kernel, a box will pop up with instructions on what to do next. This is the point where you need to be running Hackchi2 as an admin.
Firstly, ensure your SNES Classic Mini is switched off, and then connect it to your computer via a USB cable. Next, press and hold the RESET button before turning the console’s power switch one. Keep holding the RESET button for about 5 – 10 seconds, and when you let go of it, the power light should stay off. Once this is all done, you need to click on Install Driver. A DOS box will appear and install the necessary driver, and then tell you to press ENTER. Do so and everything is set up, and Hackchi2 will start creating a backup of the current SNES Classic Mini system.
Make sure you put this dump file somewhere safe! I have three copies on my PC, one in Google Drive, one emailed to myself and one on my phone. That is probably overkill, but better to be safe than sorry, right?
Preparing The Games within Hackchi2
Now that Hackchi2 is all set up and ready to go, and you’ve backed up your SNES Classic Mini, it is time to get the games ready as well. The first thing to do is click on the big Add More Games button, which will bring up the standard file upload window. Find the games you want to add to the SNES Classic Mini and click open.
All of the games you’ve selected will appear within Hackchi2’s left-hand window. Oh, and please note, you can add both ZIP files and SMC files, as Hackchi2 will process both of them anyway. Also, you can always add more to the list by clicking on the big button again.
From here, select all of the games in Hackchi2’s list, right click and select “download box art for selected games”. Hackchi2 will then go off and crawl Google Images to find the box art for each game because, let’s be honest, we all want the box art to appear in the games list when you start the SNES Classic Mini up, don’t we? Anyway, once Hackchi2 has finished, you should go through the games and check which box art appears on the bottom right of Hackchi’s screen.
If you’re not happy with what the software found, you can click on the Google button and choose your own from the image search results.
Moving The Games from Hackchi2 to the SNES Classic Mini
The final step to take, once you’ve gotten the games added to Hackchi2 and downloaded the box art, is to actually move them across to the SNES Classic Mini itself. This is, by far, the easiest step. All you have to do is make sure your SNES Classic Mini is connected (the same way you did when backing up the system), and click on the “Synchronize” button the bottom right.
Hackchi2 will ask you to confirm you want to flash the games to the console, so just click yes. Hackchi2 will then process the games into a kernel, ask you to click “ok”, and finally start uploading the games to the SNES Classic Mini. Once a pop up appears simply saying “done”, that’s all there is to it. You can now disconnect the SNES Mini Classic from your computer, connect it back up to your TV and play all of the new games you’ve added to the console.
Note: Don’t add too many at one time. The SNES Classic Mini has a total storage space of 300mb, which is a lot considering that SNES ROMs are very small. However, this hard drive space is also used for the save states. So don’t fill it up!
And That’s All Folks
As you can see, adding games to the SNES Classic Mini with Hackchi2 is really easy once you know what you are doing. It’s a quick and simple process that you can repeat over and over to your heart’s content.
Just make sure you don’t fill up the console’s hard disk, or you won’t be able to use the save state feature anymore. On top of this, don’t lose your original Kernel Dump, just because you want to be safe.
Have you got a SNES Classic Mini? Would you, or have you used Hackchi2? Let me know in the comments below!