Up until late 2013, there were only a few limited and
expensive ways to play original NES & Famicom games in RGB. Luckily, there are currently
many different options available and more to come.
NES RGB mods:
These are different options that require you to de-solder the PPU of your original
NES system. Each of these mods are complicated and de-soldering the PPU requires special equipment (such as
the Hakko 808 -->), which can be tricky and expensive. Unless you've done something like this before, I
suggest using the recommended modding services linked below.
This kit uses the NES' own PPU to get true RGB
output. You can select between the original, PC-10 and another "improved" color palette. As it uses
the NES' original hardware, there should be no glitches (other than glitches you'd have found
without the mod). At the moment, this is the best choice for people who want to mod their existing
NES for RGB. Also, there's a detailed topic on Shmups if anyone needs installation
This is an HDMI-out kit, designed by Game-tech & Kevtris. Much like the NESRGB,
it uses the original PPU and CPU, so it's not a "clone" solution. It offers HDMI output at all
standard HD resolutions, up to 1080p.
This is the original NES RGB mod. The output quality is
excellent, however there are a few shortcomings, such as color differences on some games and minor
glitches on others. Also, people get different results with different chips. I've seen
some installations that looked flawless and others that have terrible jailbars.
- Single color palette
- The only solution using Nintendo's official RGB chip.
Pre-made NES systems:
There are a few options for people that want to buy a system that outputs RGB (or HDMI) with no modification
This is a NES that's built around a brand new, custom motherboard, but utilizes the CPU and PPU
from original NES / Famicom systems. It's expensive, so most DIY's won't be interested, but
it looks pretty cool. I'll try to get one in for review as soon as it's available.
- EXPENSIVE, often not available.
- Supports NES & Famicom, 4 controllers, Famicom expansion audio, stereo sound, Famicom
The Titler is a
NES/Famicom that is made by Sharp and was officially licensed from Nintendo. It has a different
video chip in it that can produce RGB natively with a minimal modification (I included it in this
section, since the mod is much easier than the ones described above). I’ve seen
Titlers sell for around a thousand dollars on eBay, so this option is for serious collectors
- Modification required for RGB
- Requires an adapter for NES games.
Other: Here's a few other things worth
This is a custom PPU board that replaces the original.
It was a project originally scheduled for release in 2014, but the developer discontinued working
on it and released the source files to the public.
This is simply an output connector, but I thought I'd list it, as it's directly
relevant to the mods above: This connector allows you to use a SNES RGB cable with any
system. It's available as just a connector, or an entire replacement for top-loading NES
systems (A/V Famicom style).
- "generic" and top-loader versions available.
- Looks like a real Nintendo multi-out port.
My Life In Gaming recently did a great video explaining most of the options above,
as well as picture comparisons:
Just an FYI: The RGB quality of the system's I've tested (NESRGB &
PC-10) are identical - so identical that it's not even worth posting comparison pics. Unless otherwise noted,
you can assume all RGB-output of the methods listed above have the same video quality.