How-To make a Portable Gaming USB Flash Drive

I loved playing the original NES when I was a kid.  Although I upgraded as Nintendo came out with new systems for the most part (thanks mom & dad!) the NES was the first and the best in my opinion.  Regardless of what your favorite system was you can follow these steps but replace the files with the correct ones for the system of your liking.  Keep in mind that this is a great way to give the kids something to do while out away from home assuming you have computer access. 

If you are like most people I know you have a few old flash drives lying around or stuff in a drawer.  Don’t throw them away!  Even small storage capabilities (256 mb) can be extremely useful and is recommended for use in this project.  Once we are done you can simply plug your flash drive into any computer with a usb and play your favorite games without installing anything on the host computer.  You can also save your game progress to the flash drive so you can pick up right where you left off!  Saving a notepad sheet to keep track of game codes is helpful as well.

So how can you make yourself one of these 'flash drives of gaming goodness' you ask?  It’s actually pretty simple and you do not need much computer knowledge to get this done.  Let’s get started!

  1. Grab a old flash drive out of the junk drawer and plug it into your computer. 
  2. Download the jnes emulator to your desktop.  You can Google search Nintendo emulators or whatever console you favor.  The emulator I find easiest to use and had the widest range of games is the JNES and will be the one I use for the purpose of this article but the steps would be very similar if not the same for the other ones. 
  3. Double click on the JNES executable you just downloaded to begin the installation process and when it askes where to install the files be sure to point the file path to your flash drive (usually E: or F: ).  It should only take a few seconds for the install, remember the NES is an 8 bit system and is incredibly small by today’s standards!
  4. It is time to download the games you want.  While you are on the JNES website navigate over to the game file download page and search the listing to find your favorites.  If you are like me you will end up going page by page to see all the games since I can never remember all the names.  Each game file is almost an instant download and it doesn’t take long to get a bunch of games.  I wanted to make a local copy on my computer as well so I saved the game files to a folder on my desktop and then copied them over but you can save them directly to your flash drive to keep things simple.
  5. Now with the system installed and your huge collection of games you are ready to play!  Clicking on any of the game file icons for the first time will result in  a pop up message asking what program to use to run the file.  You need to select Browse and navigate to the flash drive then into the jnes folder.  You can then click the jnes icon but before selecting Ok to continue you should check the ‘always use this program with this file type’ box to eliminate this step in the future.

Congrats!  You just put an entire gaming console with countless games and hours of entertainment into an old flash drive that seemed too small to be of any use. Don’t be afraid to add more consoles and their games.  You may be surprised at how many of these older games (or consoles) you can fit on a half a gig!  Happy gaming!