Raspberry Pi and Arduino-Based Nixie Entertainment System

What first started as a Nixie tube clock that Bradley W. Lewis was commissioned to build as a wedding gift ended up as a hybrid between that an a Nintendo Entertainment System that will make your jaw drop.

The following image depicts the Nixie Entertainment System with the final paint job and decals applied. However, it took Bradley a lot of time and quite a few steps to get there. He first intended to build a Nixie tube clock that just resembles a NES console, but then he figured out that turning this into a NES emulator would be some much better. Since Bradley found himself having a surplus of NES console buttons, he decided to put those to good use and started building the Nixie Entertainment System.

Using a milling machine, Bradley made room inside a wooden box for a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino Uno micro-controller and several other components. As seen below, the reimagined NES has quite a few ports at the back: two USB ports for the gaming controllers, an extra RCA port for video, a USB port for ArduiNIX and a LAN port. The red and black buttons are used for setting the correct hour and minutes on the clock.

An HDMI port, along with an extra headphone jack were implemented on a side. The four Nixie tubes display the time in a very steampunk-ish manner, but the rest of the design is quite modern.

This is, after all, an entertainment system that includes a NES emulator based on Raspberry Pi. The following picture includes some of the games that can be played on the Nixie Entertainment System. Bradley claims to have had a lot of fun playing these retro titles with his daughter, and we should take his word for granted. Still, this NES can do more than just run games. Bradley says on his website that it can also be used for browsing the web and checking the mail. The added functionality makes the Nixie Entertainment System even better!

Additional photos and details on how the Nixie Entertainment System came to be are available on the Sloth Furnace website, Bradley’s virtual home that abounds with steampunk goodies.

Bradley keeps being praised on Twitter and Facebook, and quite deservedly so! The Nixie Entertainment System is among the best projects to have a Raspberry Pi at their heart, and the experience of playing retro platformers on such a unique gaming rig must be unforgettable!

If you liked this post, please check the Nixie tube clock gadget and this Nixie tube clock in a bottle.