It's the Raspberry Pi -- a fully functional miniature computer about the size of an index card.
I decided to build a stand-alone classic console emulator: plug it into a TV, plug some controllers into the USB ports, and choose from a list of hundreds of games from the NES, SNES, Atari, Sega, or GBA (all in one). One thing that's awesome about the games on those early 3-4th generation consoles is that they took up so little memory that now you can pack thousands onto the same small console.
So that I won't have to deal with the bare circuit board, my plan's to install a UNIX-based operating system like RetroPie onto the Pi, hollow out a broken NES, rig the Pi into it, connect the NES's power/reset buttons, and alter all of the case's ports to support USB controllers, HDMI output, etc.
I'll be uploading photos of my progress onto this same post.
20140812: Got an old NES from my bud Ryan; sexy but it's no longer amongst the living
20140812: Took out its electronics, save the power and reset buttons which I plan to splice with the Pi
20140812: Spray-painted the upper case -- few coats of jet blue and a few coats of clear acrylic. Jet blue's becoming my signature, apparently.
20140812: Downloaded (entirely legally, of course) a few hundred Nintendo and GBA games to load onto the hard disk.
Wrapped up the electronics. Rigged some HDMI and USB extenders to plug the monitor and controls onto the old ports. A separate circuit let me integrate the original power and reset buttons. Liberal use of hot glue.
The original operating system is Raspbian (UNIX-based). Had to do lots of configuring to get everything working smoothly.
Now, all you need to do is press the power button on the NES, and the emulation software boots up asking which gaming system you want to play. I have 1,000 NES games loaded and am working on adding some SNES and Atari!