The NES Classic Edition has some pretty powerful hardware to do what it does. A bit of an overkill if you ask me. But it works better than my (more powerful) Linux PC running the same emulators, so what do I know?
The NES Classic Edition has a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7, 256 MB of RAM, and 512 MB of NAND Flash.
The original NES had an 8-bit CPU and 2kb of RAM.
One could actually buy this board ($20) and clone the NES Classic Edition with very little effort since it uses open source software and runs on Linux (I don’t know which distro).
But that wouldn’t be very supportive to Nintendo and it would stop them from making more of these things and doing that Virtual Console system that I want so bad… So please don’t do that.