eggboard writes "Henk Rogers was a Dutchman who arrived in Japan in the 1980s following a girlfriend (later, his wife). An inveterate D&D player, he became enthralled with the NEC-8801, and nearly killed himself trying to create a D&D-like world that he released as The Black Onyx. No one initially knew what to make of it, and the game sold slowly at first. Through savvy pricing, packaging, and press attention, sales grew, and the game jumpstarted RPGs in Japan. Rogers got left behind, though, as Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy hit a local nerve better than his efforts. 'I also realized that I didn't quite understand the Japanese aesthetic and way. These games were quite different to mine, and just struck a more effective cultural chord.' Rogers went on to license Tetris to Nintendo, though, so he did just fine."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Nerval's Lobster writes "Will Xbox One and PS4 emulators hit your favorite download Websites within the next few years? Emulators have long been popular among gamers looking to relive the classic titles they enjoyed in their youth. Instead of playing Super Mario Bros. on a Nintendo console, one can go through the legally questionable yet widespread route of downloading a copy of the game and loading it with PC software that emulates the Nintendo Entertainment System. Emulation is typically limited to older games, as developing an emulator is hard work and must usually be run on hardware that's more powerful than the original console. Consoles from the NES and Super NES era have working emulators, as do newer systems such as Nintendo 64, GameCube and Wii, and the first two PlayStations. While emulator development hit a dead end with the Xbox 360 and PS3, that may change with the Xbox One and PS4, which developers are already exploring as fertile ground for emulation. The Xbox 360 and PS4 feature x86 chips, for starters, and hardware-assisted virtualization can help solve some acceleration issues. But several significant obstacles stand in the way of developers already taking a crack at it, including console builders' absolute refusal to see emulation as even remotely legal."
An anonymous reader writes "River City Ransom: Underground is the latest high profile game campaign on Kickstarter but as an interview with the title's creators this week highlights, it's not exactly a new game. Rather, it's an official sequel to a Nintendo Entertainment System/Famicom classic, belt-scroller River City Ransom. Remarkably, getting the license and the help of original River City creator Yoshihisa Kishimoto proved easy for the team, indie developers who were submitting game designs to Atari in crayon, aged six. 'I asked for the license and I asked Kishimoto-san if he had an interest in helping us make a better Kunio-kun game,' producer Daniel Crenna says. 'It's not particularly dramatic to say that, but I asked.' As the author points out, it's interesting to imagine what other games could be resurrected with a little bit of polite curiosity.""
First time accepted submitter trickstyhobbit writes "Former Nintendo president and majority stockholder Hiroshi Yamauchi has died. He was president of the company for over 50 years and saw the development of the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and GameCube among other devices." His career at Nintendo is worth reading about.
An anonymous reader writes "While the Wii U struggles, Nintendo's been raiding the archives and resurrecting some of its lesser known stars from yesteryear, including Chibi Robo, Steel Diver, and yes, Mario's oft-ignored brother himself — the company is going so far as to call 2013 the "year of Luigi". But as an article published today points out, there are still many more forgotten heroes in Nintendo's IP back catalogue. Series like Excitebike, Waveracer and 1080 used to be trusted to launch a new console, while NES classics like Ice Climber have all but been forgotten, alongside some of GameFreal's lesser known creations. Will they be enough to save Nintendo this generation?"
jones_supa writes "Many Slashdotters are probably aware of the 1989 Nintendo Entertainment System platformer classic DuckTales (video, designed around the Disney cartoon series. Capcom announced today at their PAX East panel that they are resurrecting the beloved game. Developed by Wayforward and Capcom, DuckTales: Remastered is something of a remake based on the original version. The embedded video shows some solid back-to-basics platformer action. The game will be out this summer for Xbox Live, PSN, and Wii U."
An anonymous reader writes "The first release of Contiki, the open source operating system, was announced ten years ago today on Slashdot. From its inception, Contiki has been all about connecting 'unexpected things' to the Internet, including things like Lego bricks and Apple II computers. Today, Contiki is still going strong and is now being used in the Internet of Things, where it is connecting things like thermostats to smartphone apps throughout Europe."
Jon Brodkin writes "Pity poor Mega Man. The little blue robot boy with a gun for a hand was one of the most popular heroes in the Nintendo Entertainment System's heyday, starring in a video game series almost every bit as good as The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. The original Mega Man series resulted in some great games for the original NES and the Super Nintendo. But then he dropped (swiftly) from the face of the Earth. Attempts to bring Mega Man into the 3D world resulted in games not nearly as fun as their predecessors. Most recently, the planned Mega Man Legends 3 for Nintendo 3DS managed to generate a bit of fan excitement, but the project was canceled in July 2011. Gamers moved on — some grudgingly. Fans have clamored for Capcom to revive Mega Man for years, and it's happened to some extent. Mega Man 9 and 10 came out in 2008 and 2010, respectively, continuing the original series with the same graphical and gameplay style perfected in the 1980s. And Monday, something perhaps even more exciting occurred for Mega Man's 25th anniversary: the release of Street Fighter X Mega Man, a celebration of two excellent game series that have lost their luster in the HD age." Read on for the rest of Jon's review.
Croakyvoice writes "In what seems to be the 'in thing' at the moment comes another auction to add to last month's Zelda NES auction and that crazy million dollar collection. This time, for RPG fans, this could be classed as the Holy Grail of NES games. The game in question is Final Fantasy 2, which was never released outside of Japan, but luckily for the person who at this time is selling this on eBay for 50K, there was one made for the 1991 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by SquareSoft. Sadly, the U.S. version never had a release because they decided to work on the Super NES instead."
YokimaSun writes "The world of Homebrew Coding never ceases to amaze, even on an old system like the Atari 2600 a coder over at the Atariage forums has released a clone of the original Nes game Super Mario Bros with video, which has the first level from the classic game and eventually will have the first four worlds. Equally as impressive is this 3D Mario game written for the Sega Saturn."
An anonymous reader writes "As a product of the 90s I grew up loving the classics that kids today know about from Wikipedia and pop-culture references. Games like Super Bomberman, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country I and III (II was a sellout, come on) are the foundations of my childhood memories. Now, though, as a fourth-year electrical engineering major, I find myself increasingly impressed by the level of technical difficulty embedded in that 16-bit console. I am trying, now, to find a resource that will take me through the technical design of the SNES (memory layout, processor information, cartridge pin layouts/documentation) to get a better understanding of what I naively enjoyed 15 some years ago. I am reaching out to the vast resources available from the minds of the Slashdot community. Any guide/blog series that you know of that walks through some of the technical aspects of the, preferably, SNES (alternatively, NES/Nintendo 64) console would be much appreciated."
YokimaSun writes "Following on from Last months Mega auction of rare games that went for a staggering 1.2 Million dollars, comes another auction. This time its of the only Legend of Zelda Nes Prototype cartridge in the world, bundled with it is a sealed copy of the retail version of the game, those of you excited by this news will have to dig deep because the price is set at a mouthwatering US $150,000.00."
techfun89 writes "Ever wished that you could defeat Bowser literally right from your coffee table with giant built in buttons? Well, your dreams have come true with the fully-functional Nintendo Controller Coffee Table. This is the creation of Charles Lushear that has combined old school entertainment with maple wood and craftsmanship. Simply plug into an existing classic NES system and go to town. The table also features a removable glass top with retractable cord to use the furniture as just a table when you are done playing Mario."
AbsoluteXyro writes "Today users of Google Maps will notice a new mapping option — 'Quest' — alongside the usual 'Map' and 'Satellite' views. Quest view renders the planet in a retro 8-bit fantasy video game style, including renders of famous landmarks such as the White House and the Eiffel Tower. Even Pegman gets in on the game, now taking on the appearance of a sword wielding 8-bit adventurer, allowing you to witness Street View through 8-bit eyes. Basically, imagine a fully functioning Google Maps on an NES."
mikejuk writes "You may have have thought games like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and so on were hard at the time you were playing them, but you probably didn't guess they were NP-hard. Now we have some results from computer scientists at Universite Libre de Bruxelles and MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory that many classic games contain within them an NP-hard problem. It has been proven that the following game franchises are NP-hard (PDF): Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Pokemon. At least you now have an excuse for your low scores."
Andy Hefner has a detailed blog post covering his quest to program an NES with the assistance of Common Lisp. He developed a new 6502 assembler, a mini-language for composing musical sequences, and a neat demo (rom image).
A few weeks back, you asked gaming-world academic and game designer Ian Bogost questions from the business, philosophical, and aesthetic sides of gaming; below, find his responses. Thanks, Ian!
Daetrin writes "Nintendo has announced a large loss for the first quarter of the year and lowered its annual profit forecast. In the three months prior to June 30th Nintendo lost 25.5 billion yen ($328 million) and the forecast is being reduced about 80%, from 110 billion yen ($1.4 billion) to 20 billion yen ($257 million). Nintendo is blaming poor sales of the 3DS and is responding by announcing a price cut from $250 to $170 on August 12. In order to mollify early adopters of the system Nintendo also announced that anyone who has logged into the Nintendo eShop before the price cut will receive 10 free NES games and 10 free GBA games. The GBA games won't be available until later in the year, but Nintendo claims they will be exclusive to the '3DS Ambassadors' and will not be available for purchase on the store in the future." A related op-ed at Wired suggests the new price is still too high, given the rise of cheap portable games on various app stores.
HansonMB writes "Electrical engineer Batsly Adams isn't a traffic cop, but if you find yourself at a chiptune show in New York, you should probably pull over anyway to try his new homebrew 8-bit breathalyzer game. Unlike that 8-bit Gatsby game, DrunkenNES is a for-real NES game lovingly constructed with machine code by Batsly, music by chiptune artist Kris Keyser and art by Motherboard photographer Emi Spicer."
Xistic writes "For many years tool assisted speedruns were purely theoretical and the domain of emulators. No longer! Using an Arduino Duemilanove microcontroller to drive an actual Nintendo console, pjgat09 plays back prerecorded input to beat Super Mario Bros. in record time. The selection of possible games is limited: 'If the game relies on any uninitialized memory for randomness, or if it is heavily based on console timing, it may not work. In the case of Super Mario Bros however, as long as the button presses start play back at the right time, the movie will play back correctly.' The author includes complete instructions on how to setup the device."