What a day! My article on Vice's Motherboard this week about the history of NESticle—the Nintendo Entertainment System emulator whose early success paved the way for people to play vintage games on their computers whenever they want—took a while to get past the finish line, and came only after I gave the piece a haircut.
To augment the story, I’m gonna spend the next couple of Daily Tedium pieces highlighting things I hoped to get into the original piece but were trimmed out because the piece was getting a bit lengthy. Here’s a starting point:
MindRape was friends with John McAfee: Donald “MindRape” Moore was notable among hacking-scene figures for using his real name, which was something of an anomaly of the time. His friend Gingerbread, who does not follow the real-name policy, noted to me that this may have been a side effect of his friendship with McAfee, the antivirus namesake who later became known for his adventures in Belize. Gingerbread argues that it may have led Moore to limit his use of the pseudonym. “Antivirus was a gray-area at one point as well,” Gingerbread explained. “And I think Donnie knew deep down, as many of us do, that there is only so far you can go working under a pseudonym.”
Jeremy Chadwick’s long reach: Chadwick, a member of the Damaged Cybernetics collective, stayed active in emulation and retro gaming long after the NESticle incident. A big part of the reason for this was that he owned a popular hosting service for a number of years called Parodius Networking, which managed a number of major emulation/retro gaming sites, including Archaic Ruins, Neo Demiforce, and Kinox. He paid for all hosting via his full-time job, but sometimes bandwidth needs by Bloodlust Software, which Parodius also hosted at one point, would cause problems. “Everything was great … until a new release came out. Then all hell broke loose,” Chadwick explained. “Our 100mbit connection became saturated. System load was through the roof. The only way to rectify it was to give the site its own IP and use rate-limiting. Also from that point forward, Icer would give me a heads-up if/when he was releasing a new version.” The network, impressively, was active until 2012, despite costs generally being covered by Chadwick.
NESticle’s visual history: Not every version of NESticle featured Shitman, the iconic mascot highlighted on the app’s about page in most versions, and there were a number of subtle changes between versions. Nathan Altice, whose I Am Error was briefly excerpted in the Motherboard piece, compared every version of NESticle in a 2012 blog post through screenshots, highlighting the subtle changes over the years. complete with downloadable versions of the emulator, which I recommend running in DOSbox or a similar emulator. (What, you mean running an emulator in an emulator is too meta for you? Sorry!)