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A New Emulator Turns Classic Nintendo Games into 3D

A new emulator called 3DNES makes classic Nintendo games playable in true 3D.

by DJ Pangburn
Mar 10 2016, 3:20pm

Screencaps by the author

Turning classic first-generation console games into 3D or virtual reality editions has become increasingly popular. Indeed, in the last month we’ve seen both Duck Hunt VR and Pac-Man VR. But Vietnamese developer Trần Vũ Trúc, whose work appears under Geod Studio, took a far more ambitious approach to updating classic 2D games into voxelized incarnations. In early January, Trần released 3DNES, a new emulator that renders several classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games into 3D environments.

Trần, posting on the TASVideos discussion board, says that he was greatly inspired by the user ProcyonSJJ’s work in bringing voxels to FCEUX, an open-source NES emulator for Linux and Windows. (ProcyonSJJ’s 3D NES emulator work can be seen on this YouTube video, published on October 23, 2013.)

“I started to work on a true 3D NES emulator project,” Trần explains. “In the current beta state, the EMU can render successfully popular games in true 3D environment with light and shadows and played in first or third person view. Something that still lacks is the depth layers separation.”

“Currently every game object is still positioned at the same depth layer,” he adds. “I'm working right now on this feature.”

While some of the games, like Mega Man, look great in 3D, other games, such as Super Mario Brothers 3, look glitchy. 3DNES doesn’t work super well on the Firefox browser at the moment, either. So, Trần clearly has some more work to do, but it’s a pretty great start.

Click here to play the 3DNES emulator.

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