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New emulator transforms 2D NES games into 3D hallucinations

(Trần Vũ Trúc/Geod Studio)

A unique web-based emulator is breathing new life into old Nintendo games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Mega Man by taking their traditionally flat visuals and transforming them into a glitchy mix of two and three dimensions. Called 3DNES, the software works only with the Firefox browser. A handful of games have been tested and each one seems to respond differently to the 3D effect, which stretches, lifts, and distorts environments in ways reminiscent of some otherworldly hallucination.

Vietnamese developer Trần Vũ Trúc managed to create the tool over months of work, with the progress being documented on a YouTube channel under the name Geod Studio. It’s unclear how the process works, as the game maker has not elaborated much beyond a few random technical explanations in YouTube comments and on his new website for the project, 3DNes.com.

It’s also difficult to get it to work. Every time I tried to load up a cloud-based ROM file to try it out, Firefox would freeze up. Still, it’s an impressive and, for now, seemingly mystical software experiment with entertaining results. Trần Vũ Trúc says a downloadable Windows version is in the works, and confirms the process he uses should also work for SNES games as well.

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