The ingenuity involved in running games designed for one system on another system is underappreciated. Porting games from console to console is never a simple task, as you’re essentially redeveloping it for an entirely new console. But these projects are always fascinating to learn about. None have been more curious, however, than an unofficial Famicom emulator for the SEGA Master System made by Yuji Naka himself.
That’s a bizarre enough story on its own. But the details surrounding it are incredible indeed. Naka revealed the story in a Facebook post on Saturday, detailing how he was working on it in his spare time while at SEGA. He says:
“I […] secretly made a Famicom emulator. Dr. Mario’s screen is a little broken, but I made it until it moved a little. [It was] a completely personal hobby, though. I was wondering if Famicom software would sell hard once it started working. You are young, aren’t you?”
All about the Yuji Naka Famicom emulator for Master System
There’s a ton of interesting wrinkles to this Famicom emulator that Yuji Naka discussed in his post. He worked on it between the development of Phantasy Star and Super Thunder Blade, so around late 1987 through mid-1988. It apparently ran Famicom games fine on the Master System, as Naka was able to get Dr. Mario working okay. However, the most interesting bit of information was that the emulator could run games in 3D using special glasses.
“I wrote a 3D dungeon on a bitmap with polygons at Mark 3,” Naka explained, “and I made it to the extent that it looks like 3D when I put on 3D [glasses] to go through the winding place where the 3D dungeon is winding. But after all, there was a processing speed problem and I could not proceed any further. There was talk of M5 development equipment coming.”
What do you think of Naka’s 3D Famicom emulator? Let us know!