If you’re looking for a new an novel way to experience the games that have likely shaped your childhood, look no further than one developer’s bold attempt to bring the classics of the NES into the third dimension.
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The 3DNES project, available in beta for free in the Firefox browser only, takes NES ROMs and converts them into a 3D viewing experience (with the help of the Unity3D engine) that allows gamers to experience new depth and adjust angles on the fly. The result is something that kind of looks like a diorama you would have built in elementary school — not quite the 3D we know and love today but a more whimsical approach that also has some surprisingly rich positioning and textures.
As it is in beta, it comes with its hiccups. The finer details and lines are muddied a bit, making the viruses in ‘Dr. Mario’ look a little wonky as they dance in their petri dish. The background layers can also render a little funky, making it difficult to know how to enter the doors in ‘Legend of Zelda 2.’ And the drapes and windows of ‘Castlevania’ can pop in and out of the foreground regularly.
But it also looks beautiful. The way that monsters are positioned in relation to other objects creates a depth that feels authentically 3D without messing up the controls so much. And I got a kick out of seeing the spatial accuracy of the warp pipes in ‘Super Mario 3.’
It’s nostalgic, but also very futuristic.