This Experimental 3DNES Emulator Converts Your Favorite 2D NES Games Into Glorious 3D

There are few platforms in the emulation realm that are as well taken care of as the original Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Over the years, there have been a countless number of NES emulators that have come out, with some targeting different platforms or different goals -- some aim for accuracy, while some treat performance as the most important feature. Some simply try to go above and beyond by offering people a better-looking or easier-to-use UI. All of that is good, but none of the releases seem to do anything really interesting - until now, that is.

Enter 3DNES. With this coming out at around the same time that VR is hitting the market in a big way, we couldn't fault you if you thought that this somehow turned NES games into VR experiences. That's not the case, though: instead, it takes your NES games and transforms their worlds into 3D, which can be manipulated with your mouse. Here are some great examples of what we mean, with Castlevania and Megaman:

Castlevania NES 3D

Megaman NES 3D

As cool as those shots look, they're the exception to the rule: this emulator is truly buggy at the moment, so you can't expect a smooth experience from any given ROM. As the video below highlights, you can expect to see a fair bit of stuttering and pop-in as the engine sorts itself out, and you'll also encounter times when the effect is a little too aggressive. In one example, in Super Mario Bros. 3, pipes that flowers peek their heads out of appear hollow on the left and right side, rather than closed all around as it should be. But those are minor niggles for what's otherwise a seriously cool effect.

It's clear that 3DNES still has a fair amount of development work to be done, but despite that, it can be tested out right here. Note, though, that for some reason this only works with Firefox at the moment, and even if you're equipped with that, you might still run into issues. Even while running Firefox, we encountered crashes and nonsensical errors (eg: "You need a browser which supports WebGL to run this content. Try installing Firefox.")

If you really want to give the emulator a go, it might be best to hold off and test it out later, or even tomorrow. We look forward to seeing how development of this emulator progresses, and especially hope to see it supported in other browsers in the future.

Tags:  Gaming, 3D, emulation, NES