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Author Topic: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?  (Read 3855 times)

CM30

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Compared to say, the SNES, Mega Drive, Nintendo 64, etc?

I mean, quite a few SNES games have been hacked or translated (Super Mario World's scene is particularly impressive here), and there's some work going towards N64 hacks too (mostly Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie and the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time), but the focus for a lot of the ROM hacking scene always seems to be more focused on NES titles.  And homebrew?  Well, that's pretty much all NES and earlier, the number of SNES homebrew games is about 30 titles at the most.

So why is the case?  Why are there so many more hacks of NES games than anything later?  Why does the homebrew scene seem to cut off around the NES era?  Why is so much of the coverage of the ROM hacking world off site focused around NES games more than those for other systems?
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Revenant

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2016, 01:11:13 pm »
Well, I think part of it is because the NES (as well as the SNES and Genesis) are what the majority of people in the hacking and homebrew communities grew up with, so naturally they're a popular target for that reason.

As for NES homebrew and hacking specifically, I think there's another specific reason: because it's easier. (Usually.)

FAST6191

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2016, 01:19:23 pm »
I take it you were not around for the xbox, wii, GBA, DS or PSP? Countless amounts of homebrew on those, the volume of which dwarfing anything the NES has seen. GBA and DS hacking has no shortage of people working on it (around here there are quite a few but as this place was also around when they were active consoles and  and the wii doing pretty well for ROM hacking as well. In terms of people doing and people knowing I would have put the NES and SNES at about level, which is impressive given the relative lack of similarities (learn the GBA and you basically have the DS and vice versa).

The megadrive/genesis. I guess because it invokes less of a sense nostalgia in the US and though ROM hacking and homebrew is hardly an English speakers only affair the potential pool of people is not the highest.

N64? Because the N64 was a failure and very little on it has aged at all well.

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2016, 02:52:07 pm »
The way I see it, more tech stuff is known about the NES relative to other systems, plus the tools are pretty dang good.

RyanfaeScotland

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2016, 03:18:15 pm »
Because the majority of ROM hackers have no taste at all. Don't believe me? Check out the favourite music thread and the favourite food thread!
« Last Edit: February 06, 2016, 07:52:41 pm by RyanfaeScotland »

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2016, 03:32:07 pm »
The megadrive/genesis. I guess because it invokes less of a sense nostalgia in the US and though ROM hacking and homebrew is hardly an English speakers only affair the potential pool of people is not the highest.
Graphics compression. In the developing years of the translation scene, that was enough to kill interest. Few knew how to do ASM hacking, and I don't think there was as much development in debugging emulators as NES/SNES.
Though some members of the scene cracked what seem to be standardized Genesis compression formats, and they sound like they'd be a bit of a pain to have to figure out manually (moreso than the LZ variations common on SNES).

Even Game Boy didn't get nearly as much attention as the NES and SNES (probably people were like "why would I use a PC to play portable games?" :( )
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Drenn

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2016, 03:36:35 pm »
As for homebrew, I think you kinda have to ask what the point of making homebrew is on more modern systems. I think a lot of the charm of homebrewing comes from working on a system with limited capabilities. When you get to stuff as recent as the wii, it's not so different from writing software for your own computer. That's why it gets ports more than anything else. (And who would write for the gc which is basically the same as a wii?)

I'm also not convinced homebrewers want much to do with 3d hardware. At least it's a higher barrier to entry. That would explain the n64.
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SunGodPortal

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2016, 04:15:32 pm »
When the video game hacking scene started to take off the NES was probably the only worthwhile system that didn't require too much processing power for the stone-age computers from back in the day.
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Isao Kronos

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2016, 04:24:09 pm »
Because the majority of ROM hackers have no taste at all. Don't believe me? Check out the favourite music threadand the favourite food thread!

but i don't even hackrom

tryphon

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2016, 04:51:53 pm »
Because the majority of ROM hackers have no taste at all. Don't believe me? Check out the favourite music threadand the favourite food thread!

That!

As for NES homebrew and hacking specifically, I think there's another specific reason: because it's easier. (Usually.)

I wouldn't bet NES programming is easier than, say, Genesis.

Also, there's a real homebrew scene for the Megadrive, and some homebrews are really impressive.

phoenixgurl

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2016, 05:23:39 pm »
Single and one-point-five dimensional graphics come to mind. Easier to create.
Amyrakunejo

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2016, 05:59:49 pm »
You hack what you love.

8-bit is enough for anyone.

/dACE

Revenant

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2016, 06:30:39 pm »
The nesdev forum thread "Why no SNES homebrew scene?" comes to my mind as well.

dougeff

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2016, 07:36:10 pm »
Size matters.

SMB (early NES games) has 32 kb of programming code.

SNES games have 1-4 megabytes of code.

N64 games have 4-64 megabytes of code.

Now, consider this...
Atari games were generally designed by one guy. Nintendo games by a small team of 5-10 people. SNES games had over a dozen people. N64 games even more.

That speaks to the complexity of later games.

Short answer...NES is much easier to hack.

Why not SEGA? Popularity?


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SunGodPortal

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2016, 07:48:53 pm »
Quote
Why not SEGA?

Must be harder to hack because of all that BLAST PROCESSING. ;D
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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2016, 08:45:51 pm »
I think it's kind of related to how a good number of indie games are programmed to be akin to an 8 bit title: they aren't too complex or hard to create compared to triple A games, and yet some of them focus entirely on gameplay and do a good job at that. I guess I'm one of the few who raised the bar and tried 32-bit programming, on a real 32-bit system. :-X To me it's because I love the system and I'm a fan of retro 3D graphics. At some point I was even considering the idea of trying to port Quake to the first PlayStation, it could have been an interesting project due to the "massive" memory requirements.
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freem

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #16 on: February 06, 2016, 11:14:32 pm »
I have this problem where I want to be a journeyman and try programming on various consoles and computers. NES was my first, then Neo-Geo. Master System looks to be next, and I'd like to work with PCE/TG16 as well, among many others. (Also, I figure I can't avoid SNES for too much longer...)

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2016, 03:17:27 pm »
Because 6502 is easy.

SleepyFist

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2016, 03:30:49 pm »
To be honest though, the sheer amount of Sonic hacks probably makes up for at least some of the lack of other genesis hacks/homebrew,
poor bastard is basically sustained mostly by the fangaming community at this point.

As for NES its easy(kinda), it seems to be more or less the first console newbies get pointed at around here anyway.
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RyanfaeScotland

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Re: Why does the ROM Hacking and Homebrew Community Focus on the NES so much?
« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2016, 04:58:32 pm »
I have this problem where I want to be a journeyman and try programming on various consoles and computers. NES was my first, then Neo-Geo. Master System looks to be next, and I'd like to work with PCE/TG16 as well, among many others. (Also, I figure I can't avoid SNES for too much longer...)

That's my idea of hell! I hate jumping around languages, muddling up all the commands and ending up with 6 million bookmarks as your set of resources grows and grows.

I can see the appeal but it would need to be one new language every other year or so.