25th Anniversary - calling all oldtimers

Started by flamepanther, January 22, 2022, 03:40:47 PM

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Hi everyone. I know I'm rarely active here, but it recently occurred to me that this year will be the 25th anniversary of the release of Nesticle. Along with that, this means:

  • also the 25th anniversary of the initial explosion of ROM hacking as a hobby
  • also the 25th anniversary of when my old SMB1 facelift hack really started in earnest (it's actually a little older)
  • My project is older than I was when I started working on it

I have some unreleased changes to my old hack, so I thought I might make an updated patch, and bundle it with some extra material as a special 25th anniversary edition. One of the things I'd like to do is put together a little retrospective documentary about it, including some of what else was going on in the scene at the time I was working on it. But my memory is a little fuzzy.

To that end, I'm wondering if anyone has large archives of IRC logs from Fnet and/or EFnet, of the ROM hacking and Zophar's Domain channels going back to that era--whether these are already online or if someone who's been keeping them privately would be willing to share. Or if not logs, then just some personal memories and anecdotes. Besides possibly helping job my memory for my personal retrospective, it might be fun to just reminisce.

Anyone else still around from circa 1997?


This signature is an illusion and is a trap devised by Satan. Go ahead dauntlessly! Make rapid progres!


Quote from: Jorpho on January 22, 2022, 09:48:47 PM
I think this old Vice article on Nesticle summed up a lot of things neatly.
Hi, thanks! It's an excellent article, and it does talk about how Nesticle triggered a ROM hacking boom. But I was hoping for a more detailed look at what was going on inside the early ROMhacking scene itself. What was being made and when, especially by folks that were once prominent but now seldom discussed. Anyone remember Daria?

I was there, but like I said, my memory of it all is kinda hazy and jumbled.


I've got a feeling that most of us from that time period have very foggy memories.

I was kicking around 'the scene' back then, and when I uncover things I posted, it's like reading something written by somebody else.

Wish I could help you out more... I don't have any logs or data saved from that time, but I'm glad to hear that another old fossil is still interested in this great hobby. :)

Ok Impala!

I joined a few years later (around 2001), but it would be great to hear some stories from the beginning!


Quote from: Draken on January 22, 2022, 11:07:02 PM
I was kicking around 'the scene' back then, and when I uncover things I posted, it's like reading something written by somebody else.
I sometimes get that feeling reading stuff I posted less than a year ago  :laugh:

Quote from: Ok Impala! on January 23, 2022, 12:21:26 AM
I joined a few years later (around 2001), but it would be great to hear some stories from the beginning!
I would love to tell you some, if I could remember them clearly enough!

Anyone remember "LIFE IS BACK"? Who did that happen to?


> Anyone else still around from circa 1997?

Alas, I never kept logs of IRC chats (I was a quiet infrequent lurker anyway), and most of the links on my website now point to 20 year old dead websites 😢 (with the rare exception of Zophar's Domain), but 1998/1999 is when I was most active in writing documentation and utilities. I can't recommend anyone read them now, despite them still being on this site, because I wrote many when I was 17/18, and the grammar shows 😅; and according to my change log, I started 1998-08-05 working on the DOS utility BgMapper to read ZSNES savestates and export the graphics, but that's completely obviated by now 😋. I remember checking Zophar's Domain daily in college, and vaguely the names of other websites I enjoyed perusing (Damaged Cybernetics, Archaic Ruins). Thankfully the Internet Archive snagged many of these websites for future generations. I think RomHacking.net used to be .com too? (because the current RomHacking.com seems to be something else 🤔)


In the early days I was more into Pokemon and wrestling.
My SMW hack started about 2001. Eventually playable to the end, but hasn't been refined enough for a "full release".


This timeline seems to be NES-centric, and the thread is probably targeted at NES enthusiasts (sometimes conversation on this board seems to ignore the existence of non-Nintendo consoles).

I was reverse-engineering the PC Engine in the 90s, and I would generally say that 1996 was the breakout year on that console for gathering sufficient data to make an emulator.  After we got decent emulation, efforts didn't generally get aimed at ROM hacks though - rather, they went toward development tools (slowly, I'll admit).

So I'm not sure if I belong to the group you are addressing, but I guess I do fit the category of 'old timer'.


Yeah, I was afraid I might come up mostly empty. I had to try though! Thanks to everyone who's responded so far! It's good to not be the only old fart still kicking around.  :beer:


I remember using NESticle, Genecyst, Callus, ZSNES, and No$GB somewhere near that time frame, but I don't think it was as early as 1997. It was probably 1999 or 2000 when I found out about emulation. It's crazy to think about how long ago all of these things happened. But most important is how far things have come. No offense to NESticle or the other great emulators of the time but thankfully accuracy and documentation has improved dramatically since then.