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Super Nintendo Emulation Ego
Jeremy Chadwick - October 23, 1997


You know who I am. I won't even bother to go into the details about that; you're not stupid. You know who I am, what I do, and what I stand for. However, the one thing I doubt you know is that I work for Electronic Arts (UK).

And I'm sure you know what I'm Emailing you about -- well, maybe not you in specific (for the first part, but yes for the latter). Read on and you shall see.

First off, I'd like to congratulate you, as part of the SNES9x team, for being able to work together with everyone efficiently and effectively to produce a great product -- a free product. SNES9x is great; the beginning stages were wobbly, but so is every piece of software. That's what bugs are all about -- to be squashed.

But after putting aside the bugs, the Emails to EMUNews, the Emails to a myriad of people around the world who respect (or dis-respect) you, I think you, as well as HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of people have forgotten the one fundamental aspect to emulation which is at no less than the apex of it all:

To have fun.

I have read your Emails to Zophar, to multitudes of "peons" (I know you know what I mean by this), and especially, I have read your Email to zsKnight of the ZSNES team.

I must say, your letter brought a tear to my eye: one of sadness. It's quite hard to make me cry; not because I am a macho American fool, nor because I am "too good" to cry. But because it shows to me you, as a fellow developer, have lost the abililty to grasp the most basic "rule" of emulation:

To have fun.

There is nothing fun about sending Emails to EMUNews, telling Jim that Grim stole source. There is nothing fun about claiming the ZSNES team is making use of stolen source. There is nothing fun about insulting someone personally, even someone like Grim, who I personally would love to meet in person some day ( >:-) ).

I agree with your point -- theft is wrong. Theft of source-code is wrong. Making use of someone else's code illegitimately is just rude, and plain unsportsmanlike. I will stand by your side 'til the day I die regarding this particular viewpoint. Though, definitely not in relation to what I call the "ZSNES Syndrome."

In your Email to zsKnight of the ZSNES team, you actually state that you consider the emulation scene a "market."

That statement is what brought a small tear, rolling down the side of my face.

The day when developers are insulting other developers, even if they are the worst low-life scum to exist on this planet, is just totally beyond me.

I don't like Grim either. My first interaction with him was about 7-8 months ago, where someone relayed me comment he made on one of the SNES development IRC channels, telling a few people who asked him about GrimSNES, where he got his information. And if he used "Yoshi's docs." He proceeded to tell them my documentation was the biggest bunch of bullshit he had ever read, and that it was useless to anyone, since it was completely incorrect in nearly all aspects. He stated he had "other sources."

As someone who has written documentation for years, and as someone who does Sony Playstation development for a top-name company in England, I can't imagine my documentation being useless. For developers in Germany to Email me 2 years ago and tell me they were WRITING *COMMERCIAL* GAMES using my documentation, because they did not want to agree to Nintendo's NDA, was heart-warming to say the least.

And now there's this "kid," running around telling people that my work was horrible, that my *MONTHS* of work was completely useless. That my long hours of spending in front of a monitor at 3AM in the morning, trying to figure out the simple MODE-0 VRAM/CHR format, were wasted?

Naturally I jumped in the channel and questioned his statements, where he proceeded to tell me the same thing he told others. To my face.

I respected this, and at the same time, "hated" him for it. I respected his ability to not change his story because "the big bad Y0SHi" was there. But I "loathed" him because of what he had said about my work: my long and self-considered prosperous work!

To make a long story short, I left the channel with my eyes closed. I went to bed that night, thinking about what Grim had said. I really asked myself if what all I had done was useless. Was there anyone out there anymore who actually respected me for my efforts?

Then I met Chad Kitching.

Chad I spent long hours on IRC, talking about the SNES, but usually more-so about his college life and how much he hated it. I spend more time on IRC having fun chatting than I do having fun talking about the NES or SNES's PPU internals.

Chad really made me smile in some of the things he said, even when he pointed out small bugs in my documentation. Due to Nintendo threatening a lawsuit against me if I updated my documentation again, I couldn't fix the bugs. I told Chad this, and he understood, but was still erked about it. I told him what I knew, and as far as I remember it, that was the day HDMA was born.

Yadda yadda yadda... Chad finally went away for awhile, and I missed him greatly. In the meantime, Carlos (ESNES) of the ESNES crew kind-of took Chad's place, and he and I did a lot of work together on IRC regarding the SNES.

Carlos was great to me. And this is proved by the day when I grabbed the newest ESNES release, only to find these two lines within his documentation:


I had tears of happiness running down my face when I saw this.

I love getting recognition for things, and I love getting a simple "thank-you" even more. But to have something as precious as an emulator -- and emulator for a system *I* never thought was emulatable -- was just flabbergasting to say the least.

I lost contact with Carlos... and I miss him just like I do Chad. If I was Christian, I would probably pray for their safety ever- night before I slept. There's nothing greater than having two friends who support you while you support them. I wish someday that I could meet Carlos & Chad, and just give them a handshake and a hug.

Back then Gary, things were different. I had fun doing what I did. Chad did as well. Carlos I guarantee did. We all did. We ignored the stupid people who kept bothering us about the latest release of anything (Carlos was the only guy I knew who would actually reply to every comment he got about it).

And today, Gary?

Today I see posts on EMUNews; one from you, one from Grim, and one from _Demo_ of the ZSNES crew.

Everyone's uptight. Everyone's in turmoil. Chaos is sure to reign, if it hasn't already.

I feel that a lot of the emulation community (developers, but the "peons" play a LARGE role in this as well) has forgotten, again, the main fundamental point of emulation:

To have fun.

When I read your comment on EMUNews towards the ZSNES team, right after I had gotten done talking with them about BG/OBJ priorities and other things (not SNES related). My heart fell.

I just couldn't believe it was happening again. It happened once with the NLKSNES crew (whether you agree or not is a different story -- even I put the situation in the same boat as this one), and now again with ZSNES.

If I remember right, Gary, the NLKSNES crew posted a one-liner on the NLKSNES home page:


There is no war today. Everything apparently got worked out; and I'm glad. I hate seeing craziness, especially amongst developers who are share the same goal: to perfect emulation to the best of their abilities.

When I saw the things you said to the ZSNES crew, Gary, right after I had talked with zsKnight long enough that I *KNEW* some- thing was really hurting him deep inside, I really did say out- loud to myself, "This has got to be the emulation apocalypse itself."

Gary, you are beautifully talented programmer, who has much to offer everyone in regards to your knowledge (and more importantly, your friendship). You have so much to offer.

Please let it end, Gary.

I have CC'd (not BCC'd, due to my lack of ability to be a behind- the-back sneaky bastard) people I feel who could benefit from reading this Email to you. I am not CC'ing them to insult you or cause you pain, or anything negative at all. I am CC'ing them to remind them, as well as you, what it's all about:

Having fun.

-- | Jeremy Chadwick | | System/Network/Security Administrator | |"OUCH! WHAT DO YOU DO?" |
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