Change the future

Sunday 1:50 p.m.–2:20 p.m.

PyNES: Python programming for Nintendo 8 bits.

Guto Maia

Audience level:


This lecture describes a journey guided by hardcore gaming experiences from the past and how that lead to development of PyNES. What started as a "Python ASM compiler for Nintendo 8 bits" and is now evolving as a "Python programming for Nintendo 8 bits". All the hacks and drawbacks faced will be shown. Told as an epic tale, that should encourage others to fulfil the same path.


There was a time when game cartridges were forged in the fire of mount doom itself. That great power was then trapped into a regular plastic shelf. Most of the secrets were sealed by fellowship of hardcore game programmers. Their names were concealed in end-game credits from games that were never supposed to be finished. Countless game lives were wasted in the first level, in fruitless attempts of unveiling their evil[1] spell.

That was what my curious and inventive mind believed for years, and still do so. As a kid, I used to play those games and always asked myself how they were done. I really wanted to experience some of the game design problems the pioneers once faced. Back then, they had to wage their own tools, hack the specs for game effects and layout the memory mapper circuits. I figure out, that to reach mount doom as equal, foremost, I had to forge my own hammer. I've decided trail their footmarks therefore I build PyNES: A Python ASM compiler for Nintendo 8 bits.

However as I strum steps progresses, the anvil didn't sound the same. Knowledge weight has changed. Internet made it all available and communities are helpful. Also, computer power had grown and programming languages evolved. I must go a further in each step of their challenges. PyNES is turning into a high-level compiler which will allow Nintendo games to be written mostly in Python. This lecture will explain the several hacks and drawbacks of such approach. And I must say, trying to compile a such evolved language to a such limited processor as the c6502 it's MADNESS. It's pyNES!