How Jason would fix an SNES while stranded on an island

How Jason would fix an SNES while stranded on an island

Evaldas: Yeah, I love it. So, imagine you’re in Hokkaido Island in Japan dropped off by some pirates. Now, the only way to get off is to fix a broken SNES, or for those who don’t know the abbreviation, it’s Super Nintendo. Just to assure you, there is no internet manual or even an English-speaking person on the island. So, there is your challenge.

Jason: So, I have to fix it?

Evaldas: Yeah.

Jason: I guess if it was the original Nintendo, I’d probably blow into the cartridge, because that was an issue with that. No, I’m not sure if I, you know. It depends on what tools I’m given, but I’m not sure if I could fix that or not.

Evaldas: So, do you know what kind of approach you would try first or would you imagine?

Jason: Oh, to fix it? Oh, boy. I guess I would probably think about what are the common possible issues. I mean, with something that old, I’d probably look at — I’d probably open it up, and this is going to sound really geeky, but I’d probably look for capacitors that are blown, because I know those things have kind of a short lifespan. The other thing would be like power supply, things that tend to get bad with age. Because, the rest of that stuff should be fine, and I’m not sure what else I would check out. Do I have power on this island?

Evaldas: Yeah, at least. There is.

Jason: I hope so, that way I know what — yeah, that’s true. There’s a T.V. so I can see what I’m doing. So, I don’t know. I’m not sure what you’re trying to get at with the question, but like I said, I would probably take a look at — I’d probably try to think through what things are likely to break with age with one of those, barring any obvious physical issues with the console.

Evaldas: Yeah, it’s not easy to probably have to turn on Visual Studio and just debug it.

Jason: Yeah, because you’re actually talking from a code perspective?

Evaldas: Not necessarily.

Jason: Yeah, from a code perspective, man, that code is like completely different than what you’d see today. They had to play all these crazy tricks just to get things to work in the console, so I think I would be completely lost.

Evaldas: Yeah, going back to Assembly.

Jason: Yeah, and they just fit — I mean, if you look, especially, at the original Nintendo, not a lot of people realize this, but the bushes and the clouds are actually the same sprite. They’re just a different color. If you look, they’re actually the exact same shape. So, they do all sorts of tricks like that. Like, literally, the bushes are exactly the same as the clouds, or the same shape, just recolored. So, I can only imagine in the Super Nintendo days what kind of tricks they were doing. They probably got even more sophisticated with the tricks that they were doing to make everything work in that amount of memory and on that slow of a processor. I mean, that processor is, I don’t even know, how many thousands or hundreds of thousands times slower that is compared to what we have now.

Evaldas: Yeah, I mean if you think about how technology improved, in terms of CPU and all the things, it’s amazing.

Jason: Yeah, I mean, if you figure, we can emulate it on a phone now, and even that is a piece of cake, and to emulate a platform typically requires 10X the processing power. So, the fact that we can emulate it without any kind of issue, it’s kind of trivial to emulate at this point. That’s pretty impressive.

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About Evaldas Miliauskas

Evaldas Miliauskas is the founder of CastSource - a startup that provides transcriptions designed for podcasts. He is a passionate podcaster listener, host, and a entrepreneur.

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