Emulation: A look at Project Nested, a NES emulator for the SNES – Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda are all playable!

Nowadays, the NES can be emulated on virtually anything from your PC to your smartphone and even other game consoles like the PSP, PSVita, Switch, GBA and many others. As a result, nobody is wow-ed when they hear of a NES emulator but this time, we should be because Myself086 has created Project Nested which lets you emulate the NES on its successor: the SNES!

What is Project Nested?

Emulation: A look at Project Nested, a NES emulator for the SNES - Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda all playable!

With Project Nested, you can play some NES titles on the Super Nintendo with Super Mario Bros working pretty well!

As the introduction suggests, Project Nested is a NES emulator for the SNES by Myself086 that is named quite cleverly and which has caught the attention of many in the emulation community. This emulator makes use of JIT (Just-In-Time) and AOT (Ahead-of-Time) compilation in order to convert NES games into SNES games with the end result being a full-speed version of the game running at a full 60FPS with mapper & audio support.

Now, you may be asking yourself “Why is this such a feat? The NES can be emulated everywhere” and the answer lies within the fact that the SNES is effectively emulating a home console of the previous generation, something that is usually pretty difficult to do especially considering that the SNES is no powerhouse with its 3.58MHz CPU. That being said, the SNES’ CPU is compatible with the 6502 CPU found within the NES which is what presumably allowed software emulation to be done at playable speeds.

Which games are compatible? Can I use this on a real SNES?

Other than being able to run in emulators like SNES9x, Project Nested can also run on real SNES hardware provided you have a flash cart! (Source)

To complement the release of Project Nested, Myself086 created a spreadsheet on Google Docs (below) detailing the emulator’s game compatibility and among these games, one can find a couple of playable titles including:

  • Super Mario Bros
  • Donkey Kong
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Mario Bros
  • Battle City
  • Crystalis

However, it is also important to note that the vast majority of the 278 tested titles are either unplayble or crash in the intro or early gameplay meaning that Project Nested won’t magically play any game you throw at it. Keeping this in mind, one has to remember that the emulator was released around 2 weeks ago and it saw an update last week so it is obviously still WIP with its developer planning on further updates.

When it comes to using the emulator on real SNES hardware, Myself086 states in the README that it does work provided you have a flash cart such as the SD2SNES and Super Everdrive which lets you run your own ROMs on the console. A Reddit member with the username ‘nrq’ put this to the test and was able to run both Super Mario Bros and Zelda although they said that crashes happened quite often in their experience. Sho, on YouTube, posted a video (below) of the emulator running on a Super NT console showing various playable titles in action including the ever-popular Super Mario Bros.


Without a doubt, Project Nested is quite a feat considering what it’s pulling off and if you’d like to contribute in some way, you can do so by playing through games marked in Cyan in the compatibility list as they require further testing or by testing out games which haven’t been tried yet!

Project Nested’s release post on NesDev: http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=20531&p=254109

Project Nested’s GitHub Release Page (to create SNES ROMs out of NES ROMs, download the ‘Project_Nested.exe’ file and the ‘Project_Nested.smc’ in the SAME directory): https://github.com/Myself086/Project-Nested/releases

Projected Nested’s compatibility spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xKZIyNz1DSI3ZBdMfaTEaa_9b6IEABx-ZPwOb6XqcLQ/edit#gid=253005073

Sho’s video showing Project Nested running various games on the Super Nt