ConnectedNES Brings Twitter Into Super Mario Bros World, particle photon, twitter

Back in 2016, artist and video game historian [Rachel Weil (HXLNT)] was hanging out with her friend and hacking on console stuff, as friends do. [Rachel] was galvanized by the idea of having an iconic game like Super Mario Bros be interrupted by push notifications, and set out to bring a Twitter feed to her NES gaming experience. What she ended up with is ConnectedNES — a charming combination of a custom Twitter modem and a hacked Super Mario Bros ROM, creating a social media experience you have to see for yourself.

The technical side is as immaculate as the visuals. Data is transferred to the NES through the controller port using a Particle Photon that’s emulating a NES controller, and everything is encased in an adorable shell made out of yarn needlework.

The Photon currently taps into the Twitter feed through a proxy server run locally, and listens for tweets with specific keywords, relaying them to the ROM through mimicking controller port inputs. The ROM, now bearing the name Social Media Bros, went through some careful assembly trimming work. In particular, [Rachel] had to sacrifice Green Mario to the bit bucket gods.

Playing this game has to be quite the experience. Thankfully, source code for everything — the proxy server, the Photon firmware and the NES ROM — is on GitHub for all of us NES enthusiasts to hack at. If simply reading the feed is not enough, you can send tweets from your NES as well.

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