You can type out a single screen of text, with a controller. That's impressive.

nesos somehow fits gui desktop, word processing into 8-bit nintendo

/ You’re limited to eight files and a word processor, but you can put them anywhere you want in NESOS’ rich (for 1985) desktop environment.Inkbox

When you played the Nintendo Entertainment System, you were close to the hardware. It’s why you can pull off remarkable glitch hacks, like playing Tennis to hot-boot into broken Super Mario Bros. worlds. The chips, the memory, the board—everything was designed to service the little board inside your cartridge (that and prevent unauthorized games). There wasn’t much room for anything else in the early- to mid-1980s.

Room enough, however, for a custom-built operating system built in 2022, if just barely. NESOS 1.0 from Inkbox Software, a 48K OS, features “two core applications, the word processor, and the settings,” according to Inkbox. The settings app gives you seven cursors, 53 background colors, and the ability to delete the eight files that can fit inside a maximum 2K of NVRAM (i.e. on-board memory that doesn’t lose data when the system loses power). That’s 832 bytes each, or about one full screen’s worth of memory. You can drag those eight files anywhere you want on the desktop, however.

The creator of NESOS detailing how he built it—and why.

NESOS (pronounced “nee-sohs,” according to its creator) is entirely graphical. Inbox notes that there’s already a command-line system, Family Basic, for the NES and its Japanese progenitor, the Family Computer/Famicom. “I want NESOS to feel like an actual operating system that Nintendo might have made back in the day for the NES. What would it have looked and felt like?” the creator says in his video overview.

Inkbox is no stranger to NES programming, nor quirky code projects that present as wonderful art. They previously built a fruit-based MMO in less than 40 hours (seemingly no longer active), a Super Mario ROM Hack that refashioned the game in the style of Ming Dynasty tale Journey to the West, and a Chinese word processor for the Apple II, made natively on the Apple II.

nesos somehow fits gui desktop, word processing into 8-bit nintendo

/ The settings app in NESOS, which also works as a file manager. You can pick custom colors and a cursor, including Kirby.Inkbox

The NES gave Inkbox two 256-slot grids of sprite memory to work with, one for foreground and one for background, though the system can only show 64 sprites at a time. You can combine the 8×8 sprites into larger shapes, however, for the OS and UI. As for input, a keyboard was bundled with some versions of Family Basic, the HVC-007. Inkbox imported the characters used in Super Mario Bros., gave the keyboard some additional shortcuts, and he had a tiny typing app going. If you’re using a standard NES controller, you’re holding A to cycle through characters, tapping B as your space bar, and holding Select with either of those keys to reverse them.

Inkbox’s video goes on to explain how this all works in NES memory, involving manipulation of the Picture Processing Unit (PPU), giving his virtual NES cartridge the same kind of storage that battery-backed games had, and shuttling each file, byte by byte, between them.

You can download an emulator-friendly ROM of NESOS at Inkbox’s site or at ROMHacking. A two-frame, eight-pixel hat-tip to Hackaday for pointing us toward this marvel.

TECH NEWS RELATED

The Last of Us Part I Is Set for a March Release on PC

We already knew that The Last of Us Part I was going to make its way to PC at some point, the only question was when. Announced at The Game Awards, Naughty Dog and Sony revealed that the remake of their post-apocalyptic game would be coming to PC on ...

View more: The Last of Us Part I Is Set for a March Release on PC

BioShock Creator Reveals Next Crazy Sci-Fi Title Judas at The Game Awards

The long awaited new game from Ken Levine and Ghost Story Games has finally been unveiled to be Judas, and the occasion was marked with a reveal trailer. Shown during the 2022 Game Awards, the trailer offers a glimpse of what Levine’s newest work will entail. The trailer kicks ...

View more: BioShock Creator Reveals Next Crazy Sci-Fi Title Judas at The Game Awards

Milf Hunter Wins Free Steam Deck During Kratos’s Moving Speech

The free Steam Deck every minute giveaway happening during The Game Awards got off to a bit of a rocky start. Fortunately, by the time Christopher Judge was up on stage to accept his award for Best Performance, things were up and running. Especially fortunate for one person with a ...

View more: Milf Hunter Wins Free Steam Deck During Kratos’s Moving Speech

First Star Wars Jedi: Survivor trailer features dual-lightsaber combat, open-world teases

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is launching on March 17, 2023, for Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and PC. The action-adventure game received an impressive trailer during The Game Awards that showed off several new features and teased some potential open-world aspects. Survivor takes place five years after 2019’s Star Wars ...

View more: First Star Wars Jedi: Survivor trailer features dual-lightsaber combat, open-world teases

First Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Gameplay Shows Dual Sabers, Confirms March 17 Release

We got our first glimpse at Cal Kestis's next adventure.

View more: First Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Gameplay Shows Dual Sabers, Confirms March 17 Release

Hades 2 By Supergiant Games Announced At The Game Awards

The next Supergiant game is a sequel to Hades.

View more: Hades 2 By Supergiant Games Announced At The Game Awards

Kevin Conroy Returns As Batman In Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, Releasing In May

A new trailer for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League showed off Batman, with a special tribute to the late Batman actor.

View more: Kevin Conroy Returns As Batman In Suicide Squad: Kill The Justice League, Releasing In May

Judas, New Game From The Creators Of BioShock, Announced At The Game Awards

Players got their first look at Ken Levine's latest creation via The Game Awards.

View more: Judas, New Game From The Creators Of BioShock, Announced At The Game Awards

Bayonetta Origins Is An Isometric Storybook Spin-Off Of The Character Action Franchise

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor Launches on March 17th, 2023; First Gameplay Revealed

The Last of Us Part 1 is Coming to PC on March 3

Al Pacino Presents The Game Award To Christopher Judge For God Of War Ragnarok

Hades 2 – Release Date, Early Access, Platforms, and more

How to get the Geoff Keighley Mask in Among Us

Celeste Creator's Next Game, Earthblade, Gets First Look at The Game Awards

Forspoken Demo Now Available on PlayStation Network

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor - Official Reveal Trailer | The Game Awards 2022 - IGN

Bayonetta Origins: Cereza and the Lost Demon is a witchy origin story coming to Switch in March

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is officially out March, 2023, and Cal has a gun now

Judas debuts with a smash at the Game Awards, from the creators of the BioShock franchise

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News