This is absolutely wild. An itch.io developer going by “geod” has released version 1.0 of 3DNes, an emulator that takes standard NES games and turns them surprisingly convincing 3D worlds.
The emulator looks like it needs to be manually configured on a per-game basis, but the results are stunning. In the examples geod shows off, you can see a Mega Man level with true depth, a Castlevania level that shifts smoothly with the camera perspective and the Dr. Mario playing field bottle protruding far out from the checkered background. In an example shot from Super Mario Bros. 3, question mark blocks are recessed a little bit behind standard blocks with some nice shadowing.
It looks impossible and I’m sure lots of tweaking went into each shot to make sure that the effect matched the games in question, but it’s extremely impressive nonetheless. Geod has set up the emulator so you can share your configurations with other players and plug new ones in, so getting the best configuration per game might not be that difficult.
Watch the video below for a closer look at how it works and make sure to check out the full itch.io page for more.