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Xbox 360 Sees Its First Unofficial NES Emulator
posted by: Aaron Stanton
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date posted: 01:10 PM Mon Jan 29th, 2007
last revision: 01:11 PM Mon Jan 29th, 2007

Click to read.XNA Game Studio Express allows the hobbyist programmer to sit down and develop their own games, and represents Microsoft\'s active pursuit of the casual developer.

However, the XNA development environment can apparently be used to produce more than just games. The recently premiered XNA SharpNES, programed by \'Lone Coder\', was built using XNA Game Studio Express and allows the Xbox 360 to run its first unofficial NES emulator.

XNA SharpNES takes advantage of Game Studio Express\'s ability to run code on the Xbox 360 if the owner is subscribed to the XNA Creator\'s Club, a development community for Microsoft\'s home console. Don\'t expect to be playing your own ROMs on your Xbox 360 anytime soon, though; Game Studio Express doesn\'t allow the exporting of compiled 360 versions of software.

XNA SharpNES\'s development, an XNA conversion of a previously existing NES emulator called SharpNES, is more a technical curiosity than a widely useful application.

According to an interview with SharpNES\'s creator over at Xbox-Scene.com, the software currently emulates NES titles at somewhere between 60 and 70% of normal, making them \"playable but slow.\"

If you\'re a fan of homebrew development, you have to be impressed that it happened at all. Game companies in the past have been fiercely protective of what sort of software and people are allowed to dabble in content creation on their systems.

The XNA programing language was announced by Microsoft in 2004, and is designed to simplify the programming of games on Microsoft platforms. This includes both Microsoft Windows and the Xbox 360; titles programed in XNA can be compiled for use across platforms with minimal amount of modification by the programmer.

Many in the game industry, myself included, consider XNA to be Microsoft\'s secret weapon against gaming rivals Sony Entertainment and Nintendo, allowing developers to create games simultaneously for both Xbox and PC releases with little additional cost.

XNA Game Studio Express is a free download, and provides a development environment for building Xbox 360 and Windows Vista titles. Current versions allow developers to compile and distribute homebrew titles that can be run on Windows platforms, but has no similar feature for the Xbox 360.

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