Bet You Never Played an NES Game like This: Innovating Under Limitations

Vi Grey

Vi Grey

Speaker Bio

Vi Grey is a technology researcher and software engineer with a general focus on information theory research.  After accidentally stumbling into NES development as a hobby in 2018, he has gone on to create a handful of NES projects to explore just what is possible on that gaming console.  These projects led him to publish an article in a hacker journal “Proof of Concept or GTFO”, win a category in the DEF CON 26 badge life contest, and create a functioning NES cartridge as the “Very Important Gamer” attendee name badges for Midwest Gaming Classic 2019.  Vi has also set up and taught cryptography workshops and spoke on multiple subjects, including attacking two factor authentication and spoofing administrative password prompts on Mac and Linux computers.


We all know someone who has a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) sitting around collecting dust.  The 1980s gaming console was limited in its capabilities, but just how much wiggle room does that leave for mischief?  In this talk, Vi Grey will demonstrate how it is possible to innovate under the limitations the NES restricts us with to create new ways a person can interact with a game.  You will see NES games that are also fully functioning web pages and ZIP files, console memory dumps that can be opened as JPEG images, game cartridges that secretly contain other entire NES games, and much more.