Genius simulator programmer dies in cyber violence

“Developer of Bsnes”-this is the title that Near is best known.

Bsnes is the most accurate Nintendo SNES console emulator in the world. It not only makes almost perfect simulation of the original hardware, but also greatly optimizes game writing and screen effects. At the same time, it is 100% compatible with everything on SFC. game.

And Near, the genius programmer who fulfilled the dream of thousands of players in the old game, chose to end his life on June 27th.


Early on the morning of the suicide, Near posted a photo of himself on Twitter. “This is me, my real name is Dave, I’m sorry, I can’t laugh all the time.”

In the photo, he has a thin face and a tired face, looking at the camera with a smile.

Three hours after the first tweet was sent, Near’s Twitter account sent 11 consecutive tweets within one minute, talking about the pain he had endured over the years, apologizing to friends and fans. Make a final farewell.

“Please don’t resent me for this. I know this will bring you pain, but I have suffered far more pain than this.

At 11 o’clock that evening, Near’s friends confirmed Near’s death in a long article and also revealed the reason for Near’s suicide: Since 2019, Near has been attacked by the website Kiwi Farms.

Kiwi Farms is a notorious American forum dedicated to finding “lolcows” on the Internet. They like to look for those who seem fragile and easy to be inner sensitive and easy to get hurt as their target, and treat evil as their target. A video game that does its best to make the victim feel mentally difficult and enjoy it.

Targets targeted by Kiwi Farms are often subject to organized and continuous harassment. Before Near, at least four people have chosen to commit suicide because of Kiwi Farms’ bullying.

Another transgender game developer who was also bullied to suicide by Kiwi Farms

Since childhood, Near has been experiencing various forms of bullying. The special identity of a transgender person also makes him taciturn and unsocial. It is this sensitive personality that makes him a target of Kiwi Farms.

Even in the face of such malice, Near initially persisted. Seeing that Near did not collapse as they expected, the perpetrators of Kiwi Farms began to intensify. They found Near’s closest friends as targets, exposed their privacy, and even specifically found people with suicidal tendencies as targets.

The best friend was also affected, and Near eventually collapsed.

One day last year, Near, who had worsened depression, chose to sever contact with everyone. Fortunately, friends soon found him and helped him find anti-depressant drugs, allowing him to gradually come out of the difficult episode, but Kiwi Farms will not let him go.

In addition to Near, his friends are affected. Because they were worried that Near would fall into the negative emotion of being attacked again, friends often felt anxious for him, worried that Near would make irreparable actions. But in fact, in order to keep friends from worrying, Near, who has already relapsed from depression, has always avoided telling his friends about his current situation, pretending to be a normal social network. Just two weeks ago, Near was in Akihabara with his friends. Eating sushi and coffee, so that no one noticed his abnormality, and eventually led to tragedy.

In the article Missing Near, his friend complained bitterly that this was simply a “murder”: “How is this different from taking a gun and taking people’s lives?”


In most social networking sites, Dave will name himself Near, which is derived from the animation “Death Note”. In the animation, Near is the heir to the protagonist L. He is cold and ruthless. He is not good at dealing with trivial matters in life. He rarely communicates with others. He is almost unwilling to go out. He always kneels on the ground and has strong insight.

This may be the self in Near’s eyes. In the self-introduction on his personal website, he described himself as a software engineer who is too sensitive and likes to criticize himself. When talking about what I want to do, it uses extreme expressions like “I will use overwhelming motivation to force myself to achieve perfection.”

Like to use the character Near as the avatar Near

This perverted demand for perfection almost completely returned to his work. The last time Near appeared publicly was in a media report in March this year. In order to make a satisfactory English localization for a game, he tried it back and forth five times, and it took 23 years.

The name of the game is “Legend of the Sacred Dragon”. It is an SLG launched by Square in 1996. It is only available in Japan and there is no English version. Earlier, Near’s screen name was Byuu, which was also the name of a character in “Legend of the Holy Dragon”.

“Legend of the Sacred Dragon” is Near’s favorite game since childhood. At the age of fifteen, Near tried to localize “Legend of the Holy Dragon” for the first time. He found several game players with common intentions on the Internet. At the age of 14, he used the experience of studying the ROM modifier to localize “Dragon Quest” in the library while looking up the dictionary at the age of 14, and built a component called Starsoft Translations. Localization team.

A hexadecimal editor

The players in this group do not understand Japanese or programming, but in the end they uploaded an unfinished English localized version.

The unfinished English localization uploaded in 1996

The biggest problem Near encountered during this localization process is that English and Japanese are actually not the same length. With the same sentence, one page of dialogue in Japanese can be completed. If you want to achieve the same effect when you switch to the English version, you must optimize the font ratio.

This is one of the biggest advancements in the second localization. During the second localization, Near printed a 200-page document to study the operation of the SNES, tried code effects one by one, and integrated the code that could eventually change the font ratio to make a font renderer.

Optimized English interface

During the research process, Near found that for localization staff, the compilation process is extremely cumbersome. It is necessary to manually convert the code into hexadecimal code, and then put the converted code into the ROM. In order to facilitate translation, Near designed a patch editor to simplify the intermediate steps and benefit a large number of subsequent players.

This year, Near was 17 years old.

The translation progress in 2000 was 25%, not completed


In 2004, Near developed the Bsnes simulator. The reason for making the emulator was that we encountered unexpected problems when localizing “Dream Simulation Warfare”-the SNES emulators on the market at the time were only simulating game operation, and did not restore it from the perspective of system hardware. It is impossible to make the most appropriate adjustments to the screen and window.

So, Near made a new simulator by himself. His goal is only one: strive to perfectly and accurately restore the performance of the SNES native. At first, this new emulator was not liked by people. Although its restoration degree is more accurate, the average player can hardly feel any difference when playing. It also has higher requirements on computer hardware and runs slower.

But facts have proved that the value created by Bsnes is immeasurable. Around 2007, after players’ computer configuration became better and more demanding for games, Bsnes began to become widely known.

Because of the high-precision restoration of old hardware, Bsnes quickly surpassed the general game console emulator and evolved into a more advanced form: Higan multi-system emulator, for GBC, GBA, NES and a series of Sega old The hosts are made compatible.

Higan running on Win10

The most well-known use case of Higan was in 2017, when it became the source code of Hawking’s voice synthesizer.

At that time, Hawking’s voice synthesizer had been in use for more than 30 years, and it was in urgent need of updating. The old man is a bit stubborn, reluctant to part with his voice that he has used for more than 30 years, and is reluctant to replace it with more advanced equipment. However, the instruments of more than 30 years can no longer be repaired, and the manufacturers of the old instruments have long been traced, and it is impossible to get the same one again.

So someone thought of Higan, a simulator that can simulate the original hardware functions with high accuracy. In the end, the sound synthesizer with the Higan code perfectly restored the sound of the old synthesizer, and spent the last time of his life with Hawking until his death in 2018.

The story goes back to Near.

With the support of the new simulator, the “Dream Simulation War”, which has been localized for 6 years and after three attempts, has become one of Near’s most satisfying works. But during this period, Mandelin, the author of the English localization of “Mother3”, preemptively released the complete English localization of “Legend of the Holy Dragon”, which made Near a big blow.

However, after that, the two became friends. Mandelin and Near also participated in the English localization production of “Mother3”, and the version they made is still the best English version on the market.

“Mother3” after Mandelin localization

It looks like everything is better. Near already has a strong programming ability that can solve almost all problems, and also has an equally strong professional partner, but the problem is that if you want to go further on the original basis, it may not be as simple as you imagined.

The localized “Legend of Sacred Dragon” on the market is very slow to load, just the menu may take a few seconds, and there will be some graphical reality faults from time to time, which is obviously unacceptable for the pursuit of perfect Near. At the same time, if you want to optimize the loading speed, you need to overthrow all the previously used codes and replace them with new ones, which requires a lot of time and effort.

Moreover, since Higan became popular, Near has become busier. Beginning in 2009, he spent more time on Higan’s derivative products, and wanted to continue the localization of “Legend of the Holy Dragon” several times in the middle, but he could not complete it after all.

Until 2019, Near announced its withdrawal from the simulator circle on the grounds that it “has encountered a series of escalating privacy violations and Internet harassment.”


In October 2020, Near laid the first line of code for the fifth localization. Judging from the narration of Near friends, this was the first time his depression was getting better. In an interview later, Near said that during the time he stopped working, the idea of ​​completing “Legend of the Holy Dragon” “always appeared in my mind time and time again.”

He looked for a friend named Tom to help with the localization of the text, and he was immersed in the code. In the original game, the menu cursor position will always change from time to time, “sometimes two pixels higher than the text, sometimes one higher”.

Near’s perfectionism can’t stand this flaw. He modified all the cursors on all pages to be center-aligned, one pixel higher than the text.

The fifth localization came to an end in March this year, probably because of familiarity with games and localization work. This time it only took five months, and only the final polishing was left.

The final screen of the localization patch completed by Near

“If you can show this to me who is fifteen years old, it would be nice to celebrate with them.” This was the last sentence left by Near in the March interview.


Before making a decision, Near may be fully prepared. After posting the series of tweets, Near called his friend together. On the phone, he said he had taken an overdose of codeine and guanfacine (two psychotropic drugs) and attached a photo of the noose.

The call lasted for ninety minutes, and in the last hour, only Near’s favorite songs were left on the phone and played in a loop over and over again. The name of this song is called “Les Voyages De L’?me”, translated into Chinese called “Soul Journey”, it is also attached to the end of Near’s tweet farewell to the world, telling the story of a sad soul escaping the world:

Far away from us and our time
It will go away towards the stars
They will use clear and lonely words
Confide their existence to my soul
They will guide it
To the unknown harbor
Where heaven meets the earth
These distant places
Tall and lush grass, amber field
Always dance with light

Author: Halle Quinn
Source: Travel Research Agency


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