The Dev Behind One Of The World’s Best SNES Emulators Has Reportedly Passed Away


© Nintendo Life

It has been reported that Near, the developer behind the excellent SNES emulator BSNES, has tragically taken their own life.

Near – who has also gone by the names ‘byuu’ and ‘Dave’ in the past and identifies as non-binary – posted a Twitter thread over the weekend which opened up about the bullying and harassment they have received online.

Since issuing the statement, several Twitter followers have attempted to get in touch with Near, who lives in Japan, via the US Embassy. An anonymous acquaintance later reported via a mutual friend that Near had passed away (we’ve chosen not to link to this statement as it contains distressing details).

Near’s work in the realm of retro gaming preservation and emulation is nothing short of remarkable. Work on BSNES began in 2004, with the aim of making an emulator which was as accurate as possible. Early versions of BSNES ran slowly on anything but top-level hardware, but, thanks to the fact that Near went the extra mile and actually decapped SNES chips to better understand them, it has become the gold standard of SNES emulators, boasting 100% compatibility with the entire SNES library. However, despite being focused on their own emulator, Near has taken the time to offer assistance to the developers of SNES9X to improve that project, too.

Outside of emulation, Near has also been a major force in the world of preservation and even bought an entire North American and Japanese SNES / Super Famicom collection so they could dump them and ensure the ROMs were as faithful as possible. Near also spent many years trying to produce the perfect English localisation for Bahamut Lagoon, a Squaresoft Super Famicom RPG that never saw release outside of Japan.

Speaking to Vice, Near explained:

I have attempted this fan translation five times. The reason I’ve started over each time was because I learned more, and felt I could do better. The reason I’ve released this fifth attempt is because I no longer believe there’s anything left that can be improved upon.

Near also created what many people see as the best translation for the Super Famicom title Der Langrisser, another game that never saw release in the west.

Near’s personal site includes the following autobiographical section, in which they state that they are driven by an “overwhelming drive to achieve perfection”:

Personality wise, I’m an INTJ-T. I mostly prefer to keep to my own spaces, and generally won’t reach out first to others. I work alone, though I am at my best when I have friends nearby to support me. I tend to be overly sensitive and self-critical, and I am not the most adept at social graces, but I’m working on these challenges as best I can. I value honesty above politeness, and rationality above emotion. I have a strong desire to understand everything, and an overwhelming drive to achieve perfection, which often leads me to implementing everything I can myself.

I find I’m not content unless I am working on problems that are just beyond my limits, always seeking to increase my knowledge and capabilities. You’ll pretty much always find me working on something, as I don’t enjoy leisure time.

If you’re struggling with similar issues then The Samaritans can help – you can reach them here.

If you’d like to help in some small way, please consider making a donation to The Samaritans, an organisation focused on helping those struggling to cope with mental health problems and depression.

Please note that due to the highly sensitive nature of this topic, we’ve taken the decision to close comments on this article.

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