Game Builder Garage player makes running emulator in game

Game Builder Garage
(Image credit: Nintendo)

A Game Builder Garage player has figured out how to create a simple but functional emulator in Nintendo's programming tool kit. 

The post comes from the Game Builder Garage subreddit, with user Hydr8gon explaining in-depth process of creating the emulator. It's quite technical but goes into the details of how they got the software working in the game. 

To catch you up, Game Builder Garage is a tool crafter by Nintendo that allows players to begin to understand the basics of game making. Nodes can be placed and linked up to share behaviors and logic. There have already been some wild creations such as recreations of Mario Kart and EarthBound.

This led Hyd8gon to experimenting with how far the technology could be pushed, and coming up with the emulator project. While you won't be booting up SNES or PS1 games with it, it can run the "MAZE" program for CHIP-8 (where it is also noted this is in the public domain, so no legality issues.)

However, there is some bad news, as the game isn't playable. Hyd8gon explains:

"If you were expecting something playable, I'm sorry to disappoint; all this ROM does is generate a fancy maze-like pattern on the screen. I would have loved to get some sort of game running, but with the current node limitations, I'm not sure that's possible."

The game's 512 node limit is a hard roadblock for expanding on the project much further. Despite going back and trying to optimize the 'code' for the emulator, no matter what, it always ran out of space to further expand the idea to its fullest extent. 

They noted: "In the end, what I have is more of a proof of concept; it is by all accounts an actual emulator running in GBG."

While it doesn't quite work and it's severely hampered by the limitations of Game Builder Garage, the creator says they were pleasantly surprised that this was at all possible in the game. 

This title is a really neat tool that could introduce players to basic concepts of game design and encouraging younger players further. Projects like these are showing just how far it could go. 

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Guides Editor at TechRadar

Patrick Dane is currently the Guides Editor at TechRadar. However, he was formerly a freelance games journalist writing for sites and publications such as GamesRadar, Metro, IGN, Eurogamer, PC Gamer, and the International Business Times, among others. He was also once the Managing Editor for Bleeding Cool.