Microsoft Brings Modern Programming to the Iconic NES Console

The old Microsoft hills background with a Nintendo NES in front of it
Credit: Microsoft / Nintendo

The old Microsoft hills background with a Nintendo NES in front of it
Credit: Microsoft / Nintendo


  • A Principal Software Engineer at Microsoft has done the impressive feat of bringing .NET to the NES
  • The 1980s console uses a measly 6502 microprocessor, so using a framework from the 2000s sounds very exciting
  • You can watch the presentation from the engineer on May 24, 2024 as part of the Microsoft Build event

While most people might not be aware, the .NET framework is one of Microsoft's greatest inventions. This 22-year-old technology is still widely used today, with millions of developers building their applications using .NET. Despite being released two decades after the NES, one clever engineer has managed to bring .NET to Nintendo's classic console.

The legacy of the NES, one of the best retro gaming consoles, is truly admirable. Released in the early '80s, the home console marked a significant shift—people no longer had to go to arcades to play video games; instead, they could enjoy a variety of gaming experiences at home.

However, even though the NES was a great console at the time, it is much less powerful than modern consoles. Devices like the Nintendo Switch 2 will easily emulate NES titles, considering the console will likely be one of the best gaming handhelds, and even smartphones can play games from the NES and SNES generations without difficulty.

Despite its age, the NES remains impressive. At the upcoming Microsoft Build event, Principal Software Engineer Jonathan Peppers will present on bringing Microsoft's .NET framework to the NES.

Details are limited before the presentation on Friday, May 24, 2024, but Microsoft has provided a brief description of what to expect. They state, "Jonathan will walk through a 'hobby project' of making C# programs run on a 1985 game console with a 6502 microprocessor," adding that "this talk will be fun and full of learning about reverse engineering, opcodes, MSIL, binary formats, and much more!"

If you want to learn more about how this impressive feat was accomplished, you can register for the Microsoft Build event. The digital version is free to watch, but if you have the money and time and want to travel, you can attend the live event in Seattle.

In the meantime, if you want to revisit the NES era of video games, your best options are playing the best iPhone emulators or the best Android emulators, especially since iPhones have more emulation apps than ever before.

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