Emulator genius Near has fallen victim to suicide

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One of the greatest minds of the emulation community Near has fallen victim to suicide. The emulation developer was reported dead by their friend Hector Martin yesterday after their last call with Near.

The emulation developer has been an important force in the community for years. Near was a prolific developer who created BSNES, a program that eventually became the first 100% compatible SNES emulator. They also created the multi-system emulator Higan and Ares.

Content Warning: This article contains references to suicide, suicide notes and targeted harassment.

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Higan developer Near has unfortunately passed

Martin announced the news on Twitter in a lengthy Google Doc explaining the events leading up to Near's passing. Hector Martin explained that they were on a phone call with the developer in their final moments.

Before the call, emulation developer had taken a “large overdose of codeine and guanfancine". Martin also saw a photo of a noose. Regarding the situation, Martin said:   

““Near took their own life”. That’s how a news article would phrase it. Suicide is a voluntary action, a problem with oneself. Implying nobody is to blame but the victim and perpetrator, one and the same.”
“But that’s not how human brains work. We are not cold, calculating machines. We are a product of our environment. We are shaped by our experiences. A single, powerful traumatic event can change a person forever. So can a million small ones. This is not a weakness of the mind, it is a fundamental part of what it means to be human.”

Why did this happen?

The day before their suicide, Near created a Twitter thread discussing the online abuse they'd suffered at the hands of Kiwi Fans. An online forum, Kiwi Farms is infamous for its history of harassment campaigns.

The developer revealed that they had been attacked for “being autistic". Furthermore, Kiwi Farms users had resorted to attacking and doxing friends of the developer. Following the news of the developer’s passing, many have realised that this thread was their goodbye to their following.

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“Please don't remember me for this,” they said. “Remember me for what I've done. For my work and dedication. Thank you all so much for your kindness and support over the years. I'm very sorry, but know that I love you all very much. Here's hoping there's something better awaiting.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out to the following services. Samaritans UK. Suicide Prevention Lifeline US.

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