The Famous 'NESticle' Emulator’s Stolen Source Code Has Been Preserved

The release and preservation of the stolen source code to the iconic 90s NES emulator NESticle reflects a new chapter in a controversial saga with deep roots.

Do the neutral objectives of preservation excuse old wrongs, even as the act of preserving code raises uncomfortable questions?

To some, that answer is “yes.” That’s the somewhat controversial position being taken by a software preservationist regarding the recent addition of the source code of a groundbreaking Nintendo Entertainment System emulator called NESticle to the Internet Archive. The move, announced Wednesday by “togemet2,” a pseudonymous member of the Twitter-centric video game preservation group The Forest of Illusion, touched a nerve involving a sensitive, ancient saga in video game culture.

Even as critical as NESticle is to the history of video games, though, it’s hard to avoid the fact that its source code was stolen.