Through the looking glass: I consider myself reasonably well versed in Super Nintendo history but I’m far from an expert. Case in point – I had no idea Nintendo released a satellite modem accessory for the Super Famicom in Japan in 1995 called the Satellaview.
Unlike the XBAND for the Super NES and Sega Genesis that enabled online play, the Satellaview was a broadcast device that beamed content to gamers on a daily basis for many years. Slack engineer Bertrand Fan recently learned of the peripheral and somehow managed to get the team collaboration tool running on the platform… or more accurately, an emulated version of the platform (seeing at support for Satellaview ended nearly two decades ago).
Fan used the bsnes-plus emulator and a ROM of BS-X: The Story of The Town Whose Name Was Stolen, a game that came with the Satellaview. When the service was live, the game could be updated with information beamed to it via the Satellaview link. On an emulator without Satellaview support, however, the game is quite boring as no new content is added… which is where Fan’s genius comes in.
Using a tool called SatellaWave, Fan was able to generate Satellaview Broadcast binary files that can be used to update a list of items for sale in a building within the game. Getting a bit creative, Fan used this as a hub for Slack messages, even automating the process through SatellaWave.
The project is not at all practical but if you’re a fan of obscure, retro hardware, it’s incredibly fascinating.