In 2012, Google posted a video claiming to have developed a version of Google Maps for the Nintendo NES. An April fool’s joke, however, that a hacker wanted to make real. Nine years later, he finally managed to integrate the mapping service into the legendary console.
The inventiveness of some geek hackers is literally limitless. Two of them had notably managed to drive cars with a… Nintendo NES controller. And the iconic Big N console has once again been hijacked by a clever kid who managed to run Google Maps on it. However, the videographer ciciplusplus did not embark on this wacky venture without reason. Supporting demonstration video, Google announced in 2012 that it had developed an 8-bit version of Google Maps optimized for the Nintendo NES.
Except that it was neither more nor less than an April Fool’s Day. The Mountain View firm has obviously never designed a Google Maps cartridge to be inserted into the machine. Corn videographer ciciplusplus has just proven that the idea is technically feasible. To do this, he notably used the method of YouTuber The Rasteri who had laid out a guide to create a personalized NES cartridge. It was also based on the work of Alastair Aitchison who had transposed the aerial images of Bing Maps into 8-bit tiles to create a The Legend of Zelda-style map.
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Google Maps on the NES: a successful hack
Our hacker used a similar method to achieve his ends. In detail, he notably created a personalized application that works via a Raspberry Pi 3 A +. This accesses Google Maps and converts the images into 8-bit tiles like Dragon Quest. Forests are thus represented by trees while expanses of water take the form of wavelets. In particular, it is possible to scroll the map, zoom in and out with an NES controller, the names of the places appearing automatically.
The result is in any case quite impressive, as you can see in the video below.