The Brilliant SNES Emulator Author Known As Near Has Died

The Brilliant SNES Emulator Author Known As Near Has Died
Image: Near / Kotaku

The brilliant, highly respected emulator developer Near (previously known as Byuu) appears to have taken their own life.

Concerns first arose yesterday evening, when the famously private programmer tweeted a photo of themselves followed by a string of messages suggesting suicidal intent.

Then, early this morning, well-known security consultant and hacker Hector “Marcan” Martin shared a Google document (content warning: contains explicit details) said to be authored by a real-life friend of Near’s, which is widely being accepted as proof of their death.

Writing in their Twitter thread, Near, who identified as nonbinary, recounted a lifelong history of bullying, which continued online over the years and more recently became centralised around notorious internet cyberbullying hub Kiwi Farms.

Near wrote:

But Kiwi Farms has made the harassment orders of magnitude worse. It’s escalated from attacking me for being autistic, to attacking and doxing my friends, and trying to suicide bait another, just to get a reaction from me. I lost one of my best friends to this. I feel responsible.

They continued:

The internet is not a game. It’s real life. I’m a real person. This stuff really hurts. I poured my entire life into this. I have no real-life friends, I have no other reason for being. Only this. And now I have nothing.

It’s too late for me, but I pray that someone, at some point, will do something about that website. There’s too many people suffering, and no one seems to care because we are relative nobodies online, and they know that. Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.

Near rose to prominence in 2004 with the creation of bsnes (later renamed higan), which quickly grew to become the single most accurate emulator of Nintendo’s 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Near famously scanned some 1,200 Super Nintendo games, down to their circuit boards, in pursuit of long-term preservation and truly cycle-accurate emulation that covered all possible edge cases.

More recently, they were in the news for releasing a much-improved translation of Square’s 1996 Super Famicom RPG Bahamut Lagoon.

If you or someone you know is in need of crisis support or someone to talk to, contact the Lifeline Australia hotline at 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service at 1300 65 94 67 or the Kids Helpline (for ages 5-25) at 1800 55 1800.

Comments

  • Incredibly sad news. Near was a pillar of the emulation community, and I hope the evil fucks responsible for this are brought to justice.

  • Kiwi Farms is just the worst. Vile, pathetic people that should be treated like the criminals they actually are.

  • Worthless bottom dwellers have robbed us of one of the most important people we’ve had preserving our videogame cultural and artistic heritage.

    Fuck this shit, and I hope the vile cretins who engaged in this find themselves behind bars.

  • They key thing is whether anyone’s going to do anything about it, and actually go after them. Or just all be really angry but not actually do something.

    Change only happens when people like that are arrested and punished. Until then they’ll happily continue with their perverted thrills of pushing people to kill themselves.

    • The problem is can anything be done about it?

      We are talking about the same website who purposely reposted the nz gunner’s livestream and manifesto after every other place scrubbed it.. and then doubled down by basically telling NZ police and government to “shove it” when requested to take down the vids and asked for the sources of reposts.. all nz could do was isp ban kiwi farms..

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