Did Nintendo design the SNES Classic to be customizable by hackers?


One theory floating around is that Nintendo let the SNES Classic be vulnerable to hacking on purpose. This idea sounds crazy at first, given Nintendo’s iron fist over its products. But according to one Reddit thread from last week by SpongeFreak52, the same hack used on the NES Classic works on the SNES Classic.

“After playing a few games, I wanted to see how it would behave when thrown at Hakchi2. To my surprise (though I guess I shouldn’t have been given the hardware similarities), it CAN have its kernel dumped and re-written with it with the current version.”

In another thread by ssman44, it is pointed out how the SNES Classic “will load ROMS that are gzip compressed.”

“I don’t know if this has been discovered yet, but the emulator built into the SNES Classic will load ROMs just fine if they’re gzip compressed. It will even look for the .sfrom.gz version of a ROM without any modification to the .desktop file.”

“They had no reason to do this except for people who want to add their own games.”

Can that be true? Nintendo wanted to help hackers? A few commenters underneath the thread believe this. Either that or Nintendo chose to remain indifferent.

“that’s nice, and I didn’t even notice. I’m beginning to think nes classic was designed from the ground up to be customizable. that’s not quite enough to think that, but…”

“In all respect to Nintendo, they knew this would happen and didnt put any major security into the NES/SNES classic. The fact they used the same hardware, didnt change anything major security related between the versions shows this. They know its an overpriced linux box that they wont be able to update, and have no control over.”

“Rather than wasting time on unnecessary security stuff they just let it be as is.”

In the past, Nintendo has shut down homebrew apps on consoles such as the Wii and 3DS through mandatory updates. Owners who chose to risk emulation faced the risk of “bricking” their console.

But with the NES and SNES Classic, Nintendo could be shrugging their shoulders. Both retro consoles are certainly printing enough money for them (the NES Classic will return in 2018). Just maybe, Nintendo is relaxing a little bit. Then again, it could be wishful thinking. Nintendo might be choosing to focus their anti-hacking efforts on the main consoles.

The SNES Classic officially released on Sept. 29. Nintendo promised to fix the shortage problems of the NES Classic, so hopefully the new mini-console is readily available to those without one.

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