Russian hackers took a break from smashing our democracy this weekend to hack into the NES Classic Mini, Nintendo's recent (and universally sold-out) $60 console. Normally the NES Classic comes loaded with 30 games, but (presumably through the power of rapidly-scrolling green computer text) an enigmatic hacker known only as Madmonkey managed to cram a whopping 84 games into the little gray console's "RAMS," or "flash drives," or whatever.
Check out the video below for details on this feat of Slavic computer-genius wizardry:
The NES Classic Hack Video
How to Get Yours
If you'd like your own 84-game mega-NES, there are some (admittedly sketchy-sounding) instructions in this Reddit thread. You'll have to get your hands on a console first, though - at press time, resellers on Amazon list the originally $60 NES Classic Mini at around $160.
Did Madmonkey Study Under the Infamous Hacker 4Chan?
Jabs at the mainstream media aside, Nintendo consoles are no stranger to third party "hacking." You can hack a DS. You can hack a Wii. You can hack a Wii U. You can, as many competitive players do, hack your way to a universally perfect team of Pokémon. People have been hacking their smartphones to play Nintendo games for years. The popular Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod Project M relies on "hacks," as do the countless ROM-hack versions of Pokemon available in dusky corners around the net.
What is it about Nintendo that attracts so many illegal and borderline-illegal endeavors? The Japanese developer is notorious for crafting walled-garden operating systems for its various consoles. Maybe it's that control-freak attitude that attracts the lawless ruffians of the digital frontier. Of course, the fact that Nintendo's games and characters are beloved around the world can't hurt.
Some attempts to hack Nintendo devices are harmless, because they unlock content Nintendo wasn't going to sell anyway. For instance, the NES Classic Mini was never intended to include functionality to purchase additional games. This Russian hacker is less Vladimir Putin and more Robin Hood - stealing NES games that won't be missed, and giving them to those less fortunate. Or at least to those unfortunates still fortunate enough to have gotten their hands on a NES Classic Mini.
Have you hacked any Nintendo consoles in your day? Let us know how it went in the comments. We promise not to tell the FBI.*
*Actually if the FBI asked we would probably be legally obliged to respond. But they've probably got larger fish to fry.