In a groundbreaking move, Bitcoin developers have unveiled a new project named Pizza Ninja, introducing a Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) emulator to the Bitcoin blockchain. Ordinal inscriptions, likened to Ethereum-based NFT art for Bitcoin, play a central role in this innovative endeavor. These inscriptions, initiated by the Ordinals protocol launched by Casey Rodarmor, allow the embedding of various digital content, including text, images, videos, meme coins, and now video games, into the Bitcoin blockchain.
Bitcoin devs to preserve Nintendo games
Trevor Owens, CEO of Ninjalerts, the driving force behind the Pizza Ninja project, highlighted the motivation behind this initiative. Owens expressed concern about the preservation of classic video games, citing a July 2023 report by the non-profit Video Game History Foundation. According to the report, 87% of classic games are not actively circulating under a license and are considered “critically endangered.” Inspired by this alarming revelation, Ninjalerts initiated the Pizza Ninja project to address the issue. The Super Nintendo Emulator, a key feature of Pizza Ninja, is seamlessly integrated into each Ninja Profile Picture.
Users can enjoy playing games using an Ordinals Explorer or marketplace directly in their web browsers. Ninjalerts has facilitated developers interested in experimenting with the SNES emulator by launching a dedicated website with documentation on file storage and password protection procedures. Explaining the choice of an SNES emulator, Owens cited considerations such as blocksize cost and the limited 1MB size of a block. He mentioned, “16-bit is probably the highest we can go feasibly on L1,” with L1 referring to a blockchain like BTC, Ethereum, or Solana that allows developers to build applications directly on the network.
SNES emulator on the Bitcoin blockchain
While optimistic about the future of gaming on the Bitcoin blockchain, Owens acknowledged potential copyright challenges that could restrict the selection of games available. He emphasized the legality of emulators under U.S. Copyright Law, particularly Section 117 of the Copyright Act, which permits the creation of backup copies for archival purposes. Owens hopes the Pizza Ninja project will serve as both a public service and a catalyst for discussions on preserving digital cultural artifacts. The project utilizes the BRC-69 standard, introduced in July, which brought recursive inscriptions to the Bitcoin blockchain.
Recursive inscriptions enable users to extract data from existing inscriptions, facilitating the creation of new ones. Owens detailed the process of splitting files into eight chunks and combining them with recursion to make the SNES emulator project feasible. The incorporation of non-financial transactions, such as Ordinal Inscriptions and BRC-20 meme coins, into the Bitcoin blockchain has sparked debates within the community. Ocean Mining, in December, allowed users to decide whether to process blocks containing these non-financial transactions.
Owens acknowledged that Bitcoin purists might be displeased with such additions but expressed hope that the project would provoke conversations on preserving digital artifacts within the ecosystem. The Pizza Ninja project marks a significant stride in expanding the capabilities of Bitcoin, pushing the boundaries of what can be inscribed on the blockchain. While controversies may arise regarding non-financial transactions, Owens sees this as an opportunity to elevate conversations about preserving digital cultural artifacts.