Unauthorized Afterlives of the Super NES/ Super Famicom (Le piratage informatique ROM et l’après-vie de la Super NES) is my FRQSC-funded dissertation in the department of Communication Studies at Concordia University.
My dissertation explores the afterlives of the Super NES/Super Famicom (SNES/SFC) console and its software library, primarily through the investigation of technologies, practices, and industries that have emerged after its commercial lifespan. This research is a productive expansion of platform studies, joining a growing number of academic projects that challenge platform studies’ tendency to focus on industry documentation and official development practices. My intent is to interrogate the platform studies archive by focusing on the practices and technologies of SNES/SFC users that are framed as unauthorised through various discourses of legality and authenticity, and thus relegated to secondary status in official histories of the console. These include, but are not limited to:
- Reproductions: re-creations of videogame hardware (usually consoles and cartridges) that exist outside of developer-established production and distribution networks.
- Emulators: applications that allow one computer system to behave like another computer system. bsnes, for example, allows users to run SNES/SFC games on a PC.
- ROM Hacking: the process of modifying a ROM image (a digital version of a cartridge-based game) to alter elements such as graphics, levels, dialogue, and music.
- Videogame Fan Archives: online knowledge-sharing communities that preserve, document, and analyse games.
I am currently conducting interviews and investigating technologies related to the aforementioned activities and I hope to finish my dissertation by 2024.