Future Tense

Here’s What Netflix Looks Like on an Original Nintendo

We all get nostalgic for legacy tech, but we also probably wouldn’t want to give up our smartphones and advanced graphics for the gizmos of yore. But what if you could watch Netflix on a classic Nintendo Entertainment System? Problem solved.

A couple of times a year, Netflix product development teams get to take a break from their normal jobs and work on crazy experiments instead during a 24-hour Hack Day. Great projects always come out of the day, and this year 150 participants created about 70 hacks. My favorite is from employees Guy Cirino, Alex Wolfe, and Carenina Motion, who found a way to get Netflix playing on an unmodified 1980s NES.

On Netflix for NES, you browse titles using a side scroll (reminiscent of the Super Mario Bros. game for NES). When you select a movie or show, you’re taken to its title card where you have standard options like playing it or seeing more episodes if it’s a TV show.

Watching an episode of House of Cards “in all of its 2-bit glory” is an amazing and hilarious reminder of how much graphics and processing power have evolved over the last 30 years.