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Witness The Witness Remade In 8-Bitness

In the great tradition of taking something cool and then reducing it to its most basic elements while simultaneously challenging what made it cool in the first place, someone has made an NES version of The Witness It’s a curious thing, because at first glance The Witness is a game about tracing lines through grids so that you can trace different lines through different grids. In that pursuit, The Wit.nes [Itch page] seems to excel.

The Wit.nes is literally a NES game, not just a NES-style game, but unless you’ve got the hardware for custom NES carts you’ll probably need to use an emulator on PC to play it. Handily, developer ‘Dustmop’ recommends a few on the Itch page.

This is a demo containing only the starting area, with 32 puzzles which borrow from the rules established in The Witness, as well as 16 full screens to wander around in. There’s no word on whether you can find a secret movie theatre to watch a 12 minutes of an obscure Tarkovsky film though.

Here, you can watch a bit of The Wit.nes in this video from player ‘Spala’:

“Developed over 2 months, this NES ROM stands as a reinterpretation and tribute to the original work,” says Dustmop. It’s clear he’s put a lot of time into recreating the island of The Witness in a meager 8 bits. The basic line puzzles are intact, but the demo seems to avoid the more “outside of the box” ideas that The Witness begins to layer on top of the usual lot. That makes sense because I think it’d be impossible to pull off some of the creative feats of The Witness on an NES without stepping away from the spirit of those puzzles.

Still, The Wit.nes feels right at home, as NES adaptations almost always fail to live up to their source material. It reminds me of the bizarre NES carts I’d occasionally come across, like King of Kings which turned Biblical stories into a game of fighting gorillas and dodging angry bees. Anyway, regardless of whether or not The Wit.nes does anything truly transformative with The Witness, I still think it’s cool that people keep experimenting with the idea of de-making a game.

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Steven Messner

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