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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11 Comments

  1. LionsPhil says:

    The Wit.nes is literally a NES game, not just a NES-style game

    Doing it properly.

  2. Crackmac says:

    Just logged in quickly to say that is a truly wondrous headline, bravo sir.

  3. Razumen says:

    It’s amazing how upset The Witness fanatics get when you describe it as a line puzzle game, because that’s really what it is. They get all hot under the collar and try to say that “but it’s so much more!”, yet they never really get around to saying what that “more” actually is.

    • Urthman says:

      There’s another part of the game that makes exploring the island much interesting, but it would be a war crime to ruin the surprise of what exactly it involves.

      • BiggerJ says:

        If the only way to find out the Great Big Secret That Makes The Game Worth It is to play it because the super secret Witness fun club refuses to tell anyone, then don’t be surprised when most people don’t take the gamble, especially with the game’s price being what it is.

      • Razumen says:

        I’m sure it doesn’t change the fact the game is all about line puzzles.

        • anarchy753 says:

          No it’s still just all about line puzzles, and a hint; the secret is exactly the same secret as EVERY other puzzle game with an open world.

  4. Amighost says:

    Was it really necessary to mention the existence of the secret theatre and the Tarkovsky clip without warning? I’m in the middle of the game and I wasn’t really expecting to accidentally read a somewhat major spoiler in an article about an independent side project. Sort of dampens the experience of discovering a “secret” when I know it exists before I find it.