Wait; not a SADX interview, not a Chao interview, no Chao involved? What is this sorcery?…well, there probably gonna be some few more but the History of SADX Modding article is near-complete! Now with that said, here’s finally another emulation-related interview!

This one occasion is quite a treat: LuigiBlood is an interesting French researcher and emulation enthusiast, that while does seem to work on whatever he finds, has been quite important thanks to his research in both Satellaview and Nintendo 64DD emulation. Simply put, he’s always intrigued about obscure consoles, and those two (as well as GBA’s e-Reader) happen to be some of the most interesting obscure add-ons released by Nintendo…that were not playable on emulators until he (and some others) stepped in the scene.

The Satellaview was a Japan-only peripheral for the Super Famicom (SNES) that acted like a Satellite modem that allowed you to both swap-in/out memory packs with downloaded games and content from Satellite broadcasts with the BS-X cartridge. Yes, downloading games from broadcasts in your Super Famicom. It was a fascinating device and broadcasts lasted until 2000; but the way it worked is probably why it never was given a localization, and that’s another reason why it is important to preserve this one.

Meanwhile, the 64DD was another Japan-only peripheral for the Nintendo 64, that allowed magnetic disks up to 64MB of size, was rewritable (allowing to save more data); and was planned to work for both custom content creation (as seen with Mario Artist), and game expansions (like with F-Zero X Expansion Kit and the scrapped Ura Zelda for Zelda Ocarina of Time). It also had a modem cartridge and Randnet; which was intended for usage of browsing in the internet with your Nintendo 64, and sharing user creations. However, delays and the eventual shortage of games (less than 10 released) made it a flop, stopping any chances from localization, and breaking the ambitious plans that Nintendo had with the 64DD since its conception.

LuigiBlood worked on both a server emulator for Satellaview called SatellaWave (as well as making emulators compatible with this) and translating the BS-X BIOS, and on making Project64 finally compatible with 64DD disks; essentially making the former’s BIOS playable and interactible through your own ideas, and the latter’s library playable without a 64DD after many years, complete with saving. He also recently released 64DD MFS Manager, a tool to import/export content saved in Mario Artist and F-Zero X Expansion Kit save files, meaning that you can now share your custom stuff with others easily! On top of that, he also did English translations for several Satellaview and 64DD titles.

Of course, LuigiBlood’s contributions were very well recieved around the world, specially from the F-Zero community (as it allowed the fabled Expansion Kit to reach to a wider audience), and the Zelda community, as he also happened to work with Captain Seedy-Eye to release Zelda 64 Dawn & Dusk, which is both a technical and playable marvel, as it indeed happens to work like its implied on this mention: It works as a 64DD expansion to Zelda Ocarina of Time! With all of this said (and the excitement I had when F-Zero X Expansion Kit was playable in Project64), I was very glad to get to talk to him for this interview.

So, without any further ado, please enjoy!

This interview was conducted in May 25, 2020

Alright! So first things first, I’m very glad that you are giving me this chance, since I always found pretty fascinating the Satellaview and 64DD stuff; and considering you have been an important researcher for both (as well as working to make F-Zero X Expansion Kit much better to use), I really admire you and a lot of your work! I still remember when I was watching hyped that video of the FZX EK cartridge port running in Project64 😀

I remember adding cartridge port support to Project64 because we didn’t emulate 64DD yet; these ports were done before 64DD emulation was a thing.

Great! So, to begin, how would you describe yourself or what would you say about the stuff you do?

I’m rarely stuck to one thing, as I just do stuff that I’m interested on and it’s usually obscure Nintendo stuff, because that’s where there’s not that much work done. Kind of a tough question because I just kinda follow the flow of what I want to do, which may be all over the place, and usually it’s more like either curiosity or how I wanted to play Mario Artist which got me to 64DD to begin with.

That’s understandable; happens to me often :p

Since when or for how long have you been part of the emulation scene?

About 10 years ago, sort of; at least when I started to seriously do some work. I don’t have a strong presence in the emulation scene, I just contribute stuff to existing projects and then I move on to other things, I just go back and forth.

Do you remember your first experiences with consoles (and emulation)?

I remember that the first console that I played was the SNES with Super Mario All-Stars, so I started with the best of what Mario could offer from the get go. I remember having the manual of Super Mario World but not the game so I asked my mom to get that game, and mind you that was like the late 90s, early 00s.

And when it comes to emulation, I’m not fully sure what I tried first: I remember using KGen as my first Genesis emulator, then Gens to play Sonic 3 and Flashback. I kind of remember ZSNES, but I also remember hating on it back in the day because I didn’t like the interface,and preferred SNES9X much more.

I don’t exactly remember which one I used first, and what game I played first, but I know Sonic 3 & Flashback were some of the earliest Genesis games I’ve played on a PC. I don’t remember how I learned how emulation was a thing, I think my brother was the one who discovered it, and around that time I started to lurk at ROM hack websites and forums. While I don’t remember understanding much at the time because it was all in English and I was super young, I was certainly fascinated about that stuff.

Heh, that’s quite nice; I’d say that I also started off in emulation in a similar way. I remember registering in Supermodel forums back in Dec. 2011 (I’m 18 right now, so around that time I must have been like 8 or 9 lol), gushing about Daytona 2 on the emu and trying to write english as best as I could back then.

I think I learned about emulation around 2001 or 2002.

On that note, what were the first emulation communities that you were ever involved with?

I feel like I should be able to answer because I didn’t interact with emulation communities until much later. I mostly looked at what was going on, but I don’t remember which could be the first one. I know I was sorta involved in byuu’s board at first, and then Acmlm’s board (Perhaps Acmlm’s Board first; there was a bit of a ROM hacking boom with Super Mario World too).

I know that around 2006 I got my current nickname, and that’s when I started to register on websites like crazy and started to badly speak English.

So far what have been the emulators that impressed you the most back then (and today)?

Back then? I wasn’t really interested in technical aspects until around the last decade. I was just downloading emulators and didn’t think too much about it; I kept emulating old systems that worked at full speed, but most of the reasons why I didn’t try to emulate higher end systems was just because I didn’t know it existed.

I started to get more interested in obscure Nintendo things over time, but back then I remember hearing about the existence of bsnes, and I was like “meh, I have Snes9x”; accuracy wasn’t something I understood yet.

Today I do think it is a pretty impressive emulator on its goals, and Dolphin is also one that impresses me in how it is trying to be really really optimized, but also on a communication aspect. A lot of emulators don’t really have that aspect,which for me is a reason why N64 emulation still appears as pretty bad despite all the improvements it got over years.

Can you elaborate about the “communication aspect” you mentioned?

Dolphin maintains a blog, and devs also have some activity in community spaces. It’s very communicative, even about its technical aspects with Progress Reports; it doesn’t necessarily seem much for emulation but it is honestly impressive that they have such a team doing more emulation work, but also the weay how they have some public relations, and that it is still going on today.

Nice! On that aforementioned topic of obscure Nintendo, what can you say about your obscure console research?

I started off with some research with the e-Reader, as I learnt about Super Mario Advance 4 and its extra levels. This actually motivated me to start programming for real, and while I still haven’t made a proper e-Card level editor despite my promises for over a decade (lol), I certainly got my start there.

Then I was curious about the Satellaview, ported my Hello World SNES to work for Satellaview, and some time later I was determined to figure out how a Satellaview server work. It was a pretty hard thing to do, because I didn’t know how to figure that stuff out; previously I was just looking at existing documentations by other people, but here there was practically none.

I eventually got to a point where I got a “server” working, but I also got to figure out how to modify an emulator’s code too, as it was required at some point for proper testing, and that was a really important step.

And then I was cut short by nocash who not only had released NO$SNS, but also released an insanely huge documentation of pretty much everything SNES (and figured out a lot more than I did), so I started using that and figure out how to add Satellaview support to emulators.

So Satellaview kinda led me to become a proper developer through experience.

And then I dealt with 64DD, which was mostly done out of frustration: We had a lot of promises at the time by some N64 emu devs about that 64DD would be emulated, but it never quite happened. And I wanted to play Mario Artist, because I was really curious to try that out, so over time there were also tentatives to dump games but it never worked out, except for a few who decided to only make their process private. That was literally helping no one, so then I was angry and I went like “I’ll make my own dumper”

I had absolutely no idea what to do: I didn’t have a 64DD, and I didn’t know how to develop anything for N64; but eventually with some help here and there I got a working dumper, so around the end of 2014, every disk was dumped thanks to a collector. It was a really cool moment.

I also improved the dumper over time, as we also verified dumps using other disks, so while I knew about preservation in general, I’d say that I was not really involved with dumping games; but this was the part where I needed to be really involved in the process of preservation, and making sure we actually did it right.

And in the end, like,I just kinda appreciated most of the obscure stuff that Nintendo made; it has a sort of charm because of how obscure it is and I (unkowingly) wanted to share that to everybody else.

That was a quite fascinating story! Now, I’m intrigued about what about the Satellaview hooked you to do that amount of research; I’m aware that it was a Japan-only peripheral for the SNES that connected to broadcasts, and games were even playable through that!

Curiosity. I saw interesting and unique games on it, and also there was the SoundLink aspect: The fact you could download games was amazing, but it also was a way to save user content. There are “games” where you can save content to the Satellaview Memory Packs, sometimes even being compatible with another game, like the Maker series on Super Famicom. Not a lot of people know that a Music Maker exists, and it happens to be compatible with RPG Maker 2 and Sound Novel Maker,meaning that you can make custom music for those two games.

Footage of a song made with Ongaru Tsukuru (the aforementioned Music Maker) for Super Famicom; the song was made by LuigiBlood too

Woah, that sounds amazing! Are the Maker games avaliable out there for that matter?

Yes. They still are cartridge games; just that they look like the BS-X cartirdge so that you can insert Satellaview Memory Packs.

Cartridge of RPG Tsukuru 2 (aka RPG Maker 2) for Super Famicom. Image from Cheapskate6

Fascinating! Can you talk about the Satellaview-related contributions or tools you have made so far?

I contributed Satellaview server emulation to bsnes-plus and SNES9X; it’s not really a server but just a folder, but it works good enough to make certain Satellaview games that didn’t want to work before, to actually properly start up. I also contributed server data and was pretty much a consultant on the Satellaview implementation on sd2snes / FXPak Pro, and then I developed SatellaWave which currently makes Satellaview server data.

Eventually it should become a full on server system, but we’re still figuring out the Satellaview hardware at the moment, as I got a hardware engineer to look at it, and we did some discoveries that I’m honestly happy we did because it impacts the future server design.

Eventually I want to be at a point where Satellaview servers are a real thing that works on emulators, but also being able to plug the sd2snes / FXPak Pro to a PC or something where you can also enjoy Satellaview servers on real hardware. I’m personally against using the real Satellaview hardware, because Satellaview preservation is honestly pretty bad. We want the contents on Memory Packs to stay what they are, orelse we cannot preserve more content, and there’s still a lot missing, which cannot be said in numbers because we don’t know how many things we are missing; not to mention some content that are literally impossible to retrieve from Memory Packs.

In what way it happens to be “literally impossible”?

Because some content is downloaded into the BS-X’s internal RAM, and that RAM in partifcular is not battery backed, which means that the content is lost on power off. So unless someone left their console with that content on for literally more than 20 years, it’s lost.

Oh, I see.

One example is the BS Zelda’s intro and ending; as it was a separate download, we don’t have it and we can never have it through normal means. (unless that somehow gets leaked, we’re at a time where I’m obviously looking closely to what’s going on with Nintendo leaks)

What would you say that are the games that intrigued you the most on Satellaview?

BS Zelda and Mario Excitebike. BS Super Mario USA was intriguing as well, and I also learned a bit of certain games like Sutte Hakkun.

What would you say that was the best part of working with Satellaview?

The best part is honestly that Satellaview development made me become a developer, as this made me learn all the low level parts of computer science on my own, and because of that, this made me more confident in trying to reach other systems because the same rules apply.

That’s good to hear! On the previous mention of the 64DD, what can you say from it that caught your attention?

Mario Artist. That was my motivation. I just wanted to play that as I had played Mario Paint a lot back then. I remember looking at the really really few videos of Mario Artist back then and not understanding much.

Unlike Satellaview, the 64DD was not emulated at all. There was a lot of mystery about it and a lot of people said that the games weren’t worth it; just F-Zero X Expansion Kit. IGN’s reviews felt like the 64DD had no point to them and there wasn’t a lot of footage too, so I waited and waited until I got involved in my own.

Eventually Zoinkity ported the 64DD games to a cartridge format, and because of the way it was done, it was easier to support in emulators in the meantime of real 64DD emulation, which was done by Happy_ in MAME. This 64DD emulation code was then ported to Project64 by myself.

Neat! What other 64DD-based contributions you have done? (You can also talk about your 64DD.org site; I checked it out many times before)

Well, 64DD emulation in Project64 is one thing, and I also did port it to paraLLEl-n64 libretro core; but I’m not really proud of that last one. Around the time the games were dumped, I did make them accessible to download, because in any case the 64DD is quite expensive, so 64DD.org was kind of born there.

I’ve made the English translations of Mario Artist Paint Sutdio, Talent Studio and Polygon Studio because I enjoyed them so much that I wanted to make them even more accessible. I’ve just released the disk version of the English translation of F-Zero X Expansion Kit, which was done by Zoinkity, so I just updated the translation based off his work.

You had released a while ago the “64DD MFS Manager” tool; what can you comment about that?

One thing that I wanted to insist with 64DD emulation is that I wanted some way for people to share their content, so I had that in mind sever since I made 64DD emulation code for Project64. I had a bunch of devs tell me in what way I could handle 64DD saves, but a lot of them just didn’t satisfy me so I implemented it the way I wanted; except for paraLLEl-n64 where I didn’t, which is one of the reasons why I’m not proud of it.

I finally made 64DD MFS Manager after a long time with the intention to make something easy to use on how to import / export user content.

That’s pretty cool! On that note, what are your thoughts on F-Zero X Expansion Kit (as well as the previous project for custom tracks in stock FZX, F-Zero Execution Project)

It’s pretty cool, really makes F-Zero X pretty much perfect. For the FZEP track editor for FZEX, I can’t say much, I never tried it. I only made tracks in F-Zero X Expansion Kit.

I used to make tracks at first for FZEP, and then for EK after the cartridge port was released. I had to use savestates to keep them stored; but with this new advancement, I could have the tracks properly made and saved!

On this side topic of F-Zero, since how long do you know of the series, and what have been your thoughts on the community (and F-Zero Central)?

I actually never played F-Zero until Expansion Kit was playable (lol), and I didn’t play much F-Zero since. I was not really involved in the community that much…except that one time where it ended up being people hating on Zoinkity being a fraud; which now since I’ve ported his work to a disk, and actually know how the translation works, I consider that so unfounded lol

I hadn’t heard of that controversy, but it does sound quite unfortunate, specially when he brought the first translation and port in first place

He did some bad stuff before (according to them) but this person was key in making the 64DD dumper for blue disks, and the ports he made are no joke.

But I’m not really involved in the F-Zero community that much. Same for Zelda when we were making Dawn & Dusk.

Ooh, now that’s something I had forgotten about; I had heard of Zelda Dawn & Dusk a while ago, a fanmade expansion for OOT (Ura-Zelda style) What can you talk about that one?

Pretty much born out of experimentations with Zelda Ocarina of Time’s 64DD support. After messsing around, I felt confident that I could make a custom disk expansion that works, so I partnered up with someone else who could make the content. We never intended to make a Ura Zelda thing; it’s not meant to be a recreation and never was.

I’m aware, but the idea of using the planned 64DD support for something new is very cool!

What I definitely asked for was a short mod. It went from a single map to something that I said should last a few hours long. This was a choice that I made on purpose, as I didn’t want this hack to be huge, I just wanted to show off the disk support and that it is possible (and then my partner did really good content).

I didn’t really do much except for waiting until I could port the content to 64DD, and then it was the mod that really got people’s attention because of how good it looked, but I’m not the one to credit for that. The programming for 64DD porting was pretty hard though, and then I handled the port to retail OoT ROMs as well for people to play on emulator without disk and flashcarts.

Excellent job with that (and congrats to your parner too); it definitely sounds surreal to have an 64DD expansion compatible with OOT after years of digging what could be found of that idea that never came to be.

So would you say that it is accurate to decribe the timeline for both systems that: On Satellaview side, you were researching as much as you could back then, but got more material to work with after nocash’s big amount of documentation for that


And on the 64DD side, there was near to no research until you started working on dumping yourself, and then progress happened between adding support for Zoinkity’s cartridge ports and Happy_ 64DD emulation code in MAME

Yes, but everything is still pretty much like I never really owrked alone. 64DD was specially was a lot of people: I had the help of the 64Drive developer, and a collector was there to dump all the 64DD games (Zoinkity provided some help as well). Really, a lot of stuff happened there, and sionce then, I got both a real Satellaview and a real 64DD, so I could do some stuff of my own.

Interesting; and I’d say I’m glad that everything panned out as good as it did now. (and hey, its quite cool to hear that you got both a 64DD and a Satellaview!)

On that note, do you know someone called “Zet-sensei”? He mentioned about working with you for some preservation stuff, and contacted Jimmy130 to have him get in touch with you, in order do dump his Super Mario 64 64DD disk; both are interesting chaps for that matter.

We actually talk often; he’s a good fellow and he’s much more involved in preservation than I actually do.

I heard of some interesting stories from him as well, and I found very interesting his involvement in MO5.com.

Do you still keep in contact with Zoinkity for that matter?

We don’t talk much but we haven’t entirely lost contact either, he’s a busy person and he is still doing N64 translation to this day. His latest was Mario’s Photo Studio, which was the weird Mario Paint-like N64 one (not 64DD).

He also did the translation for Densha de Go! 64, complete with English VRU support in both American and British accent, which honestly goes to show he is a really capable hacker.

That’s quite nice, definitely another interesting fellow; specially when he figured how to cram the 64DD FZX content in the original ROM lol

Now that we have covered quite a lot about both Satellaview and 64DD, I’m wondering what other projects have you been working on.

I’ve been focusing back on e-Reader lately. I know the e-Reader track format for F-Zero GP Legend now [:)] as well as Mario VS Donkey Kong’s custom levels, but I’m also sort of focused on Satellaview translations…which ended me up on working on Marvelous’s translation with my first Variable Width Font implementation ever.

Nice! I didn’t know that F-Zero GP Legend (and MvsDK) had custom level/tracks through e-Reader!

I worked on BS Marvelous, so I worked on the real game too; so that’s currently my future. I’m also busy doing french translation hacking for Marvelous, which is pretty much a first for me. I definitely want more Satellaview games to be accessible.

It’s very cool that you are working on that kind of translations!

That said, I’m not good at Japanese. Mario Artist worked out fine because it’s not text heavy, and with some work without blindly using Google Translate you can make it happen. As soon as it is text heavy I know I need a Japanese translator though.

Any comments about other personal/non-translation related projects?

I did start some disassembly work before and I started working on a pretty small game, which will come out…whenever. It’s gonna be a freegame and I’m ironing out the ocncept, and also had started working on modding Kirby Air Ride, but had to put it aside because of other projects. Definitely still a game I wanna do some stuff with.

Nice! Also, I’m aware that you have a blog too. What can you talk about that?

I kinda hold a blog for whenever I feel like writing about something technical; but I don’t really do much there. When I feel something I do is important enough to be written then I do write something.

What you thought when I reached out to you for this interview?

I was just like “cool”, just sorta happy, I didn’t really think much lol

I really find interesting these kind of efforts in researching and emulation, and I also greatly enjoyed the advancements in 64DD stuff, I was a big fan of F-Zero X since many years ago; but I’m considering to try out myself the Satellaview emulation stuff after this lol

I only do stuff that I’m interested in. Usually if I’m not interested then I just abandon it, because I wouldn’t put my mind into it.

I have to admit that kind of thing, about losing interest and going to other things, happened often to me too, which is why I’m pouring all of my efforts in my current site.

SatellaWave is interesting for me, just because I used to make it quite a while back with the same purpose; except the interface sucked so much. When I went back to it, I didn’t understand how to use it anymore. This made me legitimately interested in UI and UX. The current SatellaWave is the result of me understanding that I really have to work the UI.

I also think that way with emulators and I don’t hold back opinions on UI, especially with some emulators like Mednafen. Also, it still took me a while to finally rework SatellaWave; I promised it for a while…but I only got to it years later lol

At least you finally delivered (lol), and the topic of user interface is quite interesting too! I’d say that because of things like Retroarch being complicated to work with (but working for some quite well), the plugin-based emulators, and both Duckstation and Dolphin, which share similar sleek UIs.

Do you have any greetings or special thanks for someone?

Not really anything that comes to mind right now. Probably so many that I would forget lol

Do you have anything else to add?

Not really.

Have a message for the emulation community?

Spread the word that N64 emulation is not THAT bad.


Well, thank you so much for this; I was really glad to talk with you, and with the amount of things you have done, it really was an honor to talk with somebody as skilled as you!

I grew up with a N64 so I found really amazing about all the efforts done to make 64DD playable after so long. After years of wondering about the Expansion Kit and messing around with the custom tools (FZEP and Machine Editor), 64DD support was truly a dream come true! Thank you!

No problem 🙂