Hector “Marcan” Martin has confirmed with Japanese authorities that Near died yesterday, June 27.
The brilliant, highly respected emulator developer Near (previously known as Byuu) appears to have taken their own life.
Concerns first arose yesterday evening, when the famously private programmer tweeted a photo of themselves followed by a string of messages suggesting suicidal intent.
Then, early this morning, well-known security consultant and hacker Hector “Marcan” Martin shared a Google document (content warning: contains explicit details) said to be authored by a real-life friend of Near’s, which is widely being accepted as proof of their death.
Writing in their Twitter thread, Near, who identified as nonbinary, recounted a lifelong history of abuse at the hands of bullies, which continued online over the years and more recently became centralized around notorious internet cyberbullying hub Kiwi Farms.
Near rose to prominence in 2004 with the creation of bsnes (later renamed higan), which quickly grew to become the single most accurate emulator of Nintendo’s 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Near famously scanned some 1,200 Super Nintendo games, down to their circuit boards, in pursuit of long-term preservation and truly cycle-accurate emulation that covered all possible edge cases.
More recently, they were in the news for releasing a much-improved translation of Square’s 1996 Super Famicom RPG Bahamut Lagoon.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline in the U.S. is available 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.
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