Extreme Debugging: working with haunted computers

Sometimes, when I get nowhere after debugging code for way too long, I wonder whether computers really are deterministic. I’ve come across bugs which seemingly behave in non-deterministic ways. In the course of wasting time on the web to decompress, I came across an article that reported a phenomenon that could, if examined under laboratory conditions, potentially yield profound insights into both computer science and parapsychology:

The Case of the Haunted NES

This article linked above reports that there is a vintage NES that belonged to a child who died an untimely death, and the spirit of the child appears to interfere with the machine to communicate with whoever is playing it at the time, sometimes speaking through the audio output of the TV, and sometimes causing other bugs seemingly in an intelligent manner.

Think about the implications of this. The haunted device in this case is a deterministic machine; it can be examined under laboratory conditions. The knowledge that could potentially gathered from such a study may be the first step in realizing the dream of uploading one’s consciousness into artificial machines. It could also have profound implications on our understanding of the nature of computer bugs. Maybe that bug you’re not able to fix in your code is actually due to some sort of haunting.

To that end, I propose that some brave soul with knowledge of NES hardware debug this spirit possessed NES, perhaps with the collaboration of some parapsychologists.

Any volunteers?

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