Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 may be 24 years old, but it just got a new lease of life on PC thanks to a highly-motivated fan base and a lot of hard work.
As VGC reports, last weekend an unofficial port of Super Mario 64 was released for the PC. This isn’t an emulated version of the Nintendo 64 game, it’s the result of the game’s source code being reverse engineered and then recompiled for PCs to create a proper DirectX 12 port. By taking this approach, it’s possible to play the game at a 4K native resolution, use a whole array of different controllers, and take advantage of modern rendering techniques including ray tracing.
Here’s the port in action:
The developers took advantage of the ReShade advanced post-processing software to enable support for ray tracing, but it also unlocks “ambient occlusion, real depth of field effects, color correction” according to the ReShade website.
Here’s the ray tracing effects applied to the port:
Nintendo will understandably be very keen to see this port disappear as it’s the best Super Mario 64 has ever looked. However, the download is available and it seems very likely the improvements will keep coming. The only thing Nintendo can do is provide Switch users with an official version in updated form, but even then, it’s going to be hard to top this PC port. On resolution alone, the Switch can’t match it.
On March 30, news emerged that Nintendo is planning to re-release many old Mario games to celebrate the series’ 35th anniversary, and one of them is thought to be Super Mario 64. Once released, a comparison between the two versions will inevitably happen.