Almost every Super Mario title has been a hit but a few have become milestones in gaming history for one reason or another. Super Mario 64 is the prime example of that, being the first of its kind to land not only on the new (in 1996 at least) Nintendo 64 console, it was also the first in that series to jump into three-dimensional space. That monumental title in Nintendo’s history is scheduled for a revival but not before fans have released a PC port that requires no emulator to play.
It’s almost too easy to play old-school console games on PCs these days thanks to the very active and sometimes rebellious emulation community. It doesn’t come without its drawbacks, of course, especially when it comes to performance and support for modern graphics features. After all, you are emulating the hardware and software conditions that the original games ran on.
That’s what makes this “native PC” port so different and so impressive. Technical details are still a mystery at this point but, since it isn’t trying to emulate the limited Nintendo 64 system, this Mario 64 is able to support a lot of modern graphics tricks and features like 4K resolutions or ultra-widescreen. It can even support the popular Reshade third-party tool to add effects like bloom lighting.
There is, however, a bit of uneasy mystery surrounding the origins of this port. There was a recent massive leak of old Nintendo console data that could, in theory, be used to improve the performance of emulated games. That, of course, only adds even more legal risks to an already legally murky emulation scene.
That’s not to say this Mario 64 PC port benefited from that leak, only that it coincidentally happened around the same timeline. Then again, it may already be in legal trouble by simply using Mario 64 data and IP so it won’t be long now before Nintendo’s legal hounds start going after it.