Like any other company, Nintendo is notorious for sending lawyers after fans that have a more liberal view on what they may or may not do with the company’s treasured IPs (intellectual properties). That’s especially true for fan-made mods, let alone a complete port of a popular game from a console long gone. Now that the cat is out of the bag, though, it’s really no surprise that the Super Mario 64 PC port community continues to operate and grow, developing and releasing mods that seem to flaunt their defiance in Nintendo’s face.
It has barely been a month since an avid Super Mario fan and developer resurrected the historic Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 console and gave it a new PC form. It didn’t take long for Nintendo to send copyright notices, of course, but, as with emulators, ROMs, and ports, things still have a way of getting past those legal hounds. And a good thing for Mario fans in that community, as it has apparently given birth to quite a few mods that change the game considerably.
An HD Mario mod, for example, drops Mario’s 3D model from Super Mario Galaxy into the game Nintendo 64 world. Of course, the original version of the game wasn’t powerful enough to support that many polygons but, being a “native” PC port, it is able to harness all that modern computing power. Whether it looks good or not, however, is a matter of personal taste.
Other mods are less jarring but still try to add some added visual flair. One removes the linear filtering that is one of the Nintendo 64’s hallmarks. A bit more interesting, however, is the mod that uses AI and machine learning to upscale some textures to fit more modern screens.
It will also be a matter of time before the videos above get taken down by DMCA notices. You can also bet, however, that these mods will continue to be developed while even more will rise. It will be a game of cat and mouse that neither side seems to tire of playing.