The one-hit wonder and addictive mobile game Flappy Bird was noted to have a few art assets quite similar to those of a Super Mario game. It was only a matter of time, then, that things come full circle. Popular for being one of the most hackable games, Super Mario World, the SNES version, has been modded through code injection to run a totally new level that plays like Flappy Bird, with the eponymous hero as the bird. While that might sound unexciting at first, the whole process was actually done manually through a series of carefully calculated moves, using nothing but a controller.
First, the credits. The entire process, which took nearly an hour, was performed by YouTuber Seth Bling. Yes, the very same one that pulled off the near impossible Credits Warp cheat early last year. But while he did perform the actions needed to inject the code, the specific version of the Flappy Bird assembly code, written specifically for the SNES Super Mario World, came from renowned SNES hacker p4plus2. MrCheeze is also credited for discovering the arbitrary code execution setup that made the entire enterprise possible.
Super Mario isn’t just beloved by gamers for its historical and gameplay value, it is also popular among modders because of how it can be manipulated by injecting code, not through normal means, but through precise controller inputs in specific locations on specific screens. Now, that’s no longer something special for the SNES modding community, with many resorting to automated means by feeding pre-recording controller input into the console via a computer.
Seth Bling’s method, however, is unique that he did everything by hand, using standard, unmodified, SNES hardware and controllers. Just to give a glimpse of how insane and painstaking that process is, the source code for Flappy Bird is 331 bytes long and Seth had to input each and every single byte manually by performing a certain action (jump spinning) at a very specific place, 331 times. And that’s not to mention the initial setup required to inject the code in the first place, which involved performing different actions and under different conditions.
Suffice it to say, it’s really a crazy adventure that yet again earns Seth Bling his 15 minutes, or more, of fame. Although it could have been easily done using a computer without breaking a sweat, he can claim the title of being the first, and probably only, human to actually attempt to do so by hand.