When Super Mario 64 re-released on the Nintendo Switch in late 2020 as part of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, longtime fans of the 3D Mario series were disappointed to see that Super Mario 64 received only minor improvements on the original 1996 version. In fact, this prompted me to choose Super Mario 3D All-Stars as my worst game of 2020.
While fans would probably have been happy simply with an improved aspect ratio and some texture adjustments, a Super Mario modder has taken this to the extreme, implementing ray-tracing support for the iconic Nintendo title.
Here's how Super Mario 64 looks with RTX on.
VIDEO: Super Mario 64 with ray-tracing
In a video entitled 'I bought a $1500 GPU to play Super Mario with RTX', the YouTuber Darío showed off his progress in adding ray-tracing to Super Mario 64's Wet-Dry World.
The most obvious improvement in the video, aside from HD re-textures and a wider aspect ration, comes from the water. Instead of the bright blue, flat water traditionally seen in Super Mario 64, Darío's mod adds crystal-clear water that wouldn't be out of place in modern-day AAA releases.
Darío also provided a further look at his progress in the basement area since releasing this video in late-2020.
Super Mario 64 PC port
Since Super Mario 64's source code was leaked onto the PC last year, modders have had a field day in upscaling the 1996 version, adding improved textures, ultra-widescreen support and now, ray-tracing.
As reported by Kotaku, a community of modders remain dedicated to creating an unofficial port of Super Mario 64, and have even replaced the Mario model with a more recent, less blocky model.
However, this is a Nintendo game. Nintendo has a rich history in blocking fan projects and emulations from being made, and Super Mario 64 PC has had its fair share of run-ins with the IP holder, who has filed copyright claims against websites that are hosting the Mario 64 code.