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Super Mario 64 looks glorious with full ray tracing

Mario 64 Ray Tracing
Mario 64 Ray Tracing (Image credit: Darío)

What you need to know

  • A modder added ray tracing to Super Mario 64.
  • The mod is a fork of the open-source n64decomp/sm64 project.
  • Previous attempts to add ray tracing to the game were only in the form of textures.

What's the first game that you would want to play with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090? Microsoft Flight Simulator? Apex Legends? The Witcher 3? Those are some of the best PC games right now, but the obvious answer is, of course, Super Mario 64 with ray tracing. A modder by the name of Darío managed to get ray tracing on the iconic game (via Tom's Hardware).

Darío is an experienced modder and has several videos showing off Sonic the Hedgehog mods. Now, the modder is enjoying Nintendo's mascot on a community-made Super Mario 64 PC port.

It's surreal seeing Super Mario 64 with ray tracing. The video shows off Wet-Dry World, which has plenty of water, fire, and lightning to reflect and create shadows. Watching Darío explore the level, you can see how much of a difference ray tracing makes.

The most obvious difference is that the water is clear and reflective rather than blue. You also see shadows and flickering lights created by several aspects of the stage.

The textures of the game are dated, but it feels much more immersive with ray tracing. The mod appears to run smoothly. That may not seem surprising since Darío is running an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090, but even with a lot of power, some mods aren't smooth.

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This isn't the first time we've seen ray tracing in Super Mario 64, but previous attempts were in the form of textures.

The ray tracing mod for Super Mario 64 isn't public yet. If anything regarding the mod is shared, it won't include any copyrighted assets.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

2 Comments
  • And before nintendo cease and desist
  • Nintendo can't actually do this as the game was reverse engineered (or maybe it's other reasons that I don't know), this PC port exists since late last year and hasn't been removed.