Mario 64: Smoke Has Been Glitched For 25 Years

Super Mario 64 is one of the most iconic games ever made. Nintendo’s mascot had always been part of 2D side-scrollers until this game came along. The Nintendo 64’s graphical capabilities, however, meant that he could finally enter the third dimension.

Amazing Graphics For The Time

The game is a true technical marvel. When it came out on June 23, 1996, it blew everyone’s minds with its wonderful presentation. The 3D aspect of the game wasn’t just a gimmick, either.

Nintendo clearly spent a lot of time ensuring that their incredible platforming gameplay worked just as well in 3D. It’s an absolute masterclass of level design. So, in a game that many considered to be a graphical masterpiece with amazing gameplay, you’d have to dig pretty deep for any faults.

Mario 64

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Gamers Ridiculed This Minor Detail Mario 64

And, with gamers being as obsessive as they are, that’s exactly what they did. One aspect of the game that Nintendo fans have ridiculed over the years is the game’s terrible smoke texture. As part of the game, if players accidentally wander into lava, his butt catches on fire and you can see smoke coming from it.

To represent this smoke, it seemed that Nintendo used this muddy, ugly black texture. Considering that the rest of the game looks superb, this one visual aspect stuck out like a sore thumb. However, it was 1996 and games didn’t exactly look photoreal, so people let it slide.

Simple Patch Fixes This Mistake

That was until Twitter user Ryan Bloom pointed out that the game had a better smoke texture buried within its code all along. In a post on ROMhacking.net, he showcased that simply adding a single line of code fixed this muddy texture.

The post reads as follows: “If you are decompiling the game, you can make this change very easily without using patches:

Mario 64

  • Open /actors/burn_smoke/model.inc.c
  • On line 47, change the reference “G_IM_FMT_RGBA” to “G_IM_FMT_IA”

At build time, this will compile the texture into IA16 format (correct) instead of RGBA16 (incorrect).”

Again, this patch doesn’t add anything to the game. It simply directs the game to use an image that it already had in its source code. Now, nearly 25 years later, we have a fix for the one minor complaint that people had about Super Mario 64.

There are rumours that Nintendo may release a whole host of Mario games on the Nintendo Switch as part of the characters 35th anniversary. It would be pretty funny if Nintendo references this mistake of their in that version.

 

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