Nintendo 64 games can now be instantly ported to PC, and there's a widescreen, 60 FPS Majora's Mask to play right now

Zelda 64: Recompiled
(Image credit: Nintendo/Zelda 64: Recompiled)

A new tool allows modders to instantly port Nintendo 64 games to PC, greatly reducing the time it takes to build major upgrades like widescreen and high frame rate support for the console's library. We're still in the early days, but an absolutely incredible PC version of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask is already available for you to see what's possible.

This tool is called N64: Recompiled, from a developer who goes by Wiseguy, and it essentially translates the original code of an N64 game into a modern programming language that can be read by current computers. Where an emulator would basically create a digital clone of an N64 console to run games, these native ports will run directly on your computer, opening the door to much more impressive upgrades.

We've seen similar, hand-developed PC ports for games like Super Mario 64 and Zelda: Ocarina of Time in the past, but those projects were in the works for years - with N64: Recompiled, an experienced dev can theoretically get a port going in a matter of minutes. I'm probably oversimplifying the technical details, but the video below from Nerrel, created with heavy input from Wiseguy and fellow N64 development expert Dario, makes it all sound downright magical. They got a Superman 64 port working, for crying out loud! 

If you want to see what an end result might look like, check out Zelda 64: Recompiled, a Majora's Mask port built with the tool. As mentioned earlier, it features widescreen support and much higher frame rates - though the latter applies only to the visuals, not the game logic. I've played a few minutes of it, and it feels absolutely incredible, with none of the original jank, input lag, or choppy performance.

On top of that, there's a new autosave feature, gyro aiming support, and full input mapping. According to Nerrel's video, this port and all its additional features only took two days to make. Development was sped up somewhat thanks to the work modders had already done on a previous Majora's Mask port effort, but that's still an incredible turnaround time.

Zelda 64: Recompiled requires you to provide your own copy of the original game ROM for the port to function, allowing the devs to distribute the program without any Nintendo assets included. Such loopholes have seemingly been the key to avoiding the ire of Nintendo's lawyers. Those previous PC port projects do the same thing, and despite widespread media coverage they've been ignored by Nintendo for years.

For now, it seems like the sky's the limit for this recompilation tool. Wiseguy is already teasing far bigger features for the Majora's Mask port, including texture packs, mod support, a randomizer, and yes, even ray tracing. 

A lot of the best N64 games are getting even better.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.