Super Mario 64 has come to Minecraft thanks to a remarkably accurate mod.
Programmer and game dev Dylan (pdxdylan (opens in new tab) on Twitter) recently shared a highlight reel of his work-in-progress Mario Minecraft mod. The polygonal plumber we know and love looks oddly natural in the blocky world of Minecraft, but at the same time, it's absolutely jarring to see Mario move so authentically in a completely different game.
I'm working on a #Minecraft mod that runs the Super Mario 64 engine! It's very WIP right now but here's some highlights pic.twitter.com/QCfzl10ip0September 13, 2021
We've seen Nintendo characters modded into other games before, and Minecraft has more crossover mods than you could count, but the uncanny collision of a distinctly Nintendo 64-era Mario and Minecraft left us dumbstruck. We simply had to ask Dylan how this mod works under the hood.
"It's all really possible due to a project that reverse engineered the way Super Mario 64 works, and made the code for that public," Dylan tells GamesRadar+, pointing to the sm64 and libsm64 projects. "The code basically replicates the game exactly, which means all of Mario's behaviors are there. People have already used the code to make mods, or to port Super Mario 64 to the PC. I programmed a Minecraft mod to use that code to integrate it within Minecraft."
"At first it was pretty difficult," he continues. "I wasn't that experienced with Minecraft modding, so it took me roughly a week of me working on it during free time before Mario even showed up in-game. After that, it was getting small details like Mario's face to show up properly."
Dylan's Mario mod is still a work in progress, and he's still got some issues to tackle. If you go too far from the center of the Minecraft world, for example, the Mario mod stops working due to limitations baked into the Super Mario 64 engine. Likewise, some Minecraft blocks don't play nicely with Mario's moveset, though he can apparently use the game's steel bars like the climbable mesh in the Nintendo 64 game. Dylan is still working on the mod and hopes to get the power-ups in the original game – think metal Mario, flight cap, and things like that – working in Minecraft.
As Dylan acknowledged in his original tweet, Nintendo is famously protective of its IP and regularly shuts down fan games and projects using its characters. As such, Dylan's keeping this mod close to his chest for now, though he would "love for people to be able to make obstacle courses for Mario to run through, or even recreations of levels in Mario 64 within Minecraft."
"Playing around with it myself showed me there's a lot of possibilities, but as you mentioned, Nintendo's strict policy on using their property will prevent me from even sharing the mod," he says.
Here's hoping Dylan can find a way to apply this mod in cool ways that don't attract the searing Eye of Nintendo. Whatever the mod turns into, it's already a wonderful piece of tech, and one of the most reliably double-take-inducing Minecraft mods in some time.
Here's something else we never thought we'd see in Minecraft: a perfect circle made without mods.