Modders have opened the door for N64 classic Paper Mario to get a full-on PC port

Paper Mario
(Image credit: Nintendo)

Fan developers have now decompiled the N64 classic Paper Mario, which means that we're likely to soon see a PC port of the game that will allow all sorts of quality-of-life fixes, visual improvements, and mod support.

"I'm extremely happy to announce that after 3+ years of working on a decompilation project for Paper Mario, we have reached 100% completion for the US version of the game," developer Ethan Roseman announced on Twitter (via VGC). "Every compiled function has been matched!"

A "decompilation" is a project where fans attempt to reverse engineer the source code for a classic game. In the past, we've seen decompilations for games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time lead to full-blown PC ports. A native PC port is superior to emulation because it allows modders to much more easily add new features - like widescreen or 60 FPS support, for example.

This is the first step toward just such a PC port for Paper Mario, but the devs have more work to do before that can happen. "The primary blocker is that some assets are still packaged as raw binary data, rather than being properly extracted and rebuilt," the devs say on their website. "Now that we have reached 100% for the US version of the game, we will be focusing on support for the remaining assets."

Now, how long those blocks take to resolve is the big question. This decompilation effort has been in the works for three years, and all the progress is thanks to the time and effort of volunteer developers. The video above provides a cute little rundown of all the work it's taken to get to this point.

While Nintendo's lawyers are famously trigger-happy, historically it has not set its sights on other decompilation projects and PC ports. The advantage of these projects is that they rip their assets straight from a ROM that you have to provide - which there are legal ways for you to do - meaning that the developers themselves are not distributing anything originally created by Nintendo.

The PC port of Super Mario 64 even enjoys the benefits of ray tracing.

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.