Super Mario 64 gets a ray tracing makeover on PC

Super Mario 64
(Image credit: Nintendo)

If you've ever wondered what Super Mario 64 with ray tracing would look like, we've got good news for you.

At first thought, Super Mario 64's incredibly old texture designs might not pair so well with ray tracing, but there you'd be sadly mistaken. In the video just below, YouTuber Dario shows us what Super Mario 64 looks like with ray tracing enabled on a RTX 3090 graphics card, and it's surprisingly sharp.

It turns out these ray tracing features for Super Mario 64 are part of a community modding effort to get the game running on PC. Last year, avid Super Mario fans were able to get the classic Nintendo game running on PC, like you can see in the video just below, effectively giving it a fresh coat of paint with an updated look through PC emulation.

Ray tracing being implemented in the unofficial PC port of Super Mario 64 is just the latest in a long line of community efforts around the Italian plumber through emulation. It's a scene where a lot of crazy things have occurred over the last few months, including someone managing to beat Super Mario World with just voice controls.

Earlier last year however, a huge Nintendo-related leak revealed the source code for a slate of games, including Super Mario 64. Buried within the game's original files was actually an official, unused Luigi model, which players managed to get working through mods. It turns out there's still things left to discover in the game that's over 20 years old.

Mario's back in action later this week on the Nintendo Switch, when Super Mario 3D World + Bowser's Fury releases on February 12. You might already be familiar with the former game, but Bowser's Fury is a different beast entirely, where Mario and Baby Bowser need to team up to take down the bigger Bowser for good. Head over to our Super Mario 3D + Bowser's Fury preview for a lengthier look at one of the more experimental Mario games in recent memory.

For an extensive look at everything else Nintendo has planned for their console over the coming year, check out our full upcoming Switch games guide for more.

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.