I’m sure I’m not alone in my affection for the indie platformer, “Celeste”. Released in 2018, Celeste’s mix of easy to learn but difficult to master platforming, its driving soundtrack, and its timely narrative made it an indie darling that is still popular today. To wit, ROM hackers w7n, Morshu, StudsX, karmic, and Eden GT have released a total-conversion mod for the original Super Mario Bros that backports some of Celeste’s charm to the classic NES platformer.
Although Celeste Mario’s Zap & Dash is described in its readme as a “hastily done minihack”, the overall experience feels extremely polished and amount of content included is shocking. I’ve sunk more than a few hours in to it and have only collected a third of the hundred-and-one moons, and I plan on going back to finish the whole thing. For those of you unfamiliar with how to apply a ROM hack like this, here’s a helpful article from a while back on how to use ROMHacking’s online patching tools.
Sadly, enthusiasts looking to enjoy this ROM hack on real hardware are currently out of luck. While I was able to run Celeste Mario on the Analogue Pocket‘s OpenFPGA NES core, the Nt Mini Noir‘s jailbreak, the MiSTer’s NES core, and the latest version of FCEUX, I was not able to run it from an Everdrive N8 Pro running the latest firmware—owing to its MMC5 implementation not supporting the necessary amount of RAM. It’s possible that the PowerPak could run it, but I don’t have one on hand and they’ve been discontinued for a while. Hopefully Krikzz is able to revise their MMC5 core though, because this is an all-timer of a mod and I imagine there are more than a few folks playing on real NES/Famicom hardware that would love to check it out.