In the past few days, I’ve seen many, many, many, many posts about SMB being ported to the C64. I’ll be honest, I completely blew it off, as I assumed it was just another basic SMB port to a different console; *Something that’s been done since the dawn of emulation. While fan-made console ports are (in my opinion) always impressive, “popular” blogs often take any chance they can get to use “mario” as clickbait. In this case, most even made sure to throw in terms like “pixel-perfect” and “1:1 recreation”, which I assumed was just more clickbait aimed at nerds like me, as it seemed the writers didn’t really know what that meant when they wrote that in their one-paragraph post (garbage blogs sure have made me cynical, haven’t they!?).
Well, I was wrong. Dead wrong. It wasn’t until a friend sent me this link that I realized what this actually is: A pixel-perfect, 1:1 recreation of the original. LOL, okay, so the clickbait wasn’t wrong…but they needed to explain what that meant: It doesn’t just look and sound like the original, it re-creates the original game experience in the same way (or better) than an “official” port of the game from Nintendo would have been.
Just the overall performance is impressive though! The NES’ processor is about 70% faster than the Commodore 64’s, meaning developer ZeroPaige had to squeeze absolutely every bit of power out of the C64 and the game’s code. The game runs properly in both 50hz and 60hz modes, including the speed of both the game and music when played on opposite hardware (50hz game on a 60hz machine, etc). On top of that, even things like the minus world glitch and wall jump work, which ZeroPaige says wasn’t intentional – It was just a result of how exact the translation ended up being.
After spending seven years on the game, ZeroPaige sure has a lot to be proud of!!! Here’s the main thread with more information on the game, links to download and more. As an FYI, I believe it’s playable on real C64’s, MiSTer hardware and people are even trying to get it working on the C64 Mini with a patch:
End Date: Saturday Jul-18-2020 8:25:22 PDT
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In an astonishing feat of technical engineering, Super Mario Bros. was faithfully ported to the Commodore 64 in full. Of course, the true test of faithfulness is if the infamous "Minus World" glitch is still possible. I tried on a real C64, and this is the result! pic.twitter.com/1e0ziGMABA
— Dan Salvato (@dansalvato) April 19, 2019
*It used to be very common to see people do things like take Super Mario World and replace the graphics with Sonic, then call it “Sonic on SNES”. I mean no disrespect to the “graphics swap” hacks and I think they’re a really fun idea, but I’m sure even those dev’s will agree the conversion talked about in this post is on a whole other level.