One of Nintendo’s most-beloved games of all time, Super Mario 64, is relatively easy to play in 2021. If you own a Switch, for example, you can purchase a cartridge of the game, along with two other Mario classics, as part of Super Mario 3D All-Stars — though, thanks to Nintendo’s limited release strategy, you’ll have to hit up eBay. Nintendo knows we love this game. They’re not making it difficult to find.
Still, not everyone has access to a Switch or the funds to pay $60 for a 25-year-old game. Emulation options are nearly endless — but, again, not everyone is prepared for the intense (and often ridiculous) world of Nintendo 64 emulation.
The internet has a new solution: play Super Mario 64 right in your browser. Yep, the classic game is available right now at this website for free, unlimited play, no downloads or emulation back-end required. Just hit start (or the enter bar, in this case) and get to collecting stars.
Who did this? — Our first thought — and many on the internet seem to have had the very same idea — was that Super Mario 64: Browser Edition had been made possible by last year’s massive Nintendo source code leak. We first heard about this feat of internet-ing via Nintendo Life; that article points out via a Reddit fact-check that this is actually part of a larger Nintendo 64 decomp project. That project seeks to essentially reverse-engineer N64 source code to exploit it for speedruns.
Decomp projects are not for the casual gamer; they’re arduous and time-consuming and require deep coding knowledge. But they’re also fascinating explorations of the complex moving parts that comprise a video game — and we get to enjoy the fruits of that labor in the form of easy-to-play browser ports of classic games.
Play while you can — Loading up Super Mario 64: Browser Edition is very, very quick. The entire game adds up to about 8MB of space — almost nothing, in modern parlance.
It’s a good thing the game boots up quickly, because there’s a high probability it won’t be online for very long. Nintendo is extremely protective of its intellectual property and often forces unofficial reproductions and art offline. (RIP to Bowser’s penis.)
All this to say: you should probably drop what you’re doing and play Super Mario 64: Browser Edition while you still can. Ask Bubzia for some tips on getting through it quickly — he’s finished in just 39 minutes. With his eyes closed. No, really.