Gaming

This ray traced 'Super Mario 64' is pure eye candy

It's so... shadowy.

Mario has obviously changed a lot through the years, going from 2D to 3D. There’s even furry Mario, and “May I have your hand in marriage” Mario (pictured). But there’s something about this ray-traced “remaster” of Super Mario 64 that has us absolutely shook.

Just look at the these shadows.

And the reflections.

This project is the work of Dariosamo who has been working on making an open-source Super Mario 64 port with full ray tracing capabilities for PC. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen snippets from that venture, we got a full technical preview this week and a playable demo.

There’s a lot to take in here graphics-wise, but one thing you’ll notice right off the bat are environmental flourishes like real-time reflections in water or from bubbles, or the adaptive light and shadows bounce off the ground — all things ray tracing can (and does) augment in newer next-gen titles.

Though the heart of Mario 64 is still there, from level design to game mechanics, the ray traced version definitely feels like a new game, probably in part because of how entrenched and iconic the platformer’s aesthetic has become since its release way back in 1996.

Once you see ray traced metal Mario...

You cannot go back.

The game, sadly, is not fully ray traced yet, but if you’re interested in seeing the work that has been done, you can check out this in-depth half-four play-through from Digital Foundry. We highly recommend a gander if flipping your childhoods on its head is something you enjoy.

And while we wait for Mario in all of his shimmering reflective glory, there are still ways to live out your dreams of playing old titles with today’s latest ray tracing tech, like this revamped version of Quake II.

We promise that however you choose to pass the time until a full ray-traced release is bestowed upon us, your experience will be leaps and bounds better than this penguin’s.