Someone Is Porting Super Mario 64 To The Game Boy Advance

Gif: Joshua Barretto / Nintendo / Kotaku
Gif: Joshua Barretto / Nintendo / Kotaku

A fan developer is doing something that seems impossible: Porting Super Mario 64 to the Game Boy Advance. And so far, their progress is impressive.

Developed and published by Nintendo in 1996 for the N64, Super Mario 64 remains a milestone in video game history. Sure, it’s not the first 3D game ever developed, but it popularized many features and mechanics that continue to exist in modern games. It was groundbreaking and relied heavily on the then-newly released N64 and its advanced (for the time) hardware. And now this iconic platformer is being squeezed onto the far less powerful Game Boy Advance.

As spotted by NintendoLife, developer, and modder Joshua Barretto is rebuilding SM64 for the Game Boy Advance. Initially, Barretto had wanted to port the original N64 game to the GBA, but that proved unfeasible for a number of reasons. So instead, the modder is re-writing the game from scratch to run efficiently on a GBA. A recent video shows just how much progress the creator has made on the project.

This is pretty impressive on its own, but it’s even more amazing when you see how much progress Barretto has made in a short amount of time. Back in early May, the developer showcased a red triangle slowly moving around a vaguely SM64-like level. Now, Barretto has Mario hopping and running around a world that looks a lot more like Super Mario 64.

Even wilder is that, according to Barretto, this custom-built version of Super Mario 64 will be playable on a real GBA. In fact, there is already a video of someone toying around with an early build of Barretto’s work on GBA hardware.

So what’s next? Barretto wants to add more features from SM64 into this homebrew port. Eventually, the plan is to release this scratch-built port online, though it will lack any official Nintendo assets to avoid the publisher’s active lawyers. And then finally, we will be able to play Super Mario 64 on a GBA, something I’ve never wanted to do, but am excited to try one day.


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