Modder Adds Ray Tracing to Super Mario 64

Super Mario 64 with ray tracing
(Image credit: Darío)

What do you do if you have an RTX 3090 but your favorite games are over 20 years old? Well, if you’re like modder Darío Samo, you add ray tracing to them. That’s what they announced they would be doing with Super Mario 64 late last year, and their latest progress looks great. 

Darío’s been in the modding scene for almost a decade now, largely working on Sonic the Hedgehog projects. But now, thanks to the unofficial Super Mario 64 port that stealth launched early last year, they're currently working on bringing ray tracing support to Nintendo’s own iconic platforming series.

This actually isn’t the first time Mario 64 on PC has seen ray tracing, but up until now, it’s only been in the form of textures. Darío’s mod, by comparison, adds full ray tracing support.

The project’s latest video demo shows the mod running in the Wet-Dry world stage, which means we get to see some truly impressive water and even fire effects. If the models looked a little better, I could even see myself forgetting this game released in 1996.

According to their Twitter, Darío’s mod isn’t public yet and is only planned to be distributed by sharing the source code. The modder also emphasizes that no copyrighted assets would be included in the mod's public release, which is probably a response to a recent shoutout from Nvidia’s Twitter account.

Here’s hoping Nintendo is as cool about this as Nvidia.

Michelle Ehrhardt

Michelle Ehrhardt is an editor at Tom's Hardware. She's been following tech since her family got a Gateway running Windows 95, and is now on her third custom-built system. Her work has been published in publications like Paste, The Atlantic, and Kill Screen, just to name a few. She also holds a master's degree in game design from NYU.