Nintendo 64 Classic Paper Mario Has Been Fully Decompiled

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Story Highlights

  • Coder Ethan Roseman has completed 100% decompilation of 2000 classic Paper Mario.
  • Ethan has entirely reverse-engineered the game and released the reconstructed code publicly.
  • Decompilation will open the door for unofficial PC ports and mods that practically do not violate any copyrights and remain ‘legal.’

Nintendo 64 classic Paper Mario’s US version has been fully decompiled by coder Ethan Roseman. Roseman shared his achievement on his Twitter, saying he has reached 100% completion of the process for the US version of the game. The coder has entirely reverse-engineered the assembly code of the game and released the reconstructed code publicly on GitHub.

Decompilation of classic games has been trendy among coders for a while now. Decompilation allows the coders to manually reverse the original source code of the game, forming a matching copy that cannot be legally challenged since the code gets fully reconstructed. The process opens the door for unofficial PC ports and mods, which practically do not violate any copyrights.

According to Ethan, his Paper Mario decompilation project also converts game assets from an original game copy into more contemporary forms, including backgrounds, sprites, maps, and text. Additionally, he claims that there is still so much work to be done on the project, including documentation, support for additional versions, and asset support.

The completion of the process means that we will be able to get our hands on Paper Mario’s PC ports and modern mods sooner or later. Nintendo 64, being a retro console, has seen a good number of its titles being decompiled, including Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Perfect Dark. Super Mario 64 received a PC port shortly after decompilation with modern graphics and features like ray tracing.

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has also been ported to PC in a fan-made project. Furthermore, Nintendo has been quite serious with legal matters, from their battle against sites pirating their games to hammering the hacker Gary Bowser leading him to jail, and making him pay them for almost the rest of his working life. 

The good news is Nintendo is yet to crack down on any decompiled titles, and we doubt they ever will since this process remains essentially legal. The whole source code gets reversed from scratch. In fact, you must submit those Nintendo assets via a legally obtained ROM if you wish to play an unofficial Paper Mario PC port. The assets from this would then be extracted and applied to the reversed code to run the port.

Anyways, if you wish to play Paper Mario on your PC, we think someone would already have taken the project up, we don’t lack passion here. Or, Ethan himself might release a PC port of the game he worked for three years to decompile. Also, if you are interested in the process behind the decompilation of Paper Mario, Roseman has shared a video as well.

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