Atmospheric Mario

By: Derek Yu

On: April 22nd, 2008

Auntie Pixelante (aka “dessgeega”) has been peppering her blog with thoughtful commentary about Super Mario Bros. ROM hacks. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of NES ROM hacks, I usually imagine something like this (which, I have to admit, is amusing in its own terrible way). But what Auntie P. shows us is that, at least with a game as ubiquitous as Super Mario Bros., there are some more interesting and… er, subtle remixes out there.

Mario Hacks

Enigmario replaces Koji Kondo’s music with chiptune versions of Enigma’s MCMXC a.D., a concept album from the early 90’s. It gives the game a very different feel. (Auntie’s Analysis)

Super Greyscale Brothers presents a monochrome version of SMB. There’s not too much more to say about it than that, but it’s an interesting effect.

Old Pond, Diving Frog, and Water Sound is a hack named after a Matsuo Bashō poem, and takes place entirely underwater. This is a really beautiful hack, visually, featuring quite a few custom graphics. As to be expected from the creator of Mario Air, it’s also pretty difficult. (Auntie’s Analysis)

Silhouette Mario makes Mario a two-color game. Lovely to look at, and quite difficult, also. (Auntie’s Analysis)

Last but not least, The Pixel Kingdom changes every sprite in the game into a single-colored rectangle. This, and Silhouette Mario, I think, really show off how iconic and well-understood the graphics in Mario are.

In conclusion: hacks can be delightful, and Super Mario Bros. 1 remains one of the most interesting conceptual playgrounds in video games (and probably elsewhere).

To play these, you need an emulator, an ips patcher, and, for The Pixel Kingdom, Super Greyscale Brothers, and Enigmario, a clean copy of the Super Mario 1 ROM, which you may or may not find if you hunt around in this thread.

  • Derek

    Try mixing some of these hacks together, too. :)

  • Golds

    Awesome, I’ve been wanting to try Enigmario but finding a clean copy of SMB has been exhausting internet challenge.

  • FireSword

    Let’s Go! Hmmm Oh no i need a pizza first! xD


  • sinoth

    Wow… Silhouette Mario is strangely beautiful. Also, The Pixel Kingdom is great fun to play for some reason. Why oh why do I prefer solid rectangles to actual art? :'( Indie gaming what have you done to me!?!?

  • Anonymous
  • Trotim

    This is art… it’s nothing mind-blowing, but is every piece of art good?

    Reducing the graphics of an already old game is a great idea in my opinion that should be applied more often (demakes, anyone?)

  • Greek
  • Lolfo

    A site that starts with “emu” and ends with “paradise” is your friend. An ad-infested friend, but still your friend.

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