Super Mario 64 smoke glitch uncovered, fixed with a single line of code

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,304   +120
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One thing that you might remember from the classic is the odd smoke animation given off by Mario’s backside when he falls into a lava pit. Something always felt a bit off about the visual – it just didn’t really match the look and feel of the rest of the game.

As it turns out, what we got wasn’t what was intended at all, but rather, the result of a bug in a line of code.

As a new ROM hack for the game highlights, the smoke animation we are familiar with is the result of an error on line 47 of the “/actors/burn_smoke/model.inc.c” file. Remarkably, it has been overlooked (or perhaps ignored by Nintendo) since the game’s launch in 1996.

A simple correction calls for the correct smoke artwork to be displayed which looks much less out of place than the “original.”

With any luck, perhaps Nintendo will address this minor bug in its rumored high-definition remaster of Super Mario 64 that’s reportedly in the pipeline as part of a 35th anniversary celebration of Super Mario Bros. later this year.

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Homerlovesbeer

Posts: 53   +56
Come on Shaun, you have to know that Super Mario 64 came out on a cartridge and long before the internet came to be as we know it.

Nintendo didn't ignore it at all. It was simply impossible for Nintendo to fix the error once the cartridge was manufactured.

What's with the whole "Nintendo should have patched it" take?
 
What's with the whole "Nintendo should have patched it" take?
They could have updated the game for the Player's Choice re-release or Virtual Console version or Super Mario 64 DS. Some games did get a code update with a re-release like Resident Evil 2: DualShock Ver..
 
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ZedRM

Posts: 342   +180
Nintendo didn't ignore it at all. It was simply impossible for Nintendo to fix the error once the cartridge was manufactured.
That would have been true for the first run of Japanese carts, but once they started making a second run and carts for other regions it would have been an easy replace the master ROM.

To be fair, I would never have known. The incorrect GFX for the smoke coming off Mario's bum looks like smoke to me. It is possible that Nintendo either didn't realize the error existed, or they did and didn't feel like it was enough of a problem to justify the effort required to fix it.
 

Rdmetz

Posts: 44   +16
Come on Shaun, you have to know that Super Mario 64 came out on a cartridge and long before the internet came to be as we know it.

Nintendo didn't ignore it at all. It was simply impossible for Nintendo to fix the error once the cartridge was manufactured.

What's with the whole "Nintendo should have patched it" take?

Further revisions of said cartridges could have included an update many other games over the years saw this type of thing and it's why their are numerous versions of rom's for a single game.

They chose to never address it so it was ignored.
 
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ZedRM

Posts: 342   +180
Further revisions of said cartridges could have included an update many other games over the years saw this type of thing and it's why their are numerous versions of rom's for a single game.

They chose to never address it so it was ignored.
Exactly. Publishers applied updates to the master ROMs even in the NES days. The Legend Of Zelda is a perfect example. It was discovered that if you didn't hold in the Reset button when turning off the system, the was a chance the SRAM would lose it's data. This was a problem for many games that had a battery backup. So Nintendo and other publishers applied an update to warn and advise users to hold in the Reset button on the system while pressing the Power button. They eventually fixed the game carts to protect from the small voltage spike that took place on the power lines for the SRAM during power cut off. Game version updates continued into the SNES time frame.

Updating a cart after it's built isn't possible without replacing the ROM chip(s). But updating the master ROM before a manufacturing run is easy.