Coders successfully decompile Paper Mario – A fan-made PC port is now inevitable

Coders successfully decompiled Paper Mario - A fan-made PC port is now inevitable

Paper Mario has become the latest Nintendo 64 classic to be successfully decompiled by coders

In recent years we have seen several successful Nintendo 64 reverse engineering projects, with coders successfully decompiling Super Mario 64, and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, enabling the creation of PC ports, modified versions of both games, and a deeper understanding of how these classic games functioned. 

Paper Mario has now become the latest Nintendo 64 classic to become decompiled by coders, with their decompilation efforts reaching 100% for the game’s US release. In other words, Paper Mario’s assembly code can now be decompiled into C source code, the game’s assets can be extracted, and this code can be recompiled to create a 1-to-1 matching copy of the original game. Now that this task can be completed, developers can use Paper Mario’s decompiled code to make a version of the game that run natively on PC, or modify the game’s code to create new levels, or otherwise alter the game’s Nintendo 64 version. 

Won’t Nintendo’s lawyers clamp down on this? 

No, while we are sure that Nintendo wants to put a stop to these N64 decompilation projects, the company has not put an end of other existing decompilation projects, like those for Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, and Perfect Dark. These projects avoid the legal ire of Nintendo because they don’t infringe on any of Nintendo’s intellectual property. It’s not like these projects are placing Nintendo’s code and assets for Github for all to see, they are simply providing people with the tools to decompile the game for themselves and documentation for the code in question. This is a reverse engineering project, not a piracy project, and so far Nintendo’s lawyers have not found a legal basis for taking down these decompilation projects. 

As for the native PC versions of Nintendo’s decompiled games, the developers of these ports only provide gamers with ways to recompile the code of these decompiled games to create native PC versions. Users need to provide their own (legally acquired!) ROMs for these games, decompile them, and then recompile them to create a native PC version. Thus far, Nintendo hasn’t found a way to challenge these N64 PC ports legally.

Currently, a native PC port of Paper Mario seems inevitable. That said, some work needs to be done to improve the make all of Paper Mario’s code and assets usable for this purpose. More information on the Paper Mario decompilation project can be found on the project’s website here, and the project’s GitHub page.

You can join the discussion on coders decompiling Paper Mario N64 on the OC3D Forums.