Super Mario 64’s Strange Smoke Texture Is A Bug–Here’s How It’s Meant To Look

For nearly 24 years, Super Mario 64 has had a strange-looking smoke effect whenever Mario’s pants caught fire, which is the kind of thing we’ve long attributed to it being a launch title from a team that had never made a 3D game before. As it turns out, though, the smoke was actually the result of a mistake in the coding–and it’s now been fixed by modders.

A patch to repair the smoke has appeared on Romhacking.net, and has been brought to wider attention by Twitter user Ryan Bloom, who posted a side-by-side comparison of what the smoke is meant to look like.

As you can see, it looks a lot more like smoke after a fairly simple code fix. On line 47 under /actors/burn_smoke/model.inc.c, a piece of code that was meant to read “G_IM_FMT_IA” was instead written as “G_IM_FMT_RGBA”–meaning that the texture was compiled in the wrong format.

Of course, at this point, we’re pretty used to the old texture, and seeing the game updated with new smoke feels strange, even if it was the artist’s original intention.

Super Mario 64 is reportedly getting a remaster in 2020, although Nintendo has not yet made this official, so take that news with a grain of salt for now. There’s also a new animated Super Mario movie in development at Illumination, the company behind Despicable Me.

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