Modders are making N64 games look better than Nintendo ever could

Using PC emulators and plugins, modders are breathing new life into Nintendo 64 games & making them look better than Nintendo can.

Published Jun 3, 2022 11:52 PM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Jun 24 2022 3:06 PM CDT

Modders and emulation tinkerers are breathing new life into Nintendo 64 classics using higher-end modern technology.

Modders are making N64 games look better than Nintendo ever could 1 |

Dedicated modders and coders are adding nifty effects like 60FPS+ frame rates, ray tracing, and HD textures to old-school N64 games. The latest development comes from software developer DarioSamo, who added high-end optimizations like ray-traced lighting effects, motion blur, widescreen, and DLSS support to a handful of N64 titles like Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Paper Mario, and Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards.

Dario used RT64, a path tracer behind sm64rt, to add these effects. The tool is slowly evolving into an actual emulator plugin.

"This means a bunch of games that never had 60 FPS patches can run at 60 FPS or more, while still running internally at their original rates," modder Dario said on Twitter.

"I also intend to make this plugin compatible with the methodology used by the existing SM64 and OoT PC ports, as it'll bring significant performance improvements for HD model replacements thanks to its decoupled rendering."

Sadly, the plugin won't be available any time soon.

"Don't expect this to come out any time soon as there's hundreds of issues I've yet to solve and features to add. The compatible games library is extremely limited," Dario said.

"I just figured it'd be best to clarify what this project was seeing as it was reported in a few news sites already."

We've already seen sm64rt used in great effect in Super Mario 64, which added real-time shadows and much more impressive visual upgrades during gameplay.


Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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