Last September, modders created a way for up to 24 people to jump around together in Super Mario 64. The ROM hack was called SM64 Online and it garnered lots of attention, including Nintendo’s, who promptly issued copyright strikes to have the ROM hack and videos demoing it taken down. Eight months later the modders have revived it under a different name and are trying again.
This new client is called Net64 2.0, and while it does much of what the old ROM hack did, it also adds some new stuff like Sonic and Knuckles, because why not. Kaze Emanuar, who’s been tinkering around inside Super Mario 64 for years, released the new hack and a video showing off how it works earlier this week. Net64 is a program developed separately from SM64 Online by a hacker called Tarnadas. While different, it can still utilise the N64 assembly code Emanuar created for SM64 Online to revive the vision showed off last September of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, and others all hopping around the Mushroom Kingdom. The new version can also search for open servers to join and adds a few new characters and mini games like capture the flag.
Net64 doesn’t actually include the ROM for Super Mario 64. Instead, it’s just a second program that goes over top of it and makes it so people can play online together within the same game.
In an email to Kotaku, Emanuar said the new incarnation of SM64 Online is just a fun side project he felt compelled to keep working on because of some promises he’d made to the community. He’s also hopeful that this version will last a little longer than the last. “I don’t know if they’ll go after Net64 too, but I believed that they only took down SM64 Online because it got so super popular and came out right before Odyssey anyway,” he said. “I think this client will stay up for a little longer than the SM64 Online one.”
Regardless of whether Nintendo tries to shut it down sooner rather than later, Emanuar has other N64 projects in his sights, including a remake of The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask that incorporates Mario characters and Mario-style powerups. He’s also toying around with trying to remake Super Mario Sunshine using the original SM64 engine. In the shorter term, he’s got some ideas for even weirder things, including a parody game called “Doki Doki Mario 64,” a romance sim where you can finally date Goombas.