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Super Mario 3D All-Stars leaks in full online days before release, confirmed to use emulation

Super Mario 3D All-Stars is set to launch on Friday, but the entire game has already leaked on the Internet. (Image via Nintendo)
Super Mario 3D All-Stars is set to launch on Friday, but the entire game has already leaked on the Internet. (Image via Nintendo)
Just days before its release, Super Mario 3D All-Stars leaked onto the Internet in full. While a leak of the game is bad enough, an intrepid data miner reports that the game uses emulators to play the three retro Mario games within. In other words, the games are not ports for the Switch but are rather original ROM/ISO files (with some patches applied) played in emulation.
Sam Medley,

Nintendo fans are gearing up for the release of Super Mario 3D All-Stars this Friday, but some apparently couldn’t wait that long. The game leaked in full and is already floating around the Internet.

This news comes from Twitter user OatmealDome, who is known for data mining Nintendo consoles and games. In a Twitter thread, OatmealDome claimed that “Super Mario 3D All Stars [sic] has leaked onto the Internet.” While the source of the leak isn’t yet known, it’s likely that someone with either a review copy or a pre-order that was sent out early dumped the game files and uploaded them to piracy websites.

Perhaps more interesting, OatmealDome discovered that the game, which features three popular polygonal Mario games (Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy), uses emulation to play the retro titles. This is somewhat ironic given Nintendo’s draconian stance on emulation and the distribution of Nintendo console emulators and game ROMs.

According to OatmealDome, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Sunshine run in a Wii/Gamecube emulator called “Hagi” that may have been made internally by Nintendo’s European division. Since the Gamecube and Wii had very similar internal hardware, both Gamecube and Wii games can usually run in the same emulator.

OatmealDome mentioned that this version of Super Mario 64 runs in an unknown Nintendo 64 emulator and uses a “Shindou Pack ROM,” which is a version of the game files that have had some patches applied. Primarily (and to the chagrin of Super Mario 64 speedrunners), it removes the ability for Mario to perform a “backward long jump,” or “BLJ,” which allows Mario to jump backward and build up tremendous momentum until he rockets through barriers and event triggers. BLJs are a common tactic used in some speedruns of the game.

Interestingly, the Nintendo 64 emulator present in Super Mario 3D All-Stars uses the Vulkan API and applies patches for textures, text translation, and other aspects “on the fly.”

OatmealDome also commented on the possible presence of other Nintendo 64 games in the emulator used in Super Mario 3D All-Stars. He seems to think these references are merely leftovers from the Wii U Virtual Console version of the emulator.

YouTuber Modern Vintage Gamer has an excellent explainer of possible reasons Nintendo opted for emulation instead of a true port. You can watch that video below.

What do you think of Super Mario 3D All-Stars and its use of emulation? Let us know in the comments.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 09 > Super Mario 3D All-Stars leaks in full online days before release, confirmed to use emulation
Sam Medley, 2020-09-16 (Update: 2020-09-16)
Sam Medley
Sam Medley - Review Editor - @samuel_medley
I've been a "tech-head" my entire life. After graduating college with a degree in Mathematics, I worked in finance and banking a few years before taking a job as a Systems Analyst for my local school district. I started working with Notebookcheck in October of 2016 and have enjoyed writing news articles and notebook reviews. My areas of interest include the business side of technology, retro gaming, Linux, and innovative gadgets. When I'm not hunched over an electronic device or writing code for a new database, I'm either outside with my family, playing a decade-old video game, or sitting behind a drum set.