Back in the days of Adobe Flash, one of the biggest Mario fan games was a flash game called Super Mario 63. Developed by a creator known as Runouw, the project merged the platforming mechanics of games like Super Mario World and Yoshi’s Island with the more open world, collectathon aspects of Super Mario 64 and Sunshine.
It was an awesome game, and one that got quite the fanbase over the years.
Yet despite this, flash’s discontinuation has really hurt the game popularity, especially seeing as there’s now no way to play it in browsers. Now, if you want the Super Mario 63 experience, you have to either hunt down old browsers and system compatible with Flash Player, or get one of the preservation projects like FlashPoint running instead.
But now things are looking up, and the subject of today’s interview is one of the major reasons why. Named Super Mario Galaxy 63, the project aims to recreate Super Mario 63 in Galaxy 2’s engine, complete with 3D levels and all new mechanics! Here’s a trailer showing the project in action:
It’s an amazing looking interpretation, and one that makes us excited to see what the future holds. So today, we’re gonna interview its creator (Alex SMG) and learn even more about this awesome ROM hack.
You ready? Let’s do this!
So who are you? Who is AlexSMG?
Hi I am Alex SMG, I was 17 when I first released the demo for SMG63, before that I was a musician playing piano, then I got into modelling and now I’m interested in animation. The name Alex SMG is simple – Alex is my real name and SMG stands for many things, SuperMarioGalaxy being one of them – the inspiration to my name comes from the youtube channel MayroSMM which was their name back in 2018 – and that’s also when I created my youtube channel. I originally didn’t really know what content to make but eventually I decided to go with Galaxy Modding in 2019.
And how did you get into gaming? What was your first game?
Wow… I really can’t remember, my first gaming experience was watching my older brother play games on his laptop, back in 2009 I mostly played the games that he played so I played “The Incredible Machine Even more contraptions” “Portal” and other flash games.
How about your first Mario game?
My first Mario game was Mario Kart 7, I grew up with it and I have a lot of good memories with it, but my first real mario game was Super Mario 64, I first played it in 2016 – 20 years after the game came out but that really didn’t matter to me, I loved it a lot and since I hadn’t played that many other 3D games before sm64 I was able to appreciate it just how people back in 1996 could. I still really like it to this day and I’m impressed at how good it turned out for Nintendo’s first 3D platformer.
Which games are you playing at the moment?
At the moment I’m playing games from all eras but mostly platformers, I love A Hat In Time. I feel like it’s one of the best platformers currently available. I really love Sonic Adventure despite how flawed and buggy that game is. I’m always replaying all of the 3D mario games, sometimes I play mario kart 8 deluxe and I guess the latest game that I started playing was Persona 5.
How did you initially learn about Super Mario 63?
It was one of the flash games that my brother played and I remember watching him play it but eventually I forgot about it, until one day I found a random video of a speedrun of super mario 63 and when I saw that I was like “Oh I remember this game!” and then I started playing it and I loved it even more than SM64.
Did you try Super Mario Sunshine 64 beforehand?
No but it was another game that I remember my brother playing. I’ve played it since and I must say that 63 is a lot better lol.
What levels and bosses are your favourites from the original title?
My favourite levels are actually some of the mini levels like “Secret of the Sky” and “A Galaxy of Stars” but my favourite level is the final bowser level, It might as well just be the greatest final level in ANY platformer and I am not exaggerating, it is so freaking epic for a flash game, seriously that’s the best final level ever and I still haven’t seen a better one.
Either way, onto game dev now. How did you get into that?
It kinda just happened, I really wasn’t planning to become a “game dev” I just wanted to mod SMG2 and eventually after some time passed I got better at it and I managed to release a 30 star mod. I am still kind of surprised that I modded for so long and didn’t give up but… It happened.
And how did you get into Super Mario Galaxy 2 hacking in particular?
Aha I like that question!, In 2018 I played SMG2 for the first time and I liked it a lot but as I was playing it I noticed something was missing, Before playing it I had seen the E3 2009 Trailer for SMG2 and around 0:15 you can see a level of the game that was COMPLETELY missing from the final game. SMG1 had some unused levels as well but that game had a lot of unused models still left in the game’s files, and SMG2 didn’t. And that really bothered me because I really….Really wanted to play that level but I just…couldn’t. And that’s where my journey began. In 2018 I started learning 3D modelling with blender with the goal of one day recreating this level. My first models were really bad but each time they got a little better and better but by the end of 2019 I had lost interest in modding SMG2 because there were other mods coming out and I didn’t really think I would ever be able to make a good mod so I kinda just gave up and I thought I wouldn’t return for a long time. However in 2020 I did return for reasons I’ll get into very soon.
Are there any other Mario Galaxy 2 hacks that inspired you?
Back in late 2017 I remember seeing two mods that I really liked, Neo Mario Galaxy and Super Mayro Galaxy. What’s funny is that Super Mayro Galaxy was a joke mod but for some reason I liked it back then. In 2018 there were other mods that really made me want to mod SMG2 – those were Super Mario Galaxy The Lost levels and Super Mario Galaxy Run
The first mod was half completed and then cancelled and the other was just cancelled lol but I will always remember them fondly.
What made you decide to remake Super Mario 63 in this engine?
There are two different things that made me do it.
It was late 2020 and I had heard the news that Flash was gonna shut down in 2021 so I wanted to replay SM63 since at the time it had been a while since I had last played it. I still loved it a lot and I kind of began imagining how some of these levels would look like if they were 3D and I thought, hey wouldn’t it be cool if somebody makes a 3D reimagination of Super Mario 63 because I knew very well that there are some levels that 63 has that 64 doesn’t. So I eventually decided to give it a try myself and to reimagine Super Mario 63 in the third dimension.
It was late 2020….a certain switch game came out…Super Mario 3D all stars… I played that game and it reminded me of how much I loved Mario Galaxy and Mario 64 (I never really liked sunshine lol) but that game also…kind of broke my heart.
These were my favourite games ever and I was not at all pleased with how Nintendo was treating them, not only did they promote this game like it was gonna be a “remaster” only to just end up emulating these games and changing 0 good things about them but they also made it a limited release and they charged $60 for it and I don’t even need to mention… that one game they forgot to include… you all know it. I just hated Super Mario 3D all stars but surprisingly that gave me motivation to go back into Galaxy modding and so, I eventually came back sooner than I expected and started making 3D models of planets again. But this time I began getting a lot more used to it and since I joined the community I received a lot more help and I just felt really nice to be back so on December 20th 2020 I fully started development on Super Mario Galaxy 63
Did you see any of the other remakes of the game, like Super Mario 63 Redux?
Absolutely! Super Mario 63 Redux and Super Mario 127 are great fangames! I really like the fact that there are still people who remember SM63 so fondly and I am really looking forward to both of these games!
Either way, one of the biggest changes to your remake is that it’s in a 3D engine. How difficult is it to translate Super Mario 63’s level designs to 3D?
I wouldn’t really say it’s that difficult to imagine what the levels might look like in 3D since usually if I have trouble imagining it, I can just create a new section. But there were some levels that took me a while to figure out. For instance, I originally wanted to make Hazy Maze Cave 3D but I really couldn’t figure out how to translate that level without changing too much about it, because the original level has a lot of walls that would be invisible in the 3rd Dimension. So I Just ended up making it 2D instead. What was difficult to imagine were levels that used special power ups not found in Galaxy at all or levels that didn’t feel fun in Galaxy so sometimes I made completely new sections to make the game feel more like a Galaxy game.
Are there any levels that’ll need serious rethinking here?
I’ve mostly figured out how to recreate all of the levels in galaxy, but I did have to think a lot on some missions of Snowman’s Land, Big Boo’s Haunt and Rainbow Ride
How do you make the 3D models used in the game’s levels here?
I make the 3D models using Blender 2.79.6 It’s the same program I used when I started modelling in 2018 and I’m still using it to this day. I’ve really grown to like blender a lot and I always appreciate seeing custom 3D models for Galaxy and I really want more people to be brave enough to try 3D modelling – trust me it’s not as hard as it looks!
There are also a lot of custom elements not present in Galaxy 2, like enemies and power ups. Will any of those be remade for this game?
I don’t really have the time or motivation to recreate enemies or power ups in Galaxy 2 since that involves code. And I’ve never really been interested in code. However, maybe one day I will make an actual 3D remake of 63 and not just a Galaxy mod, if that day happens then I’d be happy to do it, but I’ve still yet to decide.
How about the bosses? Super Mario 63’s bosses are very different from Galaxy 2’s for sure…
Yeah I know they are different but unfortunately coding custom bosses in Galaxy is really difficult and I’m not really planning to do that, instead I’ll just use a boss from the original game that fits that galaxy the best.
Will there be any levels or content not found in the original Mario 63?
Yes there already are some missions that are completely original already and there will probably be more in the final release.
What will Luigi’s role here be?
I haven’t really decided yet, I’ll try to make him playable for the full version but I never really know if he’ll end up in the final release.
Either way, the game’s looking great and quite a few people are excited to play it. Are you happy that so many people are interested in the project?
Yes I am actually very happy about it. I did not think the mod would receive this much praise and I am so happy that it did. It gave me a lot of motivation to finish the final version and I would like to thank everybody who played the demo. I will try my best to make the final version as good as I can make it and hopefully on the same level of quality as the original flash game.
Do you have any other ideas to promote it?
Not really, the most I’ll do is post progress or trailers sometimes and that’s about it.
Assuming the game goes well, what’s next? Do you have any plans for future mods or hacks? Or even non Mario related games?
Yes I do. After I finish SM63 I have another mod in the works, I won’t reveal too much at the moment but assuming everything goes well – yes I will continue to mod galaxy even after I release SMG63.
Finally, what advice would you give to someone looking to get involved in Super Mario Galaxy 2 modding, or game development as a whole?
My Final Advice is just don’t give up. Making a galaxy mod is tough and takes a lot of time but that shouldn’t demotivate you. The final Result WILL BE WORTH IT. If you don’t give up and you believe that you can do it then you will do it you just need the strong will. I don’t think you need to be the best galaxy modder – I certainly am not, I think the most important part of creating a mod is the passion. I wish more people weren’t afraid to experiment and be more satisfied with their work instead of nitpicking and criticising others. Criticism is good but there is a point where too much will demotivate you, so try to look at mods in a more positive way. I love mods and I love fangames, even when they’re not perfect they represent a passion that the creators have for the original games and I think that’s the most important thing anybody should have when they make a mod. Passion.
I really do hope that more people start modding galaxy in general because I love Galaxy mods so much. Galaxy is a game that has so much modding potential and I believe more people should really consider modding. With that being said – Thank you to everybody who read all of this and Big Thanks to CM30. This was my very first interview ever and I really enjoyed doing it and hopefully you enjoyed reading it too! Anyways with that being said I am planning to release the full 64 stars/shines version of Super Mario Galaxy 63 by the end of 2023 so stay tuned!
– Alex SMG
That sounds awesome Alex, we’re definitely looking forward to the full game here! If it’s anything like the clips shown on your channel, it’s going to be an amazing time for sure!
And thanks to you for the interview! Yeah it was only your first one, but we think it went really well, with some interesting answers about Super Mario Galaxy 63 and the work that lies ahead for the project’s development. We definitely enjoyed reading your answers for sure, and we think our readers probably did too.
So yeah, thanks for that. It was a great interview, and we learned a ton of interesting info about Galaxy 63 and the modding scene for Mario Galaxy 2 as a whole.
Regardless, what do you guys reading this think? Did you enjoy the interview? How excited are you to see Super Mario 63’s levels remade in 3D like this?
Leave your thoughts on the matter in the comments below, on social media, or on our Discord server today!