The Spice Girls ARG Hidden Inside a Super Mario World ROM Hack

Over the years we’ve been playing Super Mario World mods, we’ve seen some interesting stuff. There was that creepypasta game called MARIO, which tried to tell the story of a messed-up video game ROM hack with an actual ROM hack that readers could download and play. There was Xkas Shack, which promised a gimmick heavy mod written in pure machine code and provided something else entirely (we’ll let you experience that one for yourself).

As well as various attempts at gimmicky ASM showcases and crossovers from unknown Japanese ROM hackers. Like Brutal Mario, Super Mario LD and the Scarlet Devil Mario series.

But one thing we’ve never seen is an ARG based around a mod of the game.

Until now. Because as the title suggests, a new Super Mario World ROM hack is actually part of an ARG (alternate reality game) about the Spice Girls!

Seriously. Named Super Spice World, the hack starts out pretending to be your bog standard, celebrity focused fan game. You’ve got the main characters replaced by members of the band. Some of their lyrics are used in the game in message boxes. And well, even their songs have been ported over to the SMW engine.

At first glance, it seems like your typical fanboy hack. The kind of mediocre hack you constantly find in SMW Central’s submission queue.

However, it then turns out there’s much more to this than meets the eye. For example, in level 1 there’s a series of raised platforms with coins on them.

Platforms Puzzle

Seems normal, right? Yeah, that’s what I’d have thought.

But that’s not the case. Instead, the height and order of said platforms isn’t actually a coincidence. It’s a coded message!

Indeed, if you assign each platform a number between 0 and 9 (with the higher platforms getting lower numbers), then consider the coins two levels above zero as modifiers (like in an IMB punch card system), then this translates to:

69 6d 67 76 41 30 6c 6d 66 34, or “imgvA0lmf4’

Which in turn provides the following Imgur link:

https://imgur.com/vA0lmf4

That turns out to be part of a QR code with the characters ‘1/6’ at the lower right corner.

And that’s basically the meta game here. Solve the puzzles, find the QR links, piece it all together.

It’s a setup that continues throughout the whole game. There’s a cave with an actual in-game code QR code:

In-Game QR Code

A castle where coloured coins are part of a code. Seriously:

Coloured Coins Puzzle

Heck, there’s even a ghost house with tons of turn blocks that turn out to either be spinning blocks or coin blocks. Reading those from the top left to bottom right ends up giving you a code in binary which can be decoded into a QR code link:

Blocks Puzzle

All in all, it’s a fascinating experience. Like MARIO for a modern audience.

So, check it out if you’re a puzzle fan (or perhaps a die-hard fan of the Spice Girls in general) and tell us what you think. It’s certainly a very creative way of using a Super Mario World ROM hack as part of a larger story, and very reminiscent of Petscop and Ben Drowned.

Source:

Super Spice World Analysis Article (Human Souls ARG)

Modder Turns Super Mario 64 into Super Smash Bros Game, Complete with Online Multiplayer!

When it comes to Super Mario 64 hacks, it really does feel like we’re in a new golden age. We’ve got Kaze Emanuar recreating mechanics from Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Maker in the engine. There’s a full blown online multiplayer mode with multiple selectable characters.

And with things like whole game worlds being imported as levels and Ocarina of Time being remade as a Mario hack, it’s quite clear we’re seeing the title pushed further than ever before.

But even with all that said, the latest Mario 64 mod that’s been released is something else entirely. Why?
Because it’s a full-blown Super Smash Bros game created as a Super Mario 64 hack! No, we’re not making that up:

Named Super Smash Bros 3D, the title is the latest Mario 64 hack from SKELUX, the creator of Super Mario Star Road and the special level importer that allows ridiculously large stages to be imported into the game. As the title suggests, it’s an attempt to translate Super Smash Bros mechanics to a fully 3D environment, with players able to go anywhere they like in stages and attack each other from any possible angle.

And well, it’s already looking incredible right now. Indeed, not only are there multiple stages to choose from (including some from Melee), but actual online multiplayer so you can play against people on the other side of the world. That’s utterly ridiculous, especially given how its based on a single player only game.

However, it’s SKELUX’s future plans which will really make it shine. Why? Because future additions coming to this game will include:

  • A proper character select screen, with a decent sized roster to choose from
  • More special moves, likely straight from the N64 title
  • Lots more stages, as well as said stages having fully operational stage obstacles (like spinning blocks on Yoshi’s Island)

As well as four player support on top of all that.

This means we’ve already gone from a 3D platformer with no multiplayer functionality in sight, to a complex fighting game with completely new mechanics and features.

It’s absolutely insane, to the point of perhaps being one of the most ambitious N64 game mods ever made.

So, if you’re a Smash Bros fan, check it out. It’s a nice look at how the series could work in 3D, as well as one of the craziest technical showcases I’ve seen in a while.

It’s one mod you definitely shouldn’t miss!

Super Smash Bros 3D Release Trailer (YouTube)

New Mod Adds Playable Princess Zelda to Zelda Breath of the Wild

Back when Breath of the Wild was in development, there were a few people asking about a female Link. Or at least, the possibility of playing as a female character in general.

Now, this obviously didn’t happen in the actual game. There, not only can Link not be customised in any (real) way, but no other characters like Zelda are unlockable either. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s disappointed a few people none the less.

However, it seems these folks may finally have just the mod for them! Why? Because an all new project in development does exactly what it says on the tin. It replaces Link with Zelda.

Here’s a video showing this mod in action:

As you can obviously see, it’s pretty early in its development. Indeed, it’s so in fact that we don’t actually get to see Zelda do much of anything in the video. Just walk forward in a straight line, as proof the mod has been inserted into the game.

But hey, just because it’s in the early stages doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. It’s got the perfect model for Zelda (the one used in the cutscenes in the game itself), and it’s been implemented in a way that looks absolutely perfect so far.

So, if you’re interested in playing Breath of the Wild with Zelda as a main character, check it out. It may not be official (or released yet), but it’ll be a neat option for anyone wanting to play the game with someone new none the less.

New Mod Adds Time Trial Mode into Super Mario 64!

Ever since Last Impact’s release in late 2016, Kaze Emanuar has been on a serious roll when it comes to Mario 64 mod making.

He’s translated the Capture mechanics from Super Mario Odyssey into the game via a mod called Super Mario Odyssey 64. He’s made a full-blown 3D Mario Maker mod that lets players build Mario 64 levels in game.

Heck, he’s even managed to add online multiplayer to the game via Super Mario 64 Online! Complete with numerous extra characters with special abilities and powers. His modding skills are almost unmatched in the entire scene.

Which continues with his latest project. Why? Because it’s an expansive time trial system for Super Mario 64, complete with ghosts to race and leaderboards! Seriously, watch the video if you don’t believe us:

It really is amazing to see, and something that’s going to be a real boon for speedrunners all over the internet.

There’s the whole race aspect with timer, Shadow Mario from Sunshine being the ‘ghost’ you race against, the leaderboards themselves… Everything just feels so polished. It’s not a simple timer or external program. It’s an in-game feature so well developed that it almost feels like Nintendo themselves could have made it.

And it really makes us wonder what would happen if this mod was mixed with others the guy had previously created. Can you imagine online Super Mario 64 with this feature? Or perhaps online Mario 64 with time trial ghosts and Mario Maker style level building?

It’d immediately become the best Mario platformer ever made. No, scratch that. The best platformer ever made at all. Forget Mario Odyssey, this would be the epitome of 3D platformers right there.

So that needs to happen somewhere down the line. A big old collection of all of Kaze Emanuar’s mods, applied at the same time.

As for now though? Well I guess we’ll just enjoy this great time trial system instead. Cause whether you’re a speedrunner or bored Mario 64 veterans, it’s a great addition that’s going to add tons of replay value to the game.

So, go and download it now. You won’t regret it!

Let’s Look Into… The Wacky World of Zelda Breath of the Wild Mods!

A couple of months back, I posted about an interesting project that aimed to add online multiplayer to Breath of the Wild. It appeared to be an impressive mod, and at the time I thought it was the start of a whole scene for the game.

Alas, the mod turned out to be fake.

But while that was the case with the MMORPG thing, that’s certainly not the case for Zelda Breath of the Wild mods in general! Oh no, in the last few days, the modding scene for the game has absolutely exploded into life.

Which means there are now numerous mods to change Link into every character you can imagine. For example, have you ever wished to play the game as Steve Minecraft?

No, me neither. But quite a few people probably have, and with this interesting mod that’s now completely possible:

Steve in Breath Of The Wild

And old Steve is only the tip of the iceberg here. Maybe Toy Story is more your thing? If so, here’s Woody complete with a Buzz Lightyear shaped paraglider!

Woody with Buzz Lightyear Paraglider

Goku from Dragonball is entirely possible as a model swap too. Here’s a mod for that one:

As well as a mod which replaces Link with the main character from Grand Theft San Andreas. That certainly looks unusual in the world of Hyrule, doesn’t it?

Yeah, I definitely think so there. However, the crowning achievement for character mods isn’t any of those.

Nope, it’s Waluigi! Yup, everyone’s favourite purple clad trickster is now available as a character for the game too:

The memes almost write themselves there. Especially when you add the neat little Wario shield you can get him to use in the latest update:

Waluigi with Wario Shield

Other interesting choices include such faces as Jon Snow (yes, the one from Game of Thrones) and even Kratos from God of War! All of them add their own… neat touches to the experience.

Jon Snow in Breath of the Wild

However, it’s not just character mods we’re seeing here. Nope, there are also mods for horses and weapons too! Most amusingly, Thomas the Tank Engine as a replacement for the Giant Horse:

Thomas the... Horse Engine?

Yeah, it’s not quite Spirit Tracks by any means. But it’s pure bliss for social media fanatics none the less, and an amusing way to make it seem like Link’s driving a sentient train across the world of Hyrule. What more can you want from the internet?

Eh, maybe Shrek. In which case, knock yourself out. Someone else managed to make a mod which replaces the Hinox enemies with Shrek. Yes, it’s as funny as it sounds:

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