Paper Mario PC ports beckon as coder completes full decompilation of the N64 classic

Paper Mario wields a wooden mallet and fends off enemies in official Nintendo concept art.
(Image credit: Nintendo)

It takes a brave kind of person to announce they've fully decompiled Paper Mario mere days after Nintendo finished mounting hacker Gary Bowser's head on a proverbial spike, and that person is Ethan Roseman. Spotted by VGC, Roseman—a coder—has announced that he's "reached 100% completion" on a project aimed at decompiling the Nintendo 64 classic, opening the way for mods and unofficial PC ports.

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The completion of the project means that, sooner or later, we should be able to play Paper Mario on our desktops without having to resort to emulation.

As draconian and litigious as Nintendo is about these things, previous projects of this type have managed to avoid the gaze of its lawyers so far. Decompilation projects for Ocarina of Time, A Link to the Past, and Perfect Dark all remain in good health, so Roseman's project should—in theory—remain online for the foreseeable future.

The reason is probably because projects like these don't really infringe on any of Nintendo's intellectual property. Coders like Roseman aren't just ripping Nintendo's assets (like textures) out of their games and slapping them onto the PC, instead, they're remaking the code themselves, which Nintendo has yet to find a way to crack down on.

Of course, that does mean if you want to play an unofficial PC port of Paper Mario, you'll have to provide those Nintendo assets via a (legally acquired!) ROM. It's a little more roundabout than just hitting 'Go,' but it keeps everyone involved out of prison, which is probably for the best.

If you're interested in how Roseman managed to accomplish his feat, he's detailed the decompilation process in a video on YouTube. And if you just want to play a port of Paper Mario on your PC, you probably won't have to wait too long for someone to figure out how to get it all working. It might even be Roseman himself, who says he still has to work on "documentation, other version support, [and] more asset support" for the project.

For now, you can find the decompilation on Roseman's GitHub. Who knows? Perhaps the PC version of Paper Mario might have a modding scene as robust as Breath of the Wild someday.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.