Interview with fan developer of Super Mario 64 remake
Twitch user Aryoksini must be a die-hard fan of Super Mario 64, because he’s undertaken the grueling task of remaking the entire game with updated graphics and animations almost from scratch using the freeware Blender development platform.
Working by himself (it’s literally just him–no team, no partners), Aryoksini has already compiled a decent series of animations and mechanics that pretty closely mimic those of the Nintendo 64 original. He’s been working on the project for some time, but his first test video only appeared on YouTube less than a month ago. If his video logs are any markers of progress, he’s making plenty–his second video of the project, uploaded earlier this month, already displays a noticeable tightness when compared to the initial test reel.
It’s obviously a daunting task to undertake–so why is Aryoksini going solo? “For many reasons, but mainly because the people I trust don’t know how to use [the] software,” he says, “or even share my feelings about the project.” His dedication to his project allows him to focus on it intensely, but also bars the less-invested from assisting.
Then there’s the corporate elephant in the Twitch stream: copyright issues. Everyone’s heard horror stories about video game companies shutting down innocent fan projects due to infringement claims, and Aryoksini’s well aware of the looming danger. He’s approaching it with caution, delicateness and respect–but he knows how close he is to being censored by Nintendo. “I’m a bit worried about what [Nintendo] could do,” says Aryoksini, who prefers to go by his Twitch screen name. “But at the same time, my conscience is clear. I believe that I’m doing it with passion and respect. I’m not trying to damage Nintendo’s reputation in any way.”
If you’re reading this article, you’re probably aware that Nintendo published their own Super Mario 64 remake for the Nintendo DS in 2004. So is Aryoksini. So why remake the original version of a game that’s already been remade? “Because it’s one of my favorite games,” he says, “and because I’m still learning game developing. I wanted to work on a challenging project, and I thought that the gameplay mechanics of Super Mario 64 are complex enough to help me improve my skills.”
The only clear advantage that Aryoksini’s remake currently has over Nintendo’s own is graphical fidelity, but he’s not ruling out the possibility of adding playable characters, new levels and other bonuses. “That will depend on how far I go with the project. Anything is possible.” No matter how his SM64 remake turns out–if it turns out–Aryoksini probably won’t stop there; he’s hinted at his eagerness to tackle remaking other N64/PS1-era classics when he’s done with this one.