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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The same devs who ported A Link to the Past to PC are reverse-engineering another SNES classic

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The developer group going by snesrev on GitHub released an early version of a full port of Super Metroid for PC this week. While you’ve effectively been able to play Super Metroid on PC via emulation for decades now, this is a full, native port of the Super Nintendo classic, bypassing any need to emulate the original hardware.

In addition to providing further redundancies in the preservation of classic games, full reverse-engineered ports like this open up the doors for further modding, custom content, and quality of life changes. As Super Metroid’s PC port matures, we may see developers produce new ROM hacks, or true, stretch-free widescreen support (many classic games are restricted to 4:3 with black bars, or can be hideously stretched to fit 16:9).

We previously reported on snesrev’s efforts in porting The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, and DIY PC ports of classic console games are growing more and more common. Super Mario 64 and Ocarina of Time have both flourished on PC, and just last year developers successfully reverse-engineered the PS2 classic, Jak and Daxter (surely the most anticipated Naughty Dog PC port of all time, right?)

Snesrev’s port of Super Metroid is not for the faint of heart though. At the time of writing, you still have to decompile the project on GitHub to access it, and in snesrev’s own words, “it has bugs and the code is messy.” 

That aforementioned Link to the Past port from last year is still a compile-and-run type of deal, and even when snesrev or other devs hone in on an easier install process and cleaner build for Super Metroid, you’ll still need your own, legally-sourced ROM of of the game to run it with. Those Nintendo lawyers are pacing back and forth like Darth Maul at the end of Phantom Menace, and you don’t want to pull something they might object to!

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