Some purists might sneer at the idea of playing retro games in anything other than their original 4:3 aspect ratio. But for anyone else, a new widescreen hack for Super Mario World means you can now enjoy the 1990 game on modern displays, without having to put up with black bars or a weirdly stretched image.
Super Mario World Widescreen is the work of ROM hacker Vitor Vilela, and works by modifying the original game’s ROM when played through the bsnes_hd emulator. It means the game’s original 256×224 internal screen size can be adjusted to 352×224 to give it the correct aspect ratio for a 16:9 display. As well as 16:9, the patch also supports 16:10 resolutions, and ultrawide 21:9 support is planned for the future.
NEW RELEASE: Super Mario World Widescreen (SNES) is now available for download! Explore the new expanded adventure, natively enhanced to work with modern screens. The true 2021 gaming experience mixed with the wonderful 1990 gaming golden age!
— Vitor Vilela (@HackerVilela) June 18, 2021
Instructions for how to get the patch set up can be found over on the project’s GitHub page, but note that you’re going to have to find your own Super Mario World ROM as part of the process. We’d love it if there was an official way to pay for Nintendo-approved ROMs, but for now you’re going to have to get creative, especially since Nintendo has aggressively gone after sites that distribute ROMs of its games.
Although this hack just covers Super Mario World, the hope is to develop a standard that can eventually be applied across all SNES games. Another developer, ocesse, is hard at work on a similar patch for Super Metroid, and Vilela told RetroRGB in March that once both patches are complete “we will likely have a solid standard which future ROM modders will be able to apply to any SNES game. That’s our objective.”