A moddeur who spent seven years building a version of Super Mario Bros. that could work on a Commodore 64 has faced a sad but predictable reaction from Nintendo this week: Not under our watch. The company has already filed withdrawal notices against the moderator, ZeroPaige, although its creation can be found online if you know where to look.
Get the Super Mario Bros. on Commodore 64 was no mean feat in the first place. The NES uses Ricoh 2A03, an 8-bit chip based on the 1.79 MHz MOS 6502 technology. Commodore 64 also uses a derivative of 6502 – 6510, in this case, but clocked at 0.985 MHz (PAL) at 1.023 MHz (NTSC). This puts the C64's clock speed at about 57% of that of the Nintendo NES, best case
One of the peculiarities of Super Mario Bros. is side scrolling in full screen, which seems it's not easy to implement. Nevertheless, the C64 version of the game is an incredibly faithful port, as can be seen below:
Of course, that means that Nintendo was watching too. Almost as soon as the mod became popular, it was immediately removed. The Commodore Computer Club tweeted on the subject:
Good times Due to the DMCA removal notification, we had to remove the Super Mario Bros 64 download from our website blog 4 days ago. Hope everyone appreciates the #Commodore 64 # C64 game that could hang.
– PDX Commodore Club (@ c64club) April 22, 2019
This type of situation is expected on the one hand – Nintendo is generally aggressive about the enforcement of its intellectual property rights, and SMB is unquestionably the intellectual property of Nintendo – and regrettable of the other. Realistically, the company does not lose its SME sales because someone transferred it to the Commodore 64. The homebrew scene and C64 enthusiasts is, at this point, quite small in absolute terms. Nobody will avoid buying a switch or a 3DS as they can download a 34-year-old game for a nearly 40-year-old platform. But since SMB is still a commercial product that Nintendo sells on its various platforms, the Commodore 64 port is a threat – however unlikely it may be.
Of course, the other side of the coin is that you can still play SMB online in many ways, as long as you can use the phrase "play Super Mario Bros. Online" on Google. "Canceling C64 is more like sending a message than actually preventing people from playing the game.
If you want more information on how old-fashioned game programs work in a very different era, check out the YouTube video above. The techniques and skills used by programmers to create the first games were very different – but no less interesting – than what we see today.