Nintendo has a hit on its hands with the Switch, a hybrid console that users can connect to their big screen TV or take with them for a portable gaming experience. Part of the success is because of first-party hits like Super Mario Odyssey. Interestingly enough, Super Mario Odyssey is now playable on the PC through an emulator.
In a video posted to YouTube, BSoD Gaming demonstrated Super Mario Odyssey running on PC throuhg the Yuzu emulator. This has been a work in progress for several months by the same developers who built Citra, a popular Nintendo 3DS emulator. Back in January of this year, the Yuzu team noted that their Nintendo Switch emulator is “written in C++ with portability in mind,” though at the time it was “only useful for homebrew development and research purposes.”
Things seem to have progressed quite nicely then. Yuzu is now capable of playing Super Mario Odyssey from start to finish with graphics rendering that is mostly correct, save for some minor quirks here and there. BsOD Gaming also noted a minor performance penalty in heavily populated areas, with the framerates dropping around 6-7 fps from the maximum. There are no major issues, though.
This is an impressive achievement, made even more so by the fact that the latest version allows users to upload their saves and DLC to the emulator. Super Mario Odyssey is Nintendo’s top-selling first-party game for the Switch, with 12.17 million copies sold to date. It’s also racked up rave reviews—it has a 97 score on Metacritic among professional reviewers, and an 8.9 rating among users.
Nintendo is keen on the emulation scene, as it closely guards its IP, both old and new. This past summer, Nintendo sued a pair of ROM sites, LoveROMS.com and LoveTETRO.co, both operated by the same person. They no longer exist. A month later, the once-massively popular ROM site EmuParaside, previously one of the biggest resources for game ROMs, removed all ROM links to avoid potential legal action.
“It’s not worth it for us to risk potentially disastrous consequences. I cannot in good conscience risk the futures of our team members who have contributed to the site through the years. We run EmuParadise for the love of retro games and for you to be able to revisit those good times. Unfortunately, it’s not possible right now to do so in a way that makes everyone happy and keeps us out of trouble,” EmuParadise stated at the time.
Nintendo’s disdain for ROMs is well known, even before the recent litigation. The company has a detailed FAQ on its website that discusses ROMs and why it is against them. We’ll have to wait and see how Nintendo reactions to Yuzu.