Super Mario World Jailbreak Requires No External Hardware

[SethBling] has released a Super Mario World jailbreak that allows players to install a hex editor, then write, install and run their own game mods. What’s more is this all works on unmodified cartridges and SNES hardware. No hardware hacks required.

[Seth] is quick to say he didn’t do all this alone. This mod came to be thanks to help from [Cooper Harasyn] who discovered a save file corruption glitch, [MrCheese] who optimized the hex editor, and [p4plus2] who wrote some awesome mods.

While no soldering and programming of parts are required, installing this mod still requires quite a bit of hardware. Beyond the SNES and cartridge, you’ll need two multitaps, three controllers, and clamps to hold down buttons on the controllers. Even then the procedure will take about an hour of delicate on-screen gymnastics. Once the jailbreak is installed though, it is kept in savegame C, so you only have to do it once.

What does a hex editor allow you to do? Anything you want. Mario’s powerup state can be edited, one memory location can be modified to complete a level anytime you would like. It’s not just modifying memory locations though – you can write code that runs, such as [p4plus2’s] sweet telekinesis mod that allows Mario to grab and move around any enemy on the screen.

It’s always awesome to see old video game hardware being hacked on by a new generation of hackers. We’ve seen similar work done on Super Mario Brothers 3, and an original GameBoy used to pilot a drone, just to name a couple.

Thanks for the tip [Yorick]!

24 thoughts on “Super Mario World Jailbreak Requires No External Hardware


    “installing this mod still requires quite a bit of hardware. Beyond the SNES and cartridge,”


      1. Pet peeve of mine man…. Everything being called a jailbreak. WTF?
        He gained root on SMBW? He circumvented the DRM?

        Not removing anything from their work though, I’ve been following it since they started doing arbitrary code execution in SMBW, now it’s just evolving in something even bigger than just being “for the lulz”.

        1. your pet peeve is about calling things by what they actually are??

          modify (a smartphone or other electronic device) to remove restrictions imposed by the manufacturer or operator, e.g. to allow the installation of unauthorized software.

          1. Of which neither are done. You’re not removing restrictions nor installing unauthorized software. This is a HACK, not a fucking jailbreak.

    1. To be fair, the hardware required is pretty much all standard gaming accessories for the console.

      No, I didn’t have two multitaps, but that’s more due to the fact I don’t have eight friends than from any technological limitation.

      And yes, I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll find someone to argue that wood clamps are not standard console accessories. But if I had a dollar for every time I had to put a clamp on a game controller, why I’d have a lot of dollars with which to buy that second multitap and some more friends!

      1. Multi-taps on the snes are NOT standard gaming accessories. Very few games supported more than two players and as there wasn’t an official Nintendo multi-tap, there were actually a few on the snes, each created by different companies and each having slightly different protocols. So yeah, the article should be revised to say “it requires a bunch of semi-obscure crap that you may or may not have”.

    1. Better yet, someone should make a save ram file available that can be written onto the cart using suitable hardware (it would be fairly simple to write a SNES cart copier that could write to the SRAM given that the SNES cartridge port is well documented)

      1. On the video, click the ‘youtube’ button on the bar to open the embedded video on youtube, then scroll down to the video description.
        “Bizhawk SRAM File” is followed by a dropbox link of the save.

        Retrode and Retro-Bit (and likely others) sell USB devices to backup/restore cart saves, and hackaday posted a build-it-yourself device to do the same a few years back if that’s your preference.

    2. Hey, I’m Cooper (the one who found the glitch) and I just wanted to say that part of the reason that I went to Seth for this was so that it could be done completely on stock hardware (even if you need two multitaps). Obviously it would be much easier to create a TAS playback device, or to just write the save file into SRAM, but then at that point, why wouldn’t you just make a custom cart to do whatever you want? Or at least that’s the way I see it.

      1. I have followed seth’s minecraft command block minecraft videos for quite some time and stumbled upon his mario videos time to time and he is definitely extremely talented

        and im not criticising the practice, just its practicality, but i understand the goal was not practicality but accessibility and as an amazing show of technical ability

    1. I understand why he used the term “jailbreak”, and it is not inappropriate for the description of this hack, that is as long as you understand what a “jailbreak” is.
      I do hate the overuse of the word as I feel it is a term that originated with apple products and should stay there, but I am willing to be flexible with my terminology. Hell, I have had to accept that a “woman” can be anything born as a female and those that choose to change their gender to being a female.

  2. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand how so much can be done with so few characters. Like that telekenisis mod, all that functionality and it’s just a few bytes. Breaks my brain…

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